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Bill Morrison (politician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bill Morrison

Bill Morrison 1970.png
Minister for Defence
In office
6 June 1975 – 11 November 1975
Preceded byLance Barnard
Succeeded byJames Killen
Minister for Science
In office
19 December 1972 – 6 June 1975
Preceded byGough Whitlam
Succeeded byClyde Cameron
Minister for External Territories
In office
19 December 1972 – 30 November 1973
Preceded byGough Whitlam
Succeeded byNone
Member of the Australian Parliament for St George
In office
18 October 1980 – 26 October 1984
Preceded byMaurice Neil
Succeeded byStephen Dubois
In office
25 October 1969 – 13 December 1975
Preceded byLen Bosman
Succeeded byMaurice Neil
Personal details
Born(1928-11-03)3 November 1928
Lithgow, New South Wales, Australia
Died15 February 2013(2013-02-15) (aged 84)[1]
Bardwell Valley, New South Wales, Australia
Political partyLabor
Marty Hessell
(m. 1958)

William Lawrence Morrison AO (3 November 1928 – 15 February 2013) was an Australian politician and diplomat. He was a member of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and held ministerial office in the Whitlam Government as Minister for External Territories (1972–1973), Science (1972–1975), and Defence (1975). He had been a member of the diplomatic service before entering politics, and later served a term as Ambassador to Indonesia (1985–1989).

Early life

Morrison was born in Lithgow, New South Wales and graduated with an honours degree in economics from the University of Sydney in 1949. He was a diplomat in the Department of External Affairs from 1950 to 1969, with postings to London, Moscow, Washington, D.C., Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. His posting to Moscow was terminated by the expulsion of the entire mission in 1954 as a result of the Petrov Affair.[2] His posting to Malaysia was as Deputy High Commissioner.[3] In 1958, he married Marty Hessell, an American citizen, in Bangkok.[4]

Political career

In 1969 Morrison resigned from the diplomatic service to successfully contest the seat of St George in the 1969 election for the Australian Labor Party. In 1969 he was elected deputy chairman of the Joint Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee and chairman of the Sub-committee on Australia's Relations with Indonesia of that committee. He also became a member of the Select Committee on Aircraft Noise, a matter of relevance to his electorate, which was close to Sydney Airport. Following the election of the Whitlam government in 1972 Morrison was appointed Minister for External Territories and Minister for Science in the Second Whitlam Ministry. With the granting of self-government to Australia's main external territory, Papua New Guinea, on 1 December 1973, the position of Minister for External Territories was abolished and he became Minister assisting the Minister for Foreign Affairs in matters relating to Papua New Guinea. From 6 June 1975, he was Minister for Defence and Minister assisting the Minister for Foreign Affairs in matters relating to the Islands of the Pacific. He was Minister for Defence during Indonesia's invasion of East Timor. He lost his seat in the 1975 election.[4]

Morrison was a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University in 1976 and a Research Fellow at the University of New South Wales from 1979 to 1980. In the 1980 election, he was re-elected to Parliament as the member for St George. He became a member of the Joint Parliamentary Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee and Deputy Chairman of its Defence Sub-committee. In 1983, he was elected as chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee. He did not stand for re-election in 1984.

Later life

In 1985, Morrison was appointed Ambassador to Indonesia. In 1988, he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for service to the Commonwealth Parliament and to international relations.[5] He retired in 1989.[4]

Morrison was a councillor of Rockdale Council in the early 1990s. In 2005, he tried to restore the reputation of Mamdouh Habib.[6] In May 2007, he was a witness to an inquest into the death of one of the Balibo Five, Brian Peters.[7]


  1. ^ "Bill Morrison". 3 November 1928. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  2. ^ Ramsey, Alan (7 April 2004). "A blue moon in the Petrov affair". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 24 September 2007.
  3. ^ Juddery, Bruce (28 January 1970). "A McMahon view of External Affairs". The Canberra Times. p. 2.
  4. ^ a b c "Papers of William (Bill) L. Morrison (Part B) (1928– )". National Library of Australia. 10 September 2003. Archived from the original on 31 August 2007. Retrieved 24 September 2007.
  5. ^ MORRISON, William Lawrence, It's an Honour.
  6. ^ "Whitlam minister's sanctuary for Habib" (PDF). The Daily Telegraph/Parliament of Australia. 3 February 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 September 2007. Retrieved 24 September 2007.
  7. ^ "Whitlam appears at Balibo Inquiry". PM. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 8 May 2007. Retrieved 24 September 2007.
Political offices
Preceded by
Gough Whitlam
Minister for External Territories
Preceded by
Gough Whitlam
Minister for Science
Succeeded by
Clyde Cameron
New title Minister Assisting the Minister for Foreign Affairs in matters relating to Papua New Guinea
New title Minister Assisting the Minister for Foreign Affairs in matters relating to the Islands of the Pacific
Preceded by
Lance Barnard
Minister for Defence
Succeeded by
James Killen
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Len Bosman
Member for St George
Succeeded by
Maurice Neil
Preceded by
Maurice Neil
Member for St George
Succeeded by
Stephen Dubois
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Rawdon Dalrymple
Australian Ambassador to Indonesia
Succeeded by
Philip Flood
This page was last edited on 9 January 2021, at 08:27
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