Dick Hamer: The liberal Liberal

Dick Hamer: The liberal Liberal

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Author: Colebatch, Tim
ISBN: 9781925106138
Publisher: Scribe Publications
Year First Published: 2014
Pages: 520
Dimensions: 243mm x 161mm x 42mm
Format: Hardback

He was the reforming leader who made Victoria a leader in social equality, the arts, and the environment. He and his government built the underground rail loop, decriminalised homosexuality, abolished capital punishment, and outlawed sexual discrimination in the workplace. Hamer and his team ended the demolition of the inner suburbs, preserved the best of the state's buildings and landscapes, and set aside large areas of diverse ecosystems as national parks. They gave Melbourne key infrastructure such as the West Gate Bridge and the Thomson Dam, extended the city's tramlines for the first time in half a century, and built art galleries, libraries, and theatres all over the state. Yet Dick Hamer was a Liberal- a Toorak boy educated at Victoria's best schools, who served for years under the conservative Sir Henry Bolte before taking the reins himself and making the Liberal Party a spearhead of reform from 1972 to 1981. Hamer was a different kind of politician. He was intelligent, fair-minded, courteous, and hard-working, and governed with the long-term interests of his people in mind. He never tried to manufacture issues or direct debates for short-term political gain. Victorians recognised this, and elected him three times in a row as their premier - the last Liberal premier in Australia to have achieved this feat. He stands as the exemplar of important qualities in the Liberal tradition. Dick Hamer- the liberal Liberal is the first biography to be written of this remarkable man, who so embodied a quality now lacking in our public life- integrity. 'Tim Colebatch has written a fascinating account of one of Australia's most remarkable post-war leaders. Dick Hamer is the forgotten reformer of the 1970s. As effective as Gough Whitlam in his pomp, and more popular than Don Dunstan in his prime, he restored Victoria's position as the nation's pre-eminent progressive state.' George Megalogenis, author of The Australian Moment 'Dick Hamer was ahead of his time. In 1972, when Australia was clamouring for change, he had already developed environmental, equal-opportunity, and arts policies that threw off years of social conservatism under his predecessor. 'Dick Hamer also embodied democracy with great decency, openness, and a genuine commitment not seen today. 'We should be grateful to Tim Colebatch for this biography. His account says as much about Victoria as it does about the Hamer government. He is right to assert that, apart from the Kennett years, all subsequent Labor and Liberal governments have governed in the same direction. May it ever be thus.' Steve Bracks, premier of Victoria 1990-2007 'This is no hagiography, but a critical analysis of politics and the people that brought it to life. 'There's a lot in this biography that explains what is wrong with Australian politics today. It should be compulsory reading for all those opportunists who hang around the offices of politicians seeking to make a career for themselves, with no commitment to anything but personal ambition.' John Cain, premier of Victoria 1982-1990

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