Lindsay Thompson: Character, Competence and Conviction -- William Westerman

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Lindsay Thompson
Character, Competence and Conviction

Australian Biographical Monographs No. 4

William Westerman

Paperback, 90 pages, $19.95

ISBN 9781922449139

Upon his retirement from Victorian Parliament in November 1982, Lindsay Thompson was lauded across the political spectrum for his contribution to public life. He served in the Victorian Cabinet for 24 years, including a record 12 years as Minister for Education. In 1981 he was elected Premier, but his term ended ten months later with the long-running state Liberal Government’s first electoral defeat since the 1950s.

Dignified, reasonable and selfless, he commanded great respect among colleagues and opponents alike. He had a prodigious work ethic, a thorough grasp of policy, a sense of fairness and uncommon civility. He was also a conviction politician, a liberal in the Menzies tradition, who placed the individual in the centre of economic and social life.

Thrust into the spotlight for his actions during the 1972 Faraday school kidnapping, he was nevertheless a quiet and reserved man who preferred to be a competent Minister, rather than a ruthlessly ambitious politician. When he retired, The Age newspaper recorded: ‘He has served with rare decency, dedication and distinction, and for this he deserves the gratitude of Parliament and public.’ This book explores how and why Lindsay Thompson came to be regarded so highly.

William Westerman is a Canberra-based military historian. He completed a PhD at UNSW Canberra in 2014 and has published widely on aspects of the Australian Imperial Force in the First World War. He currently works at the Australian War Memorial as part of the team writing the Official History of Australian Peacekeeping Operations in East Timor 2000-2012. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and an Adjunct Lecturer at UNSW Canberra.

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