Lance Barnard died on August 6, 1997, at the age of 78.
Barnard, the member for the Tasmanian seat of Bass (1954-75), was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence during the first term of the Whitlam government. Barnard also served in the two-man ministry, with Whitlam between December 3-19, 1972. He held 14 portfolios in the interim administration, one more than Whitlam.
Barnard had been deputy to Whitlam since their election on February 8, 1967. Following the 1974 election, Barnard was replaced as deputy by Dr. Jim Cairns. Shortly afterwards, Whitlam appointed Barnard as Ambassador to Sweden, Norway and Finland.
In the ensuing by-election in Bass, there was a 14.3% swing against the ALP and the seat was won by the Liberal Party’s Kevin Newman. The by-election signalled the unpopularity of the Whitlam government and probably emboldened the Coalition to block Supply a few months later.