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Kim Beazley snr, Whitlam’s Education Minister, Dies, 90

Kim Beazley, the Minister for Education in the Whitlam Government, has died, aged 90.

Kim BeazleyBeazley served as the Minister for Education from December 19, 1972, until the government was dismissed on November 11, 1975.

He was responsible for the implementation of iconic Whitlam policies, including the abolition of university fees and needs-based funding of schools.

Kim Edward Beazley, born on September 30, 1917, succeeded the former Prime Minister, John Curtin, in the Western Australian seat of Fremantle, at a by-election on August 18, 1945. He held the seat until he retired at the 1977 election. When first elected, he was the youngest member of the House of Representatives, aged 27.

Beazley is the fourteenth of the original 27 Whitlam ministers to have died. There are 17 ministers from the three Whitlam governments still living. Clyde Cameron, 94, is the oldest. Paul Keating, 63, is the youngest.

Beazley was the father of Kim Beazley jnr, the former leader of the federal Labor Party. Beazley jnr is retiring from Parliament at this year’s election, after 27 years representing Swan and Brand.

The Prime Minister, John Howard, has released the following statement:

“I was very saddened to learn of the death of Kim Beazley, the former Whitlam Government Minister.

“Sustained by a strong Christian faith, he was a man of very high principle who gave a lifetime of service to his country, the parliamentary system and the Australian Labor Party.

“Kim Beazley was a dedicated Education Minister during the Whitlam Government. As a very junior member of parliament at that time, I greatly respected his debating skills and his courteous attention to inquiries. He was a wonderful parliamentarian.

“His demeanour and behaviour both in the Parliament and in the general discharge of his responsibilities as a minister set a very high standard.

“I extend my sympathy and that of the Government and my wife Janette to his widow Betty, his children Kim and Merrilyn and the other members of his close and loving family.”