Don Chipp, Founder Of Australian Democrats, Dies At 81

The former Liberal minister and founder of the Australian Democrats, Don Chipp, has died in Melbourne, aged 81.

Don Chipp, Australian Democrats founderChipp was born on August 21, 1925. He was elected as the Liberal Party member for the House of Representatives division of Higinbotham at a by-election on December 10, 1960. The division was renamed Hotham in 1969. Chipp held the seat until the 1977 elections.

Chipp was appointed Minister for the Navy by Prime Minister Harold Holt on December 14, 1966, a position he held until dropped by Prime Minister John Gorton on February 28, 1968. Gorton brought Chipp back to his government as Minister for Customs and Excise on November 12, 1969. Chipp held this portfolio until December 5, 1972, following the defeat of the William McMahon coalition government.

Chipp served as a shadow minister throughout the Whitlam government from 1972 to 1975. Following the Whitlam dismissal, Chipp became Minister for Social Security, Minister for Health and Minister for Repatriation and Compensation in the caretaker Fraser administration between November 11 – December 22, 1975. Following the 1975 elections, Fraser dropped Chipp and he never again held executive office.

Chipp resigned from the Liberal Party on March 24, 1977. By the time of the 1977 elections, Chipp had formed the Australian Democrats from sections of the Australia Party, the Liberal Movement and disenchanted Liberals. He was elected to the Senate from Victoria, taking up his seat on July 1, 1978.

The Democrats gained the balance of power in the Senate following the 1980 elections. Chipp remained as leader until his retirement from the Senate on August 18, 1986.

  • Mar 24, 1977 – Don Chipp’s Resignation Speech to the House of Representatives
  • Mar 24, 1977 – 3DB News, 12pm – Report of Don Chipp’s resignation
  • Mar 24, 1977 – 3AW News, 12pm – Report of Don Chipp’s resignation
  • Mar 24, 1977 – ABC’s PM – Report of Don Chipp’s resignation
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