Senate debates

Tuesday, 10 September 2019


Forbes, Dr Alexander James (Jim), CMG, MC

3:56 pm

Photo of Simon BirminghamSimon Birmingham (SA, Liberal Party, Minister for Trade) Share this | Hansard source

I too join fellow senators in paying tribute to the lifetime of service given by distinguished former South Australian federal Liberal member of parliament Dr Jim Forbes, CMG, MC.

Like so many of his generation, Jim Forbes served our nation during World War II, taking that calling as an officer in the Australian Army, defending our values, liberties and way of life. Dr Forbes was awarded the Military Cross in recognition of his gallantry and service in the south-west Pacific. A graduate of the University of Adelaide, Dr Forbes completed his PhD at Magdalen College, Oxford following the war and prior to his election to the federal parliament. His service to both Australia and our defence forces continued through a long period of parliamentary service, as the member for Barker, from 1956 through until his retirement in 1975. As has been noted before, Dr Forbes served as Minister for the Navy and Minister for the Army in the Menzies government, Minister for Health in the Holt and Gorton governments, and Minister for Immigration in the McMahon government.

Dr Forbes continued his contribution to Australian society following his departure from the parliament, including as chairman of the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories Commission. He was elected as president of the South Australian division of the Liberal Party in 1979 and as federal president of the Liberal Party in 1982 and was the last South Australian to have held that position.

Dr Forbes was, as has been noted, the last surviving minister of the Menzies government. As our great party prepares to celebrate its 75th anniversary, the passing of Dr Forbes reminds us of our proud beginnings and our unshakeable commitment to the advancement of Australia. Dr Forbes's family can be proud of his many achievements in his political life—across his ministerial portfolios and throughout his rich lifetime of service not only to the Liberal Party or to South Australia but to our nation overall.

On behalf of the South Australian Liberal family, I extend our sympathies to his wife of 67 years, Margaret, and to his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and our thanks to them for sharing him with a grateful nation and state.


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