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David John Hamer AM, DSC (5 September 1923 – 14 January 2002) was an Australian politician and Royal Australian Navy officer.

David J. Hamer

David Hamer.jpg
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Isaacs
In office
25 October 1969 – 18 May 1974
Preceded byNew seat
Succeeded byGareth Clayton
In office
13 December 1975 – 10 November 1977
Preceded byGareth Clayton
Succeeded byWilliam Burns
Senator for Victoria
In office
1 July 1978 – 30 June 1990
Personal details
Born(1923-09-05)5 September 1923
Melbourne, Victoria
Died14 January 2002(2002-01-14) (aged 78)
Melbourne, Victoria
Political partyLiberal Party of Australia
Spouse(s)Barbara May McPherson
Children3 children, 8 grandchildren
OccupationNaval officer
Military service
Branch/serviceRoyal Australian Navy
Years of service1937–1968
CommandsHMAS Vampire
Battles/warsSecond World War Korean War
AwardsDistinguished Service Cross


Early life and naval careerEdit

Born in Melbourne, he was educated at Geelong Grammar School and then the Royal Australian Naval College. He served in the Royal Australian Navy from 1940 to 1968. He was a lieutenant aboard HMAS Australia during the battles of Leyte and Lingayen Gulf. In the rank of Acting Captain, he was an honorary aide-de-camp to the Governor-General, and Director of Naval Intelligence 1961 from 1963, and after confirmation in the rank of Captain, he served as Captain of HMAS Vampire and Captain of the Australian Destroyer Squadron 1963–65. Then after serving as Director of Project Coordination in Navy Office, he resigned from the RAN in 1968.

Political careerEdit

In 1969, David was elected to the Australian House of Representatives as the Liberal member for Isaacs. Narrowly defeated by Labor candidate Gareth Clayton in 1974, he became a political columnist for The Age newspaper and undertook a Master of Arts at Monash University in Constitutional Law, studying the historical role of the Australian Senate. He was re-elected to Isaacs in 1975 but contested the Senate in 1977. He was successful, and remained a Liberal senator for Victoria until his retirement in 1990. A strong supporter of improving the function of the Senate as a house of review, he was Chairman of Committees as well as Deputy President of the Senate from 1983–1990.

Hamer was also interested in promoting the arts in Australia, helping establish the Arts Council of Victoria, and serving as President of the Arts Council of Australia and of the Australian Film Institute. He was a keen supporter of the establishment of the National Film and Sound Archive as a way to collect and make accessible Australia's rich audiovisual history.

Later life, family and legacyEdit

Hamer died in 2002 of leukaemia. He should not be confused with Professor David Hamer, New Zealand historian of liberal politics.

His publications include: The Australian Senate 1901–1918, An Appraisal (1976); Can Responsible Government Survive In Australia? (1994 and 2004); and Bombers Versus Battleships – The Struggle Between Ships and Aircraft for Control of the Surface of the Sea (1998)

Hamer's brother was Sir Rupert Hamer (Dick Hamer), the Premier of Victoria 1972–81. His brother Alan had been a Rhodes Scholar, chemist and businessman. His sister Alison (Patrick) was an historian at Melbourne University. In 2004 the Hamer Family Fund was set up in honour of all four siblings and its aims include projects that advance the arts, the environment and good government in Australia.[1]


  1. ^ Carr, Adam (2008). "Australian Election Archive". Psephos, Adam Carr's Election Archive. Retrieved 20 June 2008.
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
New seat
Member for Isaacs
Succeeded by
Gareth Clayton
Preceded by
Gareth Clayton
Member for Isaacs
Succeeded by
William Burns