George Pearce (Queensland politician)

Henry George Pearce (born 17 September 1917) is a former Australian politician who was a member of the House of Representatives from 1949 to 1961, representing the Liberal Party for the Division of Capricornia.

George Pearce
GeorgePearce1956 (cropped).jpg
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Capricornia
In office
10 December 1949 – 9 December 1961
Preceded byCharles Davidson
Succeeded byGeorge Gray
Personal details
Born (1917-09-17) 17 September 1917 (age 102)
Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia
Political partyLiberal
Spouse(s)
Nell Graham
(
m. 1939)

Early lifeEdit

Pearce was born in Rockhampton, Queensland, and attended Rockhampton State High School. He married Nell Graham in 1939, with whom he had two sons, Greg and Laurie. After leaving school, Pearce worked as the manager of a sports store for a period. He was rejected for military service as medically unfit, but during the war worked for the Australian Red Cross as secretary of the local branch and area officer for Central Queensland. At the time of his election to parliament in 1949, he was working as a sales representative for a printing house.[1]

PoliticsEdit

At the 1946 federal election, Pearce served on the campaign committee of Charles Davidson, who defeated former prime minister Frank Forde in the Division of Capricornia. Prior to the 1949 election, Davidson switched to the new Division of Dawson. Pearce replaced him as the Liberal candidate in Capricornia, and retained the seat despite a swing to the Labor Party.[2] He was re-elected in 1951, 1954, 1955, and 1958.[3]

In 1960, Pearce was made Government Whip in the House of Representatives, having previously been deputy whip under Hubert Opperman.[4] The following year, he chaired the select committee into voting rights that reported that universal suffrage should be granted to Indigenous Australians. The committee's recommendations were passed into law in 1962.[5] Pearce lost his seat in parliament at the 1961 election. He was defeated by the Labor candidate George Gray on an 11-point swing, which was partially due to an unfavourable redistribution.[3]

Later lifeEdit

In 1962, Pearce was reported to be working as a business consultant.[6] He later became the executive director of Pacific Sporting Pools, which set up betting pools on Australian sports but ran its operations from Nauru in order to circumvent local gambling laws. It was formally launched on 1 June 1969, but suspended its operations after six weeks following active opposition from the Victorian and New South Wales state governments. Pearce resigned his position at that time. He was also a director of two related companies, Central Pacific Hotels and Central Pacific Airways. A hotel was built on the island, but the airline did not become operational.[7][8]

Pearce turned 100 years old in September 2017. He is the first member of federal parliament to live to be 100 or over, and he and Bill Grayden are the only surviving MPs elected during the 1940s, making them the earliest elected MPs still alive.[9]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Joan Rydon (1975). A Biographical Register of the Commonwealth Parliament 1901-1972 (PDF). Australian National University Press. p. 176.
  2. ^ "Liberal team now complete". The Courier-Mail. 20 June 1949.
  3. ^ a b Carr, Adam (2008). "Australian Election Archive". Psephos, Adam Carr's Election Archive. Archived from the original on 20 July 2007. Retrieved 13 July 2008.
  4. ^ "Mr. Opperman New Shipping Minister". The Age. 6 February 1960.
  5. ^ "Parliamentary summary". The Canberra Times. 16 March 1962.
  6. ^ "In Queensland This Week". The Canberra Times. 19 January 1962.
  7. ^ "Football pools operations cease". The Canberra Times. 11 July 1969.
  8. ^ "Mystery still over pools company". The Canberra Times. 12 July 1969.
  9. ^ Staff (3 October 2017). "Who's Left: Surviving Members Of Every House Of Representatives Since 1949". australianpolitics.com. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Charles Davidson
Member for Capricornia
1949–1961
Succeeded by
George Gray