Reg Wright

Sir Reginald Charles Wright (10 July 1905 – 10 March 1990) was an Australian barrister and politician. He was a member of the Liberal Party and served as a Senator for Tasmania from 1950 to 1978. He held ministerial office in the Gorton and McMahon Governments, although he was known for crossing the floor.

Sir Reg Wright
Minister for Works
In office
28 February 1968 – 7 December 1972
Prime MinisterJohn Gorton
William McMahon
Preceded byBert Kelly
Succeeded byJim Cavanagh
Minister in charge of Tourist Activities
In office
28 February 1968 – 31 May 1971
Prime MinisterJohn Gorton
William McMahon
Preceded byDon Chipp
Succeeded byPeter Howson
Senator for Tasmania
In office
22 February 1950 – 30 June 1978
Personal details
Born(1905-07-10)10 July 1905
Central Castra, Tasmania
Died10 March 1990(1990-03-10) (aged 84)
Central Castra, Tasmania
Political partyLiberal (1950–78)
Independent (1978)
RelationsSir Roy Wright (brother)
John Wright (brother)
Anne Osborn Krueger (nephew)

Early lifeEdit

Wright was born in Central Castra, Tasmania in 1905. He was educated at Devonport High School and the University of Tasmania, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws.


Wright in 1954.

Wright was admitted to the bar in 1928 and lectured in law at the University of Tasmania. In 1941, he enlisted in the second Australian Imperial Force and was promoted to captain in 1943.[1][2]

Wright was elected as a Liberal member for the Tasmanian House of Assembly seat of Franklin in November 1946 and was the first State president of the Liberal Party in Tasmania. In November 1949, he resigned to enter federal politics. He was elected to the Senate at the 1949 election, taking his seat in July 1950. He was appointed to the ministry in February 1968 in the John Gorton government as Minister for Works and Minister in charge of Tourist Activities. He held these positions in the McMahon government, which was defeated at the 1972 election.[1][3]

Wright holds the record in the Australian Parliament for "crossing the floor" to vote against his own party, which he did 150 times.[4][5] He did not contest the 1977 election. He was knighted on 3 June 1978, for his services to the Tasmanian Parliament.[6] He left the Liberal Party in June 1978 and sat as an independent until his retirement on 30 June.[7]

Later lifeEdit

An accomplished barrister and orator, Wright returned to practising law on retiring from the Senate in 1978. In retirement he returned to a farm near the farmhouse in Castra where he had been born and died there; he was accorded a State Funeral in Ulverstone, Tasmania.[2]

His younger brother, Emeritus Professor Sir Roy Wright ("Pansy") AK was Chancellor of the University of Melbourne.[2] He predeceased Reg by only ten days. His older brother, John Forsyth Wright was a Member of the House of Assembly in the Parliament of Tasmania.[8] Two of Sir Reginald's sons achieved distinction in the law. His youngest son, Philip Wright, was a magistrate in Hobart, while eldest son the Hon Christopher Reginald Wright AO is a Queen's Counsel, former Solicitor-General of Tasmania, former judge of the Supreme Court of Tasmania, former deputy president of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and former head of Tasmania's Police Review Board.


  1. ^ a b Button, John (8 May 1990). "Death of the Hon. Sir Reginald Wright". Hansard. Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 5 February 2008.
  2. ^ a b c Watson, John (8 May 1990). "Death of the Hon. Sir Reginald Wright". Hansard. Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 5 February 2008.
  3. ^ "Wright, Reginald Charles". The Parliament of Tasmania from 1856. Parliament of Tasmania. Retrieved 5 February 2008.
  4. ^ "The lost art of crossing the floor". The Sydney Morning Herald. 12 August 2006. Retrieved 5 February 2008.
  5. ^ "Crossing the floor in the Federal Parliament 1950 – August 2004". Parliament of Australia. 12 August 2006. Archived from the original on 24 December 2007. Retrieved 5 February 2008.
  6. ^ It's an Honour
  7. ^ "Members of the Senate since 1901". Parliamentary Handbook. Parliament of Australia. Archived from the original on 7 September 2007. Retrieved 5 February 2008.
  8. ^ WRIGHT, John Forsyth, Parliament of Tasmania.
Political offices
Preceded by
Bert Kelly
Minister for Works
Succeeded by
Gough Whitlam
Preceded by
Don Chipp
Minister in Charge of Tourist Activities
Succeeded by
Peter Howson