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Sir John Gorton.

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Sir John Gorton was a courageous and forthright Australian who served his country with distinction in military service, as a Parliamentarian, a Minister, and ultimately as Prime Minister.

Sir John served as a RAAF pilot during World War II, serving in England, Malaya and Papua New Guinea.

After the war, Sir John was elected to the Senate in 1949 and became a Minister in 1958.

Sir John Gorton was elected to the seat of Higgins in 1968, filling the vacancy caused by the death of Harold Holt. He still has many friends and admirers who speak warmly of him as a local Member. He took a kindly interest in his successors and over the years I enjoyed a warm relationship with him as a successor in the seat of Higgins. Along with many others, I appreciated his charm and humour.

In 1968, Sir John became Prime Minister.

Sir John brought his own personal qualities to the positions of office that he held. His frank and direct approach with a touch of the larrikin was respected and liked by Australians around the nation.

Sir John led the Liberal-National Coalition to an election victory in the 1969 election.

He will be remembered as a passionate advocate of Australia's national interest and a great Australian.

I extend my condolences to his widow, Lady Nancy Gorton, and to Sir John's children and grand children.

GOLD COAST 20 May 2002

© Commonwealth of Australia 2000