Tasmanian Joseph Lyons

On our morning walk along the idyllic Devonport foreshore some weeks ago, the Director of Ministry Services directed my attention to a fine bust of Joseph and Enid Lyons. The erudite Director inspired my interest and when I saw the November Quadrant magazine featuring,  ‘The Annus Mirabilis of a Subdued Radical: Joseph Lyons in 1931′, I sprang into action and have now read a fascinating account of this outstanding Tasmanian’s year of conscientious struggle and change. Quadrant magazine can be purchased online or like me at your newsagent for $8.50. Some wonderful quotes,

“Lyons now also commended to a wider audience his old Tasmanian practices of consultation and consensus (my emphasis-how desperately we need these practices):

We have to get together because the problems ahead of us are difficult, and we can only solve them by getting together … I hope that policy [of consultation] will be applied to Australia. We are allaAustralians and the problem is ours. When we get together those sharp divisions which ahve taken place in the past will exist no longer.

Joseph Lyons (1879-1939) had an amazing political career as Labour Party member and Premier of Tasmania, then a founder of the United Australia Party and Prime Minister of Australia.  A fuller biographical sketch here.

The Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TCCI) last week announced the appointment of a most meritorious Tasmanian as CEO.  Earlier in the year the TCCI in seeking to further its role  initiated an annual “Joseph Lyons Memorial Lecture”. The Quadrant magazine article comments,

 The lecture was delivered by an “internet visionary” and dealt with Tasmania’s prospective broadband roll-out, a curious but appropriate choice given that Treasurer Lyons had allowed for the initial connection of his native island to the mainland by submarine telephone cable in the 1933-34 budget. The TCCI has thus revived the Tasmanian consensus of the 1920s, but this should only be the beginning of a broader commemoration.


Tasmanian Joseph Lyons — 1 Comment

  1. The article in the Quadrant is slanted toward approval of the socialist cause but Joe Lyons was no socialist and is credited with planting the foundations of the Liberal Party. Hi widow, Dame Enid served as a Minister in the Menzies Government. Apart from that he was a Catholic of course, which is one of the reasons which may have made his differences with the ALP more pronounced. We might have discovered that his approach would be quite like that of the new Liberal leader Tony Abbott and that he also would have demanded solid evidence before being panicked by a theory like the one which suggests that global warming is a reality and then ties it to human activity.

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