Robin Gray (Australian politician)

Robin Gray (Australian politician)

Infobox Officeholder

honorific-prefix = The Honourable
name = Robin Gray
honorific-suffix =
imagesize =
small| caption =
order = 37th
office = Premier of Tasmania
term_start = 26 May 1982
term_end = 29 June 1989
birth_date = Birth date and age|1933|12|5
birth_place = Kew, Victoria, Australia
death_date =
death_place =
nationality = flagicon|Australia Australian
party = Liberal Party of Australia
predecessor = Harry Holgate
successor = Michael Field
constituency = Wilmot (1976–1984)
Lyons (1984–1995)
spouse =
relations =
children =
residence =
alma_mater =
occupation =
profession =
religion =

website =
footnotes =

Robin Trevor Gray (born 1 March 1940 in Kew, Victoria) is a former Australian politician who was Premier of Tasmania from 1982 to 1989. A Liberal, he was elected Liberal state leader in 1981 and in 1982 defeated the Labor government of Harry Holgate on a policy of "state development," particularly the building of the Franklin Dam, a hydroelectric dam on the Franklin River.

Gray's campaign to build the dam aroused protests from the Tasmanian Greens, led by Dr Bob Brown (later a Senator). Gray in 1982 allied with militant left wing FEDFA trade union leader Kelvin McCoy to form in November 1982 the "Organisation for Tasmanian Development" (OTD) which was directly associated with notable stickers seen on cars in Tasmania like "Doze in a Greenie: help Fertilize the South-West", "If It's Brown, Flush It", and "Keep Warm This Winter:Burn a Greenie". Gray and McCoy praised each other publicly in their promotion of the "Gordon-below-Franklin dam". One of the more notable events of Gray's involvement with the OTD was the 3000 strong rally in Queenstown on the 11th December which included former Premier Eric Reece [Pink. Kerry (2001) "Through Hells Gates: A History of Strahan and Macquarie Harbour" Fifth edition ISBN 06463666653 pp.71-88 for accounts of Grays involvement with the "Organisation for Tasmanian Development", and the events just mentioned ]

In 1983, the newly elected federal Labor government led by Bob Hawke intervened to prevent the building of the dam, however it was finally a High Court decision ("Commonwealth v Tasmania"), and despite the persistent clamour for states' rights in which even Joh Bjelke-Peterson was utilised [ op.cit. p.86 for photo ] - Tasmania was the recipient of $276 million in grants and compensation. [ op.cit. p.87]

After seven years in power, Gray's government lost the 1989 election by one seat, when the ALP formed an accord with the Greens, whose unprecedented five seats gave them the balance of power. [Ward, Airlie: [ Minority Government] , "Stateline Tasmania" (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), 10 March 2006.] Gray refused to resign and tried to secure a fresh election, but the Governor Sir Phillip Bennett refused to accept his advice.

A Royal Commission [ [ Report Royal Commision Rouse and others] , "The Age".] later found that prominent Launceston businessman and chairman of Gunns, Edmund Rouse, had tried to bribe a Labor backbencher to cross the floor and keep Gray in power. Gray denied any knowledge of this but the Royal Commission criticised his conduct. He resigned as Liberal leader on 17 December 1991, left politics on 1 December 1995, and went into business.

Gray is now a director of forestry company Gunns Limited.


Further reading

* Gray, Robin (1982) "National Press Club luncheon address. Premier of Tasmania spoke about Tasmania ; the dams and the future of Australia's smallest state." held at National Library of Australia - tape and transcript
* Lines, William J. (2006) "Patriots : defending Australia's natural heritage" St. Lucia, Qld. : University of Queensland Press, 2006. ISBN 0-70223-554-7

External links

* [ Parliamentary Library profile]

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