WRIGHT, Sir Reginald Charles (1905–1990)
Senator for Tasmania, 1950–78 (Liberal Party of Australia; Independent)

Reginald Charles Wright, known always as Reg, was born on 10 July 1905 at Central Castra, Tasmania, one of ten children of John Forsyth Wright, a farmer, and his wife, Emma Maria, née Lewis. Reg’s brother, also John Forsyth Wright, was a Member for Darwin in the Tasmanian House of Assembly from 1940 to 1941, and another brother, Roy Douglas (‘Pansy’) Wright, became Chancellor of the University of Melbourne. After leaving Devonport High School, which he attended from 1919 to 1920, Reg gained a scholarship to the University of Tasmania, graduating in Law (1927) and Arts (1928), having won several prizes, including the James Backhouse Walker Prize for Law. Brought up as a Methodist, on 29 November 1930 Wright married Evelyn Olive Arnett, a former legal secretary, at the Holy Trinity Church of England, Hobart.

In 1928 Wright had joined the Hobart law practice of Griffiths, Crisp and Baker, becoming a partner in 1929. He remained with the firm until 1968. He was a brilliant lawyer, and soon earned a reputation for pugnacity and toughness in court. With Mervyn (Merv) George Everett [q.v. Tas.], Wright represented the University Council during the proceedings of the Royal Commission on the University of Tasmania whose report was tabled in 1955. Again with Everett, he supported the University Council over its dismissal of Professor Sydney Sparkes Orr in 1956. One observer claimed that Wright, who worked at the university as a part-time lecturer in law, possessed ‘the same capacity as Dickens’ celebrated Serjeant Buzfuz for adding the most sinister overtones to everyday actions’. Another spoke of his ‘savage adversarial combat’ during the Orr case, with Wright ‘flaying the academic staff unmercifully’. He is said to have declined a Tasmanian Supreme Court seat before his move to Canberra.[1]

Wright enlisted in the Australian Military Forces in Hobart on 14 February 1941, having previously served in the militia. He was commissioned in the artillery, and despite being described as ‘ponderous’, was reported as shooting well. In July 1944 he retired with the rank of captain.

In October 1944 Wright was one of two Tasmanian delegates or observers from the Australian Constitutional League who attended the Canberra conference at which the establishment of the modern Liberal Party was initiated. A member of the conference’s ‘Committee on Organisation’, Wright was one of the seven Tasmanian delegates at the Albury conference in December, at which the new party was formally constituted. Now established in Liberal ranks, and encouraged by his brother Roy to enter politics, in 1945 Wright became foundation president of the party’s Tasmanian division, and from 1948 to 1966 served as a Tasmanian delegate to the Federal Council of the Liberal Party.

A determination to protect the states had been the prime motivation for his opposition to the various constitutional referenda of the 1940s, expressed through his membership of the Constitutional League. In 1946 he won one of the six seats for the electorate of Franklin in the Tasmanian House of Assembly, becoming deputy party leader immediately after the election. Wright was as aggressive in Parliament as he was before the Bench, and his abrasiveness soon antagonised members on both sides. Like others in Tasmania in 1942, he was opposed to the Commonwealth’s introduction of uniform income tax, and called for a return of some of that power to the states. It was said that many in the Liberal Party were happy to see him depart for Canberra after his election to the Senate on 10 December 1949 when, despite being placed last on the Liberal Party ticket, he won first place. Preselected in the second position on the Liberal ticket in 1961, Wright annoyed some Liberals by asking his Hobart supporters to give him their first vote ahead of the party’s first choice, Senator Henty [q.v. Tas.].[2]

Wright believed that the role of the Senate as a states’ house had been corrupted by party dominance. Throughout his long political career he fought determinedly to defeat anything that he perceived as threatening that role, and, by extension, the states’ sovereign rights. He expressed these views eloquently, if unrealistically, in his first speech: ‘I hope that in the next half century of this Senate’s existence it will recapture the leeway that it has lost, regain its original purpose and reconstitute itself the chamber established to protect State rights … regardless of how disproportionate the population, or the wealth, of those States might be’.

He believed utterly in the Senate’s constitutional basis, and worked incessantly to raise the standard of its work. Many colleagues noted that he read legislation in great detail, and his ability to detect drafting errors was legendary. His committee work, of which there was much, was undertaken with an admirable thoroughness. Wright was Government Whip in the Senate between 1950 and the 1951 elections, but failed to achieve reappointment due to differences over the issue of party discipline. Once freed from the need to work with his party colleagues, he began to display the independence of mind that marked the non-ministerial part of his Senate career. Proclaiming his belief that ‘Senators are not spokesmen of Government but of the people’, Wright amazed and infuriated many Liberal colleagues by his preparedness to ignore party policy, even to the point of crossing the floor in divisions. It has been estimated that he crossed the floor on 150 occasions, though critics claimed that having voted against Government legislation early in a bill’s legislative progress, he often changed his vote—or absented himself—when the final vote was taken. With his colleague, Senator Ian Wood [q.v. Qld], Wright became notorious for unpredictability. Journalist Alan Reid considered him ‘ever ready to wound but reluctant to slay’.[3]

Wright’s political philosophy is well expressed in his minority report to the 1959 report of the Joint Committee on Constitutional Review, in which he opposed recommendations to vest the Commonwealth with powers to legislate on uniform company law, on capital issues affecting corporations and on consumer credit and interest rates on land mortgages. The ‘starting point’ of the Constitution, he affirmed, was the ‘equal representation of States in the Senate’. He opposed the removal of the ‘nexus’ provision of the Constitution—the requirement that the number of members of the House of Representatives should be as nearly as practicable twice that of the number of senators. He attacked the growth of executive power and opposed simultaneous elections for both federal houses, if this were based on one half of the Senate going to election at the time of each House of Representatives election: ‘A six year term of the Senator’, he said, ‘is one of the strengths from which he derives his independence’. He recoiled from the committee’s readiness to accept British precedents involving reductions in the powers of the House of Lords, arguing that the British situation was not applicable ‘to permanent reform of a popularly elected States’ House’. He especially objected to the proposal to amend section 128 of the Constitution so as to remove the requirement that a referendum proposal achieve the support of voters in a majority of states. Peter Reith (MHR Flinders 1982–83, 1984–2001) considered Wright’s minority report to be ‘one of the great expositions of the arguments which support the bicameral system and the concept of an independent Senate’.[4]

On 8 March 1967 Wright crossed the floor to oppose the Government’s Constitution Alteration (Parliament) Bill, which proposed to remove the nexus provision from the Constitution so that the number of members of the House of Representatives could be increased without necessarily increasing the number of senators. He was joined by three other Liberals, two independents, and one Democratic Labor Party senator. Their opposition to the legislation was not successful, and with support from the ALP, the proposal went to a referendum. Wright and the DLP’s Vincent Gair [q.v. Qld] used their considerable political skills to prepare the official ‘no’ case for the referendum, though the referendum was also opposed by elements in the Country Party, notably Senators Bull [q.v. NSW] and Prowse [q.v. WA]. Wright pursued the campaign with relentless vigour, he and Gair even putting up a suggestion that they should address the House of Representatives. Wright’s long-held stand was vindicated when the referendum failed to gain the required overall majority, and was successful in only one state, New South Wales.[5]

Ten years later, he found it ‘completely beyond belief’ that the Liberal–National Country Party Government of Malcolm Fraser should introduce the Constitution Alteration (Simultaneous Elections) Bill, another measure advocated by the 1959 joint committee, and from which Wright had, as he reminded the Senate, dissented. He had been even more vehement when the Labor Government of Gough Whitlam had introduced a similar bill in 1974. When Wright crossed the floor in February 1977, he was joined by eight other Liberal senators, the independent Brian Harradine [q.v.5 Tas.] voting with them. Wright had the satisfaction of seeing the defeat of this proposal when it was put to a referendum in May 1977.[6]

He was a stickler for due parliamentary process, crossing the floor on the simultaneous elections issue alone some nine times between 1952 and 1967, objecting to such matters as the gagging of debate through declarations of urgency and the suspension of standing orders. Never daunted by the many times he was outnumbered, he brought his knowledge of the law to bear upon legislation so that individuals and organisations would have recourse to the courts, trial by jury and access to appeal mechanisms, to the extent that he included names of the appropriate courts for settling particular disputes. A long-standing member of the Senate Regulations and Ordinances Committee, he particularly objected, along with the committee’s chairman, Senator Wood, to perceived ministerial influence (for example on the Australian Wheat Board) and called for appeals against ministerial decisions. He was especially disturbed about the degree of power vested in public servants. In 1960 Wright supported Wood’s successful disallowance motion on the Defence Financial Regulations, the debate becoming so heated that Henty commented it would make a ‘magnificent comic opera’.[7]

Wright valued loyalty to his democratic principles above his loyalty to party policy. When Senator Ken Anderson [q.v. NSW] remarked on the need for loyalty, Wright thundered across the Senate chamber: ‘Loyalty to what?’ Wright’s floor crossings could be provoked by disapproval of administrative deficiencies, such as were revealed in the controversy over the records of VIP flights during 1967, or outright opposition over the heavy-handed implementation of the two-airline policy in the IPEC case in 1965. Parliamentary salaries and entitlements were a constant subject of contention for him. Wright believed that when other workers were prevented from achieving wage increases because of the state of the economy, members of Parliament should not vote themselves additional benefits. Not surprisingly, his stance attracted considerable press coverage. Wright also believed that MPs should not be full-time professionals and in 1958 was taken to task by Senator Benn [q.v. Qld] over his parliamentary absences to attend to his law practice.[8]

One of Wright’s main concerns as a backbencher was to carry out the Senate’s review function, which he did many times, and to good effect, as with the Civil Aviation (Carriers’ Liability) Bill 1959, when he assessed the legislation in minute detail. On some occasions, he carried both Government and Opposition, as in December 1953 when he proposed an amendment to the National Health Bill providing a right of appeal to the Supreme Court against suspension or cancellation of an organisation’s registration by the Minister for Health. Labor’s Senator McKenna [q.v. Tas.] noted that the importance of Wright’s amendment lay in its requirement of the Minister for Health to provide the reasons for any such action. In 1966, Wright, with the Liberals’ Senator Gorton and the ALP’s Senator Cohen [qq.v. Vic.], succeeded in having the Bankruptcy Bill amended to allow for adequate rights of appeal for bankrupts. Though losing more amendments than he won, Wright’s contribution was greatest during the committee stages of legislation, for example during debate on the Air Navigation Bill 1960, the Broadcasting and Television Bill 1960, Air Accidents (Commonwealth Liability) Bill 1963, International Organizations (Privileges and Immunities) Bill 1963, Housing Loans Insurance Bill 1965, and the Public Works Committee Bill 1973. It was appropriate that Wright was a member of the committee of government senators whose work led to the historic 1965 compact between the Government and the Senate, confirming the right of the Senate to amend appropriations beyond ‘the ordinary annual services of the Government’. He rejected the oft-heard description of Senate review as ‘obstruction’, and denied the relevance of the claim heard in 1974–75 that the Senate should have no more power to review than the House of Lords: ‘the Senate is not the House of Lords. The power of the Senate is a vital living authority’.[9]

His speeches were invariably presented with conviction and knowledge, and frequently with dash. Though he did not agree with all aspects of the legislation, his second reading speech on the Matrimonial Causes Bill 1959 was described as a ‘tour de force’. He paid tribute to the ‘balanced and impartial mind’ of the architect of the legislation, the Attorney-General, Garfield Barwick, who was prepared to accept amendments. Wright claimed that it was ‘a sign of the arrogant man and the dictator when bills are regarded as unamendable’.[10]

He never forgot his Tasmanian constituents, and their ‘small state’ needs. He carried an amendment to the Land Tax Assessment Bill 1952, arguing that the bill would discriminate against taxpayers in Tasmania, but when the House of Representatives disagreed with the amendment, Wright accepted that ‘it is time for me to be silent’, causing Senator Grant [q.v.2 NSW] to brand him ‘as a 100 per cent. Opportunist’. Concerned that a higher domestic price for sugar would disadvantage the Tasmanian fruit industry, in September 1954, with support from both sides of the chamber, Wright moved, unsuccessfully, to establish a select committee for further enquiry. In the Apple and Pear Stabilization Amendment Bill 1977, his successful amendment at the second reading stage of the bill regarding the plight of the Tasmanian apple industry enjoyed the support of all four Tasmanian Liberals. He supported an amendment by McKenna to the Income Tax and Social Services Contribution Assessment Bill (No. 3) 1956 that sought to advantage Queenstown. In his 1959 dissent from the report from the Joint Committee on Constitutional Review, he had written: ‘Whenever a State industry or interest is in issue in the Senate support is usually expressed on a State basis, for example Tasmanian Fruit, or Queensland Sugar, or West Australian Mining or South Australian Water Rights’.[11]

Vehemently anti-communist, Wright was implacably opposed to militant trade unions and in particular to the Waterside Workers’ Federation (WWF), once declaring that the WWF had been ‘the chief means in strangling Tasmania’s apple export industry’. In 1958 he appeared (again with Merv Everett) as legal counsel for former WWF members Frank and Denis Hursey, anti-communists who were suing the WWF for conspiracy and wrongful expulsion. From 1956 to 1965 Wright repeatedly opposed the Coalition Government’s stevedoring legislation. He objected, in particular, to the continued existence of a supervisory body, from 1956 known as the Australian Stevedoring Industry Authority (ASIA), which he saw as ‘government regulation of an employer and employee relationship’. He believed that the ASIA’s co-existence with the arbitration court system ensured ‘a confusion of administration’ and did ‘nothing to promote efficiency in the industry’. He also objected vehemently to the effective monopoly on employment of waterfront labour enjoyed by the WWF. In 1962 he spoke of ‘deplorable weakness and ineptitude’ on the part of the responsible minister, William McMahon.[12]

At the time of his opposition to the nexus referendum, there was talk of Wright being barred from party meetings; although this came to nothing, he had antagonised his party many times. However, in February 1968 Wright was credited with having secured Tasmanian votes for the Victorian, John Gorton, in the party room ballot that resulted in Gorton becoming Prime Minister. To the surprise of many, Gorton appointed Wright Minister for Works and Minister in Charge of Tourist Activities under the Minister for Trade and Industry, a promotion that produced bitter claims of ‘promotion being the fruit of rebellion’. Wright’s works portfolio was almost purely administrative. He spent much time talking publicly about tourism, and industry representatives expressed themselves happy with his efforts. Wright’s party loyalty was now impeccable, for he saw his primary responsibility as being to the Government rather than to the Senate. He ceased his floor crossings. Charged with the responsibility for introducing the stevedoring legislation into the Senate, he became somewhat more moderate on that issue. He later castigated ministers in the Whitlam Government for criticising government decisions, and pointed to his own change in behaviour once appointed to the executive. He remained a minister until the McMahon Government’s defeat in 1972. In 1973 he again started to cross the floor.[13]

Renowned for a ‘dreadful’ grumpiness, Wright was suspended from the sitting of the Senate on two occasions. The first suspension, on 8 March 1951, resulted from his refusal to withdraw a remark made during debate on the National Service Bill 1950, when he claimed Senator Morrow [q.v.2 Tas.] had been expelled from the ALP for opposing ‘defensive preparations’ in Tasmania in 1938. Despite Morrow’s denial, in essence Wright was correct. Morrow had been expelled for his opposition to what was at that time a form of national service. In a second suspension, in November 1973, Wright seemed less than reasonable when he claimed the right to debate an answer given by Senator Murphy [q.v. NSW] to his question on an appointee to the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. Asked three times by the Liberal Party’s President Cormack [q.v. Vic.] to resume his seat, each time Wright somewhat mulishly replied, ‘Certainly not’. On another occasion, an able (and devoted) parliamentary officer was rash enough to provide him with unwelcome advice. ‘Rubbish’, he shouted, as he tossed a book in her direction. The officer returned silently to her place in the committee room where they were working. After a long silence, she heard him mutter, ‘I know I’m an old bastard’, but she ignored this apparent attempt at reconciliation.[14]

Reg Wright was a parliamentary ‘character’. Rushing from an office ‘awash’ with paper, ‘staggering under the weight’ of books and documents, and singing as he went, he would sweep into the Senate for an important debate, often asking his neighbour to move so that he could spread all his sources about him for easy reference. He was a ‘mobile orator’ who moved constantly around the chamber while putting his case in a voice described as ‘nasal’ and ‘metallic’, with ‘rolling cadences’ and a ‘fondness for mid-Victorian phrases’. According to Senator Peter Baume, [q.v.4 NSW], ‘People came into the chamber to hear him speak—the ultimate test of a senator’.

Senator Henty remarked, ‘I am very wary of my colleague from Tasmania. When he appeals to me so calmly, collectedly and reasonably, it makes me tremble a little, because I know that then he is at his most dangerous’. In manner Wright could be jovial, but his debating style allowed for no opposition, and was said to be influenced often by ‘bitterness, intolerance or a tendency to demagoguery’. It was a style that enlivened the Senate, but did not necessarily win friends. Ian Sinclair, National Party MHR for New England, reminisced that Wright ‘asserted himself on occasions when many of us would have wished he remained silent’. His words could hurt: Everett once called across the chamber that Wright was a senator ‘who so often combines the role of accuser and judge’. He was certain of his place in the history of the Senate. By 1969 he was claiming a role in extending the functions of the Senate, and at the time of his retirement he stated that his votes ‘on an independent basis’ had been ‘one of the chief means of building into the Senate an attitude of independent thinking’. Wright had one last fling in June 1978 when he left his party over a parliamentary pension scheme to become an independent, ironically only days before leaving Parliament and receiving a knighthood for his services thereto.[15]

On his retirement, Wright returned to the place of his birth, Central Castra. His wife predeceased him in 1982. He died in his sleep at home on 10 March 1990, survived by his six children and by his second wife, Margaret Letitia (Letty), née Steen, his long-term secretary, whom he had married in St Ignatius Catholic Church, Brisbane, on 19 September 1986. He was accorded a state funeral at the Uniting Church, Reibey Street, Ulverstone.

Wright’s behaviour in the Senate had flown in the face of party norms, and the increase of executive power. He exasperated his colleagues with his refusal to play the parliamentary game according to the commonly understood rules of machine politics, but remained, on the whole, a devoted member of the coalition parties, deeply opposed to the socialism of the Labor Party, which he considered to be controlled by the ‘Socialist Mainland group’. A colleague for whom he had particular respect was Senator Ivor Greenwood [q.v. Vic.], who died in office in October 1976. As Wright gave his condolence speech for a man he considered ‘of superlative worth’, he was observed to be shedding tears. Wright can be described as one of the last of the great parliamentarians. In quixotic defiance of the realities of modern political behaviour, he maintained that ‘we shall do a disservice to the Parliament if we ever advance the view that a member of the Parliament is obligated to follow the secret decisions of Cabinet or caucus’.[16]

Scott Bennett

[1] Peter McPhee, Pansy: A Life of Roy Douglas Wright, MUP, Carlton South, Vic., 1999, pp. 9–19, 96, 115–23; The editor acknowledges the assistance of Barbara Devlin, Devonport High School; W. H. C. Eddy, Orr, Jacaranda Publishers, Brisbane, 1961, p. 17; TPP, Royal Commission on University of Tasmania, Report, 18/1955; Cassandra Pybus, Gross Moral Turpitude: The Orr Case Reconsidered, William Heinemann Australia, Port Melbourne, 1993, pp. 49–50; CT, 2 Apr. 1969, p. 12.

[2] Wright, Reginald Charles—Defence Service Record, B883, TX6066, NAA; Forming the Liberal Party of Australia, Pam., 1944, NLA; Border Morning Mail (Albury), 15 Dec. 1944, p. 6; Mercury (Hob.), 23 July 1945, p. 8, 24 July 1944, p. 4; Rosemary Lucadou-Wells, Fifty Year History of the Liberal Party (Tasmanian Division), Liberal Party (Tasmanian division), 1994, pp. 1–5; Katharine West, Power in the Liberal Party: A Study in Australian Politics, F. W. Cheshire, Melbourne, 1965, p. 195; W. A. Townsley, Tasmania: Microcosm of the Federation or Vassal State 1945–1983, St David’s Park Publishing, Hobart, 1994, p. 30; Mercury (Hob.), 20 Nov. 1947, p. 4, 27 Feb. 1948, pp. 1, 2, 11 Nov. 1948, p. 4, 28 Oct. 1949, p. 23; Peter Brooker, The Long Road: An Account of the Life of Hon Edward Brooker MHA, Brooker Education Consultancy, Summerhill, Tas., 1998, p. 105; Ian Hancock, National and Permanent? The Federal Organisation of the Liberal Party of Australia, 1944–1965, MUP, Carlton South, Vic., 2000, p. 198.

[3] CPD, 9 Mar. 1950, p. 566; Don Whitington, Ring the Bells: A Dictionary of Australian Federal Politics, Georgian House, Melbourne, 1956, p. 125; Herald (Melb.), 8 May 1967, p. 3, 10 Dec. 1965, p. 4; Deirdre McKeown, Rob Lundie and Greg Baker, ‘Crossing the Floor in the Federal Parliament 1950–August 2004’, Research Note, CPL, no. 11, 2005–6; Alan Reid, The Gorton Experiment, Shakespeare Head Press, Sydney, 1971, p. 39.

[4] CPP, 108/1959, pp. 176, 180, 186; CPD, 8 May 1990 (R), p. 49.

[5] Senate, Journals, 8 Mar. 1967, p. 35; CT, 18 Dec. 1965, p. 1; CPD, 7 Mar. 1967, pp. 299–300, 4 May 1967, pp. 1195–7; Paul Kenneth Rodan, The Prime Ministership of Harold Holt, MA thesis, UQ, 1977, pp. 107–8, 111.

[6] CPD, 24 Feb. 1977, p. 372, 13 Mar. 1974, pp. 262–4, 10 June 1975, p. 2404; Senate, Journals, 25 Feb. 1977, p. 596; AFR (Syd.), 18 Feb. 1977, p. 4.

[7] Senate, Journals, 30 Oct. 1952, pp. 283–5, 6 Nov. 1952, p. 297, 24 Oct. 1957, pp. 122–3, 10 Nov. 1959, pp. 190–1, 18 May 1961, p. 78, 10 May 1962, p. 81, 18 May 1965, p. 279, 2 Mar. 1967, p. 28, 19 May 1967, p. 147, 2 May 1957, p. 43; CPD, 4 Oct. 1960, p. 865.

[8] CPD, 5 Oct. 1967, pp. 1260–6, 25 Aug. 1965, pp. 101–7, 120, 9 June 1955, p. 783, 6 Mar. 1975, pp. 716–21; Herald (Melb.), 5 Mar. 1975, p. 1; CPD, 31 May 1956, p. 1179, 18 Sept. 1958, pp. 450–1.

[9] CPD, 17 Mar. 1959, pp. 391–400, 406–9, 420, 457, 482, 489, 3 Dec. 1953, pp. 288–9, 3 May 1966, p. 703; J. R. Odgers, Australian Senate Practice, 5th edn, AGPS, Canberra, 1976, p. 330; CPP, 108/1959, p. 181; Mercury (Hob.), 29 Oct. 1975, p. 4.

[10] CPD, 24 Nov. 1959, pp. 1776–85; Ian Hancock, John Gorton: He Did It His Way, Hodder, Sydney, 2002, pp. 85–6.

[11] CPD, 3 June 1952, pp. 1214, 1221, 4 June 1952, pp. 1348–9, 5 June 1952, p. 1355, 15 Sept. 1954, pp. 289–94, 322–3; Senate, Journals, 29 Mar. 1977, pp. 54–5; CPD, 1 Nov. 1956, pp. 1155, 1158, 1160; CPP, 108/1959, p. 183.

[12] CPD, 16 Sept. 1954, p. 367; Mercury (Hob.), 7 Dec. 1976, p. 3; Tas Bull, Politics in a Union: The Hursey Case, Waterside Workers’ Federation of Australia in association with Alternative Publishing Cooperative Limited, Sydney, 1977, pp. 86–8; Williams v. Hursey (1959) 103 CLR 30; CPD, 20 June 1956, pp. 1733–44, 15 Nov. 1962, p. 1450.

[13] Herald (Melb.), 8 May 1967, p. 3; Reid, The Gorton Experiment, pp. 38–9; David Solomon, ‘The Role of the Senate’, in Henry Mayer (ed.), Australian Politics: A Second Reader, F. W. Cheshire, Melbourne, 1969, p. 531; Australian (Syd.), 6 May 1968, p. 9; CPD, 23 Feb. 1967, p. 94; Mercury (Hob.), 15 Jan. 1973, p. 4.

[14] CPD, 8 Mar. 1951, pp. 132–6, 7 Nov. 1973, pp. 1569–71; Wright’s response to a devoted and hard-working assistant is recalled by Harry Evans, Clerk of the Senate.

[15] CPD, 8 May 1990, pp. 26–39; Bulletin (Syd.), 14 Dec. 1960, p. 19; Herald (Melb.), 10 Dec. 1965, p. 4; CPD, 2 May 1957, p. 545; Whitington, Ring the Bells, p. 125; CPD, 8 May 1990 (R), p. 47, 28 Oct. 1975, p. 1486; CT, 2 Apr. 1969, p. 12; Mercury (Hob.), 5 July 1978, p. 5; CPD, 1 June 1978, p. 2307; Bulletin (Syd.), 13 June 1978, p. 17.

[16] Mercury (Hob.), 14 Aug. 1944, p. 6; CPD, 13 Oct. 1976, p. 1146, 28 Oct. 1965, p. 1313.

This biography was first published in The Biographical Dictionary of the Australian Senate, vol. 3, 1962-1983, University of New South Wales Press Ltd, Sydney, 2010, pp. 134-142.

WRIGHT, Sir Reginald Charles (1905–1990)

National Archives of Australia

Commonwealth Parliament

Senator, Tas., 1950–78

Minister in Charge of Tourist Activities under the Minister for Trade and Industry, 1968–71

Minister for Works, 1968–72

Tasmanian Parliament

Member of the House of Assembly, Franklin, 1946–49

Senate Committee Service

Joint Committee on the Broadcasting of Parliamentary Proceedings, 1950–51

Joint Committee on Constitutional Review, 1956–59

Standing Orders Committee, 1956–62, 1965–71

Standing Committee on Regulations and Ordinances, 1956–68, 1973–74, 1975–78

Select Committee on Payments to Maritime Unions, 1958

Select Committee on the Encouragement of Australian Productions for Television, 1962–63

Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs, 1965–66

Select Committee on Off-shore Petroleum Resources, 1967–68

Select Committee on Shipping Services between King Island, Stanley and Melbourne, 1973

Estimates Committee A, 1973–74

Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs, 1973–74, 1974–75

Committee of Privileges, 1973–74, 1975–78

Standing Committee on Finance and Government Operations, 1974

Select Committee on the Corporations and Securities Industry Bill, 1975

Estimates Committee F, 1975–76

Select Committee on Mount Lyell Mining Operations, 1976

Estimates Committee E, 1976–78