Charles Jones (Australian politician)

The Honourable
Charles Jones
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Newcastle
In office
22 November 1958  4 February 1983
Preceded by David Watkins
Succeeded by Allan Morris
Personal details
Born (1917-09-12)12 September 1917
Newcastle, New South Wales
Died 7 August 2003(2003-08-07) (aged 85)
Nationality Australian
Political party Australian Labor Party
Spouse(s) Doreen Wright
Relations Sam Jones (brother)
Occupation Boilermaker

Charles Keith Jones AO (12 September 1917  7 August 2003) was an Australian politician and government minister.

He was Minister for Transport (19 December 1972  12 June 1974) and Minister for Civil Aviation (19 December 1972  30 November 1973) in the Second Whitlam Ministry and Minister for Transport (12 June 1974  11 November 1975) in the Third Whitlam Ministry.


Commonly known as "Charlie", C. K. Jones was born in Newcastle and was educated at Cooks Hill High School to the equivalent of 7th grade. He then completed an apprenticeship in boilermaking at the BHP steelworks and Newcastle Technical College. He married Doreen Wright in 1939.

He first became politically active as a member of the Boilermakers Union and, subsequently, the various metal trade unions. In the early 1940s he became a union official and a delegate to the Newcastle Trades Hall Council.

He was elected to the Newcastle City Council in 1946, and in 1956, at the age of 39, became the youngest Lord Mayor of Newcastle, a position he held until he was elected to the Division of Newcastle at the 1958 election. He held the seat until he retired in 1983.

In the Federal Australian Labor Party, he was associated with the Left faction and was a close associate of Jim Cairns and Tom Uren. He became the shadow minister for Transport and Civil Aviation following Labor's crushing defeat at the 1966 election.

Charlie Jones was commissioned as a minister with the election of the Whitlam Government in 1972 and served as the Minister for Transport until that government was dismissed on 11 November 1975. Despite Newcastle's status as a Labor bastion (it has been in Labor hands since Federation), Jones is the only person in the seat's history to have been promoted to cabinet.

During this period, Jones attempted to improve the co-ordination of Australia's transport systems. Under the Australian constitution, intrastate transport is a responsibility of the various state governments. Consequently, Australian transport had a significant degree of systemic inefficiency. Jones proposed a model urban train carriage that could be used in the train systems of the major capitals and also attempted to inaugurate an Inter-State Commission as proposed by Section 101 of the Australian Constitution.

He was involved in providing air services to Papua New Guinea when that nation became independent in 1975. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for service to politics and government in the 1984 Australia Day Honours list. In 2001 he was presented with a Centenary Medal for service to the Australian community.

Political offices
Preceded by
Gough Whitlam
Minister for Transport
Succeeded by
Peter Nixon
Preceded by
Gough Whitlam
Minister for Civil Aviation
Absorbed into Transport portfolio
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
David Oliver Watkins
Member for Newcastle
Succeeded by
Allan Morris
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