Lindsay Thompson

Lindsay Thompson
40th Premier of Victoria
Elections: 1982
In office
5 June 1981  8 April 1982
Deputy Bill Borthwick
Preceded by Rupert Hamer
Succeeded by John Cain II
Constituency Malvern
Personal details
Born (1923-10-15)15 October 1923
Warburton, Victoria, Australia
Died 16 July 2008(2008-07-16) (aged 84)
Malvern, Victoria, Australia
Nationality Australian
Political party Liberal Party of Australia
Spouse(s) Joan Margaret Poynder
Children Murray Thompson
Alma mater University of Melbourne
Cabinet Thompson Ministry
Religion Uniting Church
Military service
Allegiance Australia
Service/branch Australian Army
Years of service 1942–1945
Rank Signalman

Lindsay Hamilton Simpson Thompson AO, CMG (15 October 1923 – 16 July 2008), Australian Liberal Party politician, was the 40th Premier of Victoria from June 1981 to April 1982. He was also notable for his actions in the Faraday School kidnapping, and was the longest serving minister and Deputy Premier in Victorian parliamentary history.[1]

Early life and family

Thompson was born in Warburton, a town north-east of Melbourne. His parents were both schoolteachers. His father died when he was two, and he was raised by his mother, Ethel Thompson in difficult circumstances.

He won a scholarship to Caulfield Grammar School and eventually graduated as both school captain and the dux of school. The school's new gymnasium was opened as the Lindsay Thompson Centre in 1997.[2]

After service as a signalman in the Australian Army during World War II,[3] he graduated from the University of Melbourne with degrees in Arts (Honours) and Education, and became a school teacher, teaching at Malvern Central Primary School and later at Melbourne High School.

In 1950 Thompson married Joan Poynder, and they had three children. Thompson's son Murray has been a member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly since 1992.

Political career

In 1955 he was elected to the Victorian Legislative Council in the Monash and Higginbotham Provinces as a Liberal, where he served until 1970, when he transferred to the Legislative Assembly as MP for Malvern.

In 1958 Thompson was appointed Assistant Chief Secretary in the government of Henry Bolte. He would serve as a minister without interruption until 1982, making him the longest-serving minister in Victoria's history. Of all federal and state ministers in Australian history, only the South Australian Sir Thomas Playford IV (who served in cabinet without interruption from 1938 to 1965) and Queensland's Joh Bjelke-Petersen (in cabinet without interruption from 1963 to 1987) held ministerial office continuously for longer than Thompson. He then served as Minister for Housing from 1961–1967, during which time many of Melbourne's controversial public housing towers were built. In 1967 he was appointed Minister for Education, and held this post until 1979, a record term. He presided over the major expansion of state education in Victoria during this period.

Faraday hero

In 1972, a teacher and six school children were kidnapped at a school in the country town of Faraday by a man demanding a $1 million ransom. Thompson went to the site and was ready to personally deliver the ransom, but the teacher and children escaped from the van they were locked in before this was necessary. Thompson received a bravery award for his actions during the kidnapping.

Premier of Victoria

During the premiership of Rupert Hamer, Thompson was named Deputy Premier. At various times, he served as Chief Secretary, then Treasurer and Minister for Police and Emergency Services. On 5 June 1981, Hamer resigned and Thompson won a Liberal Party ballot to succeed him as Premier. The Liberals had been in power for 27 years and the new Labor leader, John Cain, was mounting a strong challenge to a government increasingly seen as tired and complacent. Knowing he faced a statutory general election within less than a year, Thompson waited as long as he could, finally calling an election for April 1982. At that election, the Liberals were heavily defeated, suffering a 17-seat swing—the worst that a sitting non-Labor government has ever suffered in Victoria. Thompson resigned as Liberal leader and from Parliament on 5 November.


Thompson was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George on 14 June 1975 for serving as a minister.[4] He was made an Officer of the Order of Australia on Australia Day in 1990 "for service to government and politics and to the Victorian Parliament".[5] He also received a Centenary Medal in 2001.

Throughout life, Thompson was an ardent fan of the Richmond Football Club, and frequently traveled to Melbourne Cricket Ground to watch his beloved Tigers play. He was a Number One ticket holder of the club and was awarded life membership in 1993.[6] Thompson had a long association with the Melbourne Cricket Ground and was a member of the MCG trust for 32 years from 1967 to 1999, taking on the role of chairman between 1987 and 1998. Thompson laid the first stone to mark the construction of the Great Southern Stand at the ground.

Following his death

Following his death many people have commented on what an amazing, kind, but humble man he was. At the funeral among other kind words, former Prime Minister John Howard said "I can honestly say I never heard anyone say a nasty thing about Lindsay Thompson, and I can tell you that has to be a first in Australian politics."[7]


  1. ABC News (2008). Former Victorian premier Thompson dies. Retrieved 17 July 2008.
  2. Caulfield Grammar School (2008). Caulfield. Retrieved 17 July 2008.
  3. Thompson, Lindsay Hamilton Simpson, WW2 Nominal Roll.
  4. Australian Honours (2006). THOMPSON, Lindsay Hamilton Simpson CMG. Retrieved 12 June 2006.
  5. Australian Honours (2006). THOMPSON, Lindsay Hamilton Simpson AO. Retrieved 12 June 2006.
  6. Herald Sun
Victorian Legislative Council
Preceded by
Sir Arthur Warner
Member for Higinbotham Province
Succeeded by
Baron Snider
Preceded by
Thomas William Brennan
Member for Monash Province
Succeeded by
Charles Gawith
Victorian Legislative Assembly
Preceded by
Sir John Bloomfield
Member for Malvern
Succeeded by
Geoff Leigh
Political offices
Preceded by
Rupert Hamer
Premier of Victoria
Succeeded by
John Cain
Preceded by
John Cain
Leader of the Opposition (Victoria)
Succeeded by
Jeff Kennett
Party political offices
Preceded by
Rupert Hamer
Leader of the Liberal Party in Victoria
Succeeded by
Jeff Kennett
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