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Former Member of Parliament Details

  Hon Sir Thomas Playford GCMG


Full Name Sir Thomas Playford GCMG
Date of Birth 05 Jul 1896
QualificationsGCMG (1957)
Public ActivitiesSir Thomas Playford IV (1896-1981), grandson of "Honest Tom" Playford, was the longest continuously serving Premier of any state of Australia. After serving in World War I, he won the seat of Murray in 1933, and became a member of the Butler's Liberal and Country League (LCL) ministry on his election to Gumeracha in 1938. His 27 year Premiership - the Playford Era - started in November of that year after Butler's defeat. Playford's mission was the economic development of South Australia: he encouraged secondary industry to relocate to the state with multiple incentives and concessions, and in under thirty years converted a predominantly rural-based economy to a thriving industrial base, while still maintaining strong agricultural development. During his Premiership, compulsory voting was established, the Electricity Trust Act (1946) was passed and the first female members of Parliament were admitted in 1959. He was knighted in 1957. Playford was a skilled administrator with a prodigious memory, who used these talents to control Parliament: in the eyes of the general public, he was the government. His pragmatic use of government resources to promote the development of South Australia were seen by some as socialistic, but his approach overall was a conservative one. Playford was returned twice as Premier with an absolute majority and once more in 1962 with support from independents, but was defeated by Labor in 1965 after the LCL became complacent and lethargic. This was the end of an era in more than just name: the impending collapse of the LCL and Labor's transformation under Dunstan ensured that the face of Party politics would never be the same again. Playford resigned as leader of the LCL in 1966 and left the House of Assembly in 1968. He served on the board of the Electricity Trust of South Australia for ten years, and died in Adelaide in 1981.
Deceased16 Jun 1981


DateHouseDistrictPartyReason (If Retired)
08 Apr 1933 - 18 Mar 1938House of AssemblyMurrayLiberal and Country LeagueChanged Seat
19 Mar 1938 - 01 Mar 1968House of AssemblyGumerachaLiberal and Country LeagueRetired


Offices Held

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01 Mar 1968 - 16 Jun 1981Former Member

Ministerial Appointment

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08 Apr 1938 - 05 Nov 1938Commissioner of Crown Lands
08 Apr 1938 - 05 Nov 1938Minister of Irrigation
08 Apr 1938 - 05 Nov 1938Minister of Repatriation
05 Nov 1938 - 10 Mar 1965Minister of Immigration
05 Nov 1938 - 10 Mar 1965Premier
05 Nov 1938 - 10 Mar 1965Treasurer
06 May 1944 - 15 May 1944Attorney-General
06 May 1944 - 15 May 1944Minister of Education
06 May 1944 - 15 May 1944Minister of Industry and Employment
17 Apr 1946 - 15 Dec 1953Minister of Industry and Employment
06 Jan 1955 - 06 Apr 1955Attorney-General
06 Jan 1955 - 06 Apr 1955Minister of Industry and Employment
17 Jan 1956 - 16 Apr 1956Minister of Agriculture
17 Jan 1956 - 16 Apr 1956Minister of Forests
10 Mar 1965 - 13 Jul 1966Leader of the Opposition
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