Council offers condolence book for Ipswich political legend Bill Hayden AC

03 November 2023

Ipswich residents can pay their last respects to the city’s own Australian Governor-General Bill Hayden AC by way of signing a condolence book in the foyer of Ipswich City Council Administration Building, 1 Nicholas Street, during November.

Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding, who on Friday attended Mr Hayden’s State Funeral at St Mary's Church, Elizabeth Street, Ipswich Central, along with fellow councillors, plus state and national political leaders and dignitaries, said it was an opportunity to leave a message for a remarkable person.

“On 21 October 2023, Bill Hayden passed away aged 90 after a long illness,” Mayor Harding said.

“By any measure, Bill Hayden led a remarkable life of service that has left an enduring legacy in our country.

“Those who knew Bill spoke of his compassion, intellect, and work ethic. They spoke of his fundamental decency and fairness – shaped by his childhood, the Depression, and the police service.

“He was a hero to many and lived a life of immense public service to his community and country.

“He was a modest man with enormous ambition for Australia and our nation is far better for his life and his achievements.”

Mr Hayden was born in 1933. Aged just 28, My Hayden contested the 1961 Federal election as the Labor Party candidate for the electorate of Oxley which, at that time, included much of Ipswich.

“He would spend his first years as Member for Oxley on the opposition backbench and was elevated to the front bench in 1969. When the Whitlam Government was elected in 1972, Bill was appointed Minister for Social Security,” Mayor Harding said.

“He was a pragmatic and reforming minister establishing – against fierce opposition - Australia’s first national universal health care scheme – then called Medibank, which later became and remains today, Medicare.

“He introduced Australia’s first single mother’s pension – which helped women and children trapped in the desperate, helpless circumstances he’d so often encountered as a police officer.

“In 1975, in the last months of the Whitlam Government, he was appointed Treasurer.

“He became Labor leader after the 1977 election defeat, rebuilding the party and laying the foundations of Labor’s economic and social policies that readied it for government.

“Under Bill, Labor narrowly lost the 1980 election but was back within striking distance of regaining government.

“Ahead of the 1983 election, he resigned as Labor leader and was appointed Foreign Minister in the incoming Hawke Government.

“As Foreign Minister he was a strong advocate of Australia’s role in the Asia Pacific and for closer ties with our Asian neighbours.

“In 1989, he resigned as Member for Oxley after 28 years to become the 21st Governor-General of Australia.

“He was made a Companion within the Order of Australia (AC) the same year and served as Governor-General until 1996.

“On behalf of the City of Ipswich, I offer my sincere condolence to Bill’s beloved wife Dallas, their children and family, and his many friends across Ipswich and Australia.”