Bill's Media Releases

PASSING OF LESLIE ROYSTON JOHNSON AM

Labor mourns the passing of an honoured son of our party and a distinguished servant of our nation, Leslie Royston Johnson AM.

 

Les, as he was known to one and all, gave a quarter century of service to our Parliament and our nation. Between he served as the Member for Hughes, a Minister in the Whitlam Government and later Deputy Speaker.

 

Les Johnson was Labor to his bootstraps.

 

As a child, he knew the hardship of the Great Depression.

 

As a young man, aged 14, he went to work to support his family and later put himself through night school.

 

He fought for the rights of working people on the shop floor and in the community, from when he was first elected in 1955 until his retirement in 1983.

 

Les served our nation in turbulent times, from ‘The Split’ to the dismissal. In many ways he was made for them: tough, resolute and resilient.

 

He was a steadfast and forthright opponent of the war in Vietnam and along with being one of the first to speak against it in Parliament, he also visited allied forces in Vietnam at his own expense in 1966.

 

Les was also a strong supporter of independence for Bangladesh and his commitment was recognised in 2012 when that nation honoured him as a ‘special friend’.

 

Les was a local champion as well as a great internationalist; he understood the power of community, particularly as Minister for Housing, which he saw as a powerful economic catalyst as well as a human right.

 

With the loss of Les Johnson, another Labor giant moves into history.

 

The Labor Party offers our heartfelt condolences to his friends and loved ones, especially his wife Marion, his children and grandchildren.

 

We salute Les Johnson’s service, his passion and his never-fading faith in the light on the hill.

 

May he rest in peace.

 

TUESDAY, 26 MAY 2015

 

MEDIA CONTACT: LEADER’S OFFICE MEDIA UNIT – 02 6277 4053