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Lawyer and former MP recognised

Briefs

Cite as: (2005) 79(4) LIJ, p. 16


Former Victorian parliamentarian and lawyer Bruce Chamberlain was honoured on Australia Day when he was awarded with a Member of the Order of Australia.

Mr Chamberlain, 65, who was the Upper House president in the Victorian Parliament for 11 years to 2003, is now retired and living in Hamilton.

“Obviously I am delighted,” he said of his award which recognised his services to the Victorian Parliament, particularly towards fostering the democratic process, improving library and information technology services, promoting public interest in the Parliament and his general community involvement.

Throughout his parliamentary career from 1973 to 2003, Mr Chamberlain was involved in many legal debates.

He chaired the Attorney-General’s Legislation Committee from 1976 to 1982, which was involved in ground-breaking legislation such as the introduction of the Equal Opportunity Act and the Residential Tenancies Act.

As shadow Attorney-General from 1985 to 1988, he introduced a number of Private Members Bills that sparked debate, and eventual action, on issues such as increasing police powers, laws against hacking and outlawing jurors making comments about discussions in the jury room.

Mr Chamberlain worked for Melville Orton & Lewis in Hamilton from 1965 to 1981, managing to continue with legal work for some years while he was in Parliament.

He was elected to the Lower House in 1973 and switched to the Upper House as Member for Western Province in 1976.

Mr Chamberlain said he found his role as president of the Upper House a rewarding one.

“My claim to fame is that in my 10 years or so as president of the Upper House, no one ever moved a dissent motion to one of my rulings so I must have got it fairly right,” he said.

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