THE ASKIN, LEWIS & WILLIS GOVERNMENTS

1965 - 1976

The first New South Wales Liberal and Country Government was elected on 13 May 1965. Led by Sir Robert Askin, the historic win ended 24 years of Labor Government.

Sir Robert went on to win another three elections before retiring from politics in 1975. He is the longest serving leader of the NSW Liberal Party, as well as one of the longest serving Premiers of NSW. 

Following Sir Robert’s retirement, Tom Lewis was elected leader, before Sir Eric Willis became Premier in 1976. 

The Askin/Lewis/Willis Governments faced many challenges, including an extended drought and industrial disputes, but despite this they passed many legal and local government reforms, as well overseeing developments in Sydney CBD and the inner city, the completion of the Sydney Opera House and recommencing work on the Eastern Suburbs Railway.

Other achievements included:

  • The establishment of the Law Reform Commission of NSW

  • Introduction of consumer laws, legal aid and compensation for victims of violent crime

  • Removal of trading hours restrictions on small businesses

  • Restoring postal voting rights in state elections

  • Establishing a new National Parks and Wildlife Service to assist with conservation and protection

  • Introducing a number of measures to improve road safety including, breath testing of drivers, P-plates for newly licensed drivers, compulsory wearing of seatbelts in cars and a requirement for motorcyclists and pillion passengers to wear helmets

  • Health warnings added to cigarette packs.

Sir Robert Askin

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Tom Lewis

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Sir Eric Willis

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