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Bennett, Colin James (Col)

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Birth Date: 10 May 1919 (Townsville, Queensland, Australia)

Death Date: 12 June 2002 (Brisbane, Queensland, Australia)

Parents: Walter Henry Bennett and Olive Gertrude Jessica (nee Gordon)

Family: Eileen Jocumsen on 21 November 1942, 3 sons, 5 daughters

Education: Catholic primary school and state school, Ayr; St Joseph's College, Nudgee; University of Queensland, BA LLB

Religion: Roman Catholic


Delegate, Local Government Authority Conference; Co-founder (with wife) of St Veronica Welfare Centre, association for underprivileged children; Private practice as barrister, since 1948; Barrister, Commonwealth Crown Law Office, 1945 to 1948; Maths Master, Brisbane Grammar School, 1942; Law Clerk, 1941

Party Positions:

  1. (ALP) Secretary, Coorparoo Branch
  2. (ALP) Leader, Municipal Labor Party, 10 years
  3. (ALP) President, Griffith Federal Division Executive, 20 years

Local Government Service: Vice-Mayor, Brisbane City Council, 1952 to 1955; Alderman, Brisbane City Council, 1949 to 1961

Military Service: Served RAAF, Leading Aircraftman, fitter-driver radar unit, 1943 to 1945

Parliamentary Representation:

House Party Electorate From To Elected/Departure Reason
Assembly ALP South Brisbane 28 May 1960 27 May 1972

Additional Information

Notes: Chairman, University of Queensland Students Council. Member: Newman Society; Brisbane and South Coast Hospitals Board; Federated Clerks Union and Australian Workers Union; Lions Club; and Johnsonian Club. Patron and Life Member, Returned and Services League of Australia (South Brisbane branch). Vice-President, patron, member and honorary legal adviser for many sporting and charitable organisations. In Sep 1962 allegations of mismanagement were raised about the Queensland Police Force, particularly concerning public complaints and the lack of responsible action from the Police Commissioner. Mr Bennett weighed into the debate. A royal commission was called for and eventually granted. A royal commission into police corruption was held, particularly the issue of prostitution being conducted from the National Hotel. A report was tabled in April 1964. In March 1965 Bennett again raised issues of police matters and was subsequently suspended from the House for 5 days. A key witness to this inquiry, Shirley Brifman, was found dead in her flat 6 months after a TV interview in 1972. Colin Bennett also 'distinguished himself with his fists' on occasions - for instance, in Dec 1963 he punched Greg Kehoe (a former Labor member and defector to the QLP) in the mouth, breaking a tooth and splitting his lip. Kehoe broke a finger trying to retaliate. He contested the 1972 state election as an Independent after he was disendorsed by the ALP before the 1972 election. He frequently clashed with the controversial Tom Aikens - for instance, over an incident where Mr Aikens alleged that a 'peeved' Mr Bennett had let down four tyres of a car parked in his lot at the Inns of Court. Interests include swimming, tennis and gardening

Sources: Johnston, Ross, History of the Queensland Bar; Australian, Obituary, 'MP exposed state's seedy underbelly', 26 July 2002; Courier-Mail, 'The vice allegations that shook the state', 23 November 1987; Daily Sun, 'Shirley knew and talked: was she silenced?', 10 August 1987; Courier-Mail, 'Bennett: you have to keep an open mind', 27 November 1974; Courier-Mail, '3 Labor MLAs lost endorsement. Bennett will stand as Independent', 30 January 1972; Wanna, John and Arklay, Tracey, The Ayes Have it: The History of the Queensland Parliament, 1957-1989 (Canberra: ANU Press, 2010)

[Last Modified: Wednesday, 14 June 2017]