Barry Jones (Australian Politician)
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Barry Jones Australian Politician

Barry Jones

Barry O Jones.jpg
Minister for Science and Technology

11 March 1983 - 4 April 1990
David Thomson
Simon Crean
David Beddall
(Small Business and Customs)
President of the Australian Labor Party

1 January 2005 - 28 January 2006
Carmen Lawrence
Warren Mundine

6 June 1992 - 31 July 2000
Stephen Loosley
Greg Sword
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Lalor

10 December 1977 - 31 August 1998
Jim Cairns
Julia Gillard
Member of the Victorian Parliament
for Melbourne

June 1972 - November 1977
Arthur Clarey
Keith Remington
Personal details
Born (1932-10-11) 11 October 1932 (age 87)
Geelong, Victoria, Australia
Political partyAustralian Labor Party
(30 June 1961 - her death June 2006)
ProfessionTeacher, writer, politician

Barry Owen Jones, (born 11 October 1932), is an Australian polymath,[1][2][3][4] writer, teacher, lawyer, social activist, quiz champion and former politician. He campaigned against the death penalty throughout the 1960s, particularly against the execution of Ronald Ryan. He is on the National Trust's list of Australian Living Treasures.

Early life

Barry Jones was born in Geelong, Victoria, and educated at Melbourne High School and the University of Melbourne, where he studied arts and law. He began his career as a schoolteacher at Dandenong High School, where he taught for nine years, before becoming a household name as an Australian quiz champion in the 1960s on Bob Dyer's Pick a Box, a radio show from 1948, televised from 1957. He was known for taking issue with Dyer about certain expected answers, most famously in response to a question about "the first British Governor-General of India", where he pointed out that Warren Hastings was technically only the Governor-General of the Presidency of Fort William in Bengal Presidency. Jones' appearances on Pick a Box lasted from 1960 to 1968.[5]

He famously claimed that in the future there would be more computers than cars in Tasmania. The sceptisim provoked by the claim was highlighted by former prime minister Julia Gillard as an example of a lack of imagination about the future.[6]

Jones also tried his hand at broadcasting on Melbourne radio in the mid-1960s. He was one of the pioneers of talkback radio, working at 3DB in Melbourne.[7] His show Talkback to Barry Jones and Mike Walsh's show on Sydney's 2SM were Australia's first talkback shows.[8] Jones believes that modern talkback shows have a much narrower focus than the original shows. He says "I was trying to convey to people a sense of what they didn't know rather than simply talk about football or pets. My emphasis was on using talkback as an instrument for exposing people to new ideas and challenging them, rather than just reinforcing the ideas they already held."[8] Jones was a panelist on 3DB's popular program, Information Please.

Political career

A member of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) from 1950, Jones was a Federal candidate in 1955, 1958 and 1963, with a strong interest in education and civil liberties.

Jones's political career began in the Victorian Parliament where he represented the electorate of Melbourne as a Labor Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) from 1972 to 1977, when he resigned to go into federal politics.

In 1977, he was elected to the House of Representatives as the Labor member for the Federal seat of Lalor in Victoria, which he held until his retirement in 1998. He was Minister for Science in the Hawke government from 1983 to 1990, in which role he presided over the growth of organisations such as the CSIRO, the creation of the Australia Prize, Questacon and the Commission for the Future. Jones lost his place in the ministry when he failed to gain the backing of his centre-left faction.

In 1992, upon the resignation of Stephen Loosley, to whom he had lost the position in a split vote in 1991, he was elected National President of the ALP, serving until 2000. He became National President again in 2005-06.[9]

Jones was the chief architect of the ALP's Knowledge Nation education concept, as chair of the Chifley Research Centre's Knowledge Nation Taskforce.[10] During this time he was also a member of the Council of the National Library of Australia.[11]

He was the Vice-President of the World Heritage Committee from 1995 to 1996 and a member of the Executive Board of UNESCO from 1991 until 1995.

Jones and Ian Sinclair served as co-chairs of the 1998 Constitutional Convention on an Australian republic.

Academic career

Jones attended the selective Melbourne High School in South Yarra before continuing to the University of Melbourne where he graduated with Bachelor of Laws and Master of Arts degrees. Jones holds the honorary degrees of Doctor of Letters from the University of Technology Sydney and University of Wollongong, Doctor of Science from Macquarie University and Doctor of Laws from the University of Melbourne.

In 1999 he was appointed an adjunct professor at Monash University and became a Vice-Chancellor's Fellow at the University of Melbourne in 2005.

He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (FAA); a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities (FAHA); a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia (FASSA); and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (FTSE): he was the first (and so far the only) person elected Fellow of all four Australian learned academies. In 1999 he was elected a Visiting Fellow Commoner at Trinity College, Cambridge. He is also a Fellow of the Australian College of Educators (FACE),[12] a Fellow of the Royal Society of Victoria (FRSV).,[13] and a Distinguished Fellow of the Royal Society of New South Wales (DistFRSN).[14]

Later life

Jones chaired the Victorian Schools Innovation Commission from 2001 until 2005.[15] He chaired the Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority from 2000 to 2005[15] and serves on the boards of several medical research institutes. Jones was the founding Chair of the Advisory Board to In2science, a peer mentoring program that builds enthusiasm of Victorian secondary school students for science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) [16]. On 31 October 2008, Jones was appointed to serve on the board of the Victorian Opera.[17]

He appeared regularly as a member of the Brains Trust on the television quiz show The Einstein Factor. He mentioned on an episode of the show that he likes to watch his resource page grow.[18]

On 9 April 2010, the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator Kim Carr, announced the formation of the Book Industry Strategy Group (BISG) with Jones as chair.[19] The group submitted its report in September 2011.[20]

Barry Jones Bay in the Australian Antarctic Territory and Yalkaparidon jonesi, an extinct marsupial, were named after him. He is the owner of the largest private autograph collection in Australia.[21]

Stance against capital punishment

Jones has maintained a long-standing public profile as an outspoken opponent of capital punishment.[22][23]

On euthanasia

Jones's stated position on voluntary euthanasia in the past has been inconclusive but in the Australian parliament he has voted against euthanasia-enabling laws in the Northern Territory.[24] He has noted that popular support is not of itself a compelling reason for its adoption.[25] In the same frequently cited speech from 1996 he noted that "No other issue has troubled me so much because I am not sure that I am correct".

On climate change

Jones claims to have been an early advocate for action on climate change, first advocating for his cabinet colleagues to support action in 1984.[26]


Jones has been a prolific author of political and sociological books, including:

  • Decades of Decision 1860- : A Compendium of Modern History, Sydney: Horwitz, 1965; London, Horwitz, 1965.
  • The Penalty is Death: Capital Punishment in the Twentieth Century, Retentionist and Abolitionist Arguments with Special Reference to Australia, Barry Jones, comp., Melbourne : Sun Books in association with the Anti-Hanging Council of Victoria, 1968.
  • Joseph II: Enlightenment in Politics, West Melbourne : Victorian Historical Association, ca. 1960-69.
  • Age of Apocalypse: Compendium of History 1860 to the Present Day (also titled: Barry Jones' Guide to Modern History: Age of Apocalypse), South Melbourne: Macmillan Company of Australia, 1975.
  • The Macmillan Dictionary of Biography, edited by Barry Jones and M. V. Dixon, London: Macmillan; Adelaide: Mary Martin, 1981; South Melbourne: Macmillan, Papermac series, revised and updated edition, 1986; South Melbourne : Macmillan, 3rd edition, 1989.
  • Sleepers, Wake! Technology and the Future of Work, Brighton: Wheatsheaf Books, 1982; Melbourne : Oxford University Press, 1982, 1983; revised and enlarged edition, 1995.
  • Dictionary of World Biography, Melbourne: Information Australia, 1994; 2nd edition, 1996.
  • A Thinking Reed, Crows Nest, N.S.W.: Allen & Unwin, 2006. Autobiography.
  • The Instruction Manual for the Mind, Suffolk: Arima Publishing, 2010.
  • Dictionary of World Biography, Canberra: Acton, ACT: ANU Press, c. 2013; 2nd ed., 2015. Also published by ANU E Press in digital editions.
  • Dictionary of World Biography, Melbourne: Wilkinson Publishing, 2016.
  • The Shock of Recognition: The Books and Music that have Inspired Me, Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 2016; Strawberry Hills, N.S.W.: Read How You Want, 2016.
  • Knowledge Courage Leadership, Melbourne: Wilkinson Publishing, 2016.
  • Looking into the Abyss: Trump, Australia & Beyond: Understanding the Age of Trump, Melbourne: Wilkinson Publishing, 2018.


  1. ^ Professor Ian Chubb, Vice-Chancellor, Australian National University, BARRY OWEN JONES : CITATION FOR AN HONORARY DEGREE Archived 5 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine ; Retrieved 14 September 2013
  2. ^ Mike Steketee, Review of A Thinking Reed, The Australian, 7 October 2006 ; Retrieved 14 September 2013
  3. ^ National Trust of Australia, National Living Treasures Archived 19 September 2014 at the Wayback Machine ; Retrieved 14 September 2013
  4. ^ University of Canberra, Monitor Online, Barry Jones From quiz champion to global prophet Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine; Retrieved 14 September 2013
  5. ^ Barry Jones on Talking Heads
  6. ^ "Let's make sure we don't look back and laugh" by (27 October 2010)
  7. ^ "Commercial radio celebrates 40 years of talkback", Commercial Radio Australia enewsletter, 16 April 2007 Archived 20 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ a b Javes, Sue (2007) "In so many words" Archived 26 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine, The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 April 2007
  9. ^ The Canberra Times, 7 June 1992
  10. ^ Chifley Research Centre Archive[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ National Library of Australia (1999). "Appendix 1. The Council of the National Library of Australia". Annual Report, 1998-1999. Archived from the original on 23 July 2001.
  12. ^ Australian College of Educators Archived 12 November 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Fellows of the Royal Society of Victoria
  14. ^ Distinguished Fellows of the Royal Society of New South Wales
  15. ^ a b Prof Hon Barry Jones Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine, The University of Melbourne
  16. ^
  17. ^ Board of Directors Archived 9 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine at Victorian Opera
  18. ^ The Einstein Factor, episode screened on 22 June 2008
  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 21 February 2011. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 December 2010. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ Jones, Barry Owen Archived 29 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine, – Parliament of Victoria
  22. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 July 2016. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 24 April 2016. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  24. ^;query=Id%3A'chamber%2Fhansardr%2F1996-11-21%2F0126';src1=sm1
  25. ^;db=CHAMBER;id=chamber%2Fhansardr%2F1996-11-21%2F0126;query=Id%3A'chamber%2Fhansardr%2F1996-11-21%2F0000'[permanent dead link]
  26. ^

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
David Thomson
Minister for Science (and Technology)/
Minister for Science, (Customs)
and Small Business

11 March 1983 - 4 April 1990
Succeeded by
Simon Crean (Science)
David Beddall (Small
Business and Customs)
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Jim Cairns
Member for Lalor
10 December 1977 - 31 August 1998
Succeeded by
Julia Gillard

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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