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Wayne Berry

Wayne Berry
Member of the ACT Legislative Assembly
In office
4 March 1989 – 18 February 1995
Preceded bynew constituency
Succeeded bymulti-member multiple constituencies
In office
18 February 1995 – 18 October 2008
Preceded bymulti-member single constituency
Succeeded byMeredith Hunter
4th Speaker of the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly
In office
12 November 2001 – 18 October 2008
Preceded byGreg Cornwell
Succeeded byShane Rattenbury
8th Opposition Leader of the Australian Capital Territory
In office
19 August 1997 – 20 February 1998
Preceded byAndrew Whitecross
Succeeded byJon Stanhope
3rd Deputy Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory
In office
18 June 1991 – 13 April 1994
Preceded byBernard Collaery
Succeeded byDavid Lamont
Personal details
Born (1942-11-14) 14 November 1942 (age 81)
Sydney, New South Wales
Political partyLabor Party
SpouseRhonda Berry
ChildrenYvette Berry
OccupationFire officer; union official

Wayne Bruce Berry (born 14 November 1942), former Australian politician, was a member of the unicameral Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly from 1989 to 2008, representing the electorate of Ginninderra (from 1995–2008) for the Labor Party.[1] Berry served as Deputy Chief Minister from 1991 to 1994, Leader of the Opposition from 1997 to 1998 and Speaker of the Assembly from 2001 to 2008.

Early years and background

Berry was born in Sydney and educated in Taree, New South Wales.

Prior to entering politics, Berry was active in the union movement and a member of the Labor Party's left faction.[2] He served in the New South Wales Fire Service from 1963 until 1972 and the Australian Capital Territory Fire Brigade from 1972 until 1989. Berry is a Graduate Member of the Institute of Fire Engineers (UK). He was a member of the Federal Firefighters Union, serving as National President between 1986 and 1989.

Political career

Berry was elected the first Legislative Assembly, initially as a member in a multi-member single electorate covering the entire Australian Capital Territory (ACT) at the 1989 ACT general election and re-elected at the 1992 general election. Berry stood for the electorate of Ginninderra at the 1995 general election and was re-elected; and again at the 1998, 2001, and 2004 elections.

He was the first Minister for Community Services and Health in the Follett-led Labor government in a hung parliament. After a vote of no confidence was passed on Follett, Berry was forced to cross-benches. Surprisingly, Follett's deputy, Paul Whalan resigned from the Assembly in November 1990 and Berry became Follet's deputy. In 1991, when Follett succeeded Trevor Kaine as Chief Minister, Berry again assumed responsibilities as Minister for Health and became Deputy Chief Minister. The responsibilities of industrial relations and sport were added, and he held all three portfolios until the a ministerial reshuffle in 1994 when David Lamont replaced Berry in the ministry.

During his time in the Assembly, Berry campaigned strongly on pro-choice and abortion decriminalisation initiatives.[3] In the early years of the Assembly, anti-abortion activism was led by Paul Osborne and Dave Rugendyke. The Assembly legislated that a 72-hour "cooling-off" period was required before a woman who requested an abortion could access one. Additionally, "information" that must be provided to women considering abortions was significantly weighted in favour of the decision to continue with a pregnancy instead of having an abortion.[4] Berry eventually successfully lobbied for abortion to be decriminalised in 2002.[5]

He became leader of the ALP in 1997 and his leadership ended when he led the party to defeat at the 1998 election. He and his predecessor Andrew Whitecross are the only ALP leaders who did not become Chief Ministers.

Berry went on to serve as Speaker of the Legislative Assembly between 2001 and 2008. As Speaker, in 2006, he met with the Australian Governor-General, Major General Michael Jeffery and urged him not to disallow the ACT's civil union legislation. Berry asked that the Commonwealth suggest amendments that the ACT Legislative Assembly could make so that the law was acceptable to the Federal Government. The Governor-General passed the request to the Commonwealth Government. Two hours later, the Commonwealth Attorney-General Philip Ruddock and Minister for Territories Jim Lloyd arrived at Government House and together with the Governor-General moved to disallow the ACT laws permitting civil unions.[6]

Berry retired from politics at the 2008 election.[7] His daughter Yvette was elected to the ACT Legislative Assembly at the 2012 election[8] and she in 2016 she became Deputy Chief Minister, a position that Wayne himself held between 1991 and 1994.


  1. ^ "Members of the ACT Legislative Assembly". ACT Legislative Assembly. 2014. Retrieved 25 March 2014.
  2. ^ "Canberra contest heats up over abortion claims". Crikey. Private Media Pty Limited. 15 April 2010. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
  3. ^ McLennan, David (21 August 2002). "ACT legalises abortion in close vote". The Canberra Times. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 2 September 2010.
  4. ^ Hunt, Josephine (28 August 2002). "Abortion legalised in the ACT". Green Left Weekly. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
  5. ^ "Law and Order". Abortion help. Marie Stopes International Australia. 10 November 2006. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
  6. ^ Stafford, Annabel (14 June 2006). "Commonwealth quashes ACT in battle over civil union laws". The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 29 August 2010.
  7. ^ "Labor battle for Ginninderra". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 15 February 2008. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
  8. ^ "Women rise in ACT Labor following election". Canberra Times. 28 October 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2012.
Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly New title Member of the ACT Legislative Assembly 1989–1995 Served alongside: Collaery, Connolly, Duby, Follett, Grassby, Humphries, Jensen,Kaine, Kinloch, Maher, Moore, Nolan, Prowse, Stefaniak, Stevenson, Wood, Whalan Multi-member multiple constituencies New title Member for Ginninderra in the ACT Legislative Assembly 1995–2008 Served alongside: McRae/Stanhope, Hird/Dunne, Stefaniak, Horodny/Rugendyke/Dundas/Porter Succeeded byMeredith Hunter Political offices Preceded byBernard Collaery Deputy Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory 1991 – 1994 Succeeded byDavid Lamont Preceded byGreg Cornwell Speaker of the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly 2001 – 2008 Succeeded byShane Rattenbury Party political offices Preceded byAndrew Whitecross Opposition Leader of the Australian Capital Territory 1997 – 1998 Succeeded byJon Stanhope
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Wayne Berry
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