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Media Release
Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage
The Hon Dr David Kemp, MP

20 May 2002

The Right Honourable Sir John Gorton GCMG, AC, CH


The death of Sir John Gorton, Australia's nineteenth Prime Minister, marks the passing of an important Victorian who made a significant contribution to the Australian environment.

It was during Sir John Gorton's time as Prime Minister, that the first federal environmental portfolio, the Office of the Environment was created.

As the Prime Minister has noted, Sir John 'sought to raise the consciousness of all Australians to value what it meant to be an Australian.'

During Sir John's period as Prime Minister, more and more Australian's began to be concerned about protecting our environment for future generations - which saw environmental issues firmly establish themselves within the Australian consciousness.

Not only did Sir John recognise the increasing importance of the environment to Australians, he showed leadership by ensuring that environmental issues stood on their own on the Federal political agenda for the first time.

It is appropriate that Sir John's commitment to the environment was acknowledged in 1999, when the offices of the Department of the Environment and Heritage were renamed the John Gorton Building to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Sir John's election to Parliament.

I extend my sincere condolences to Lady Gorton and to his family.

Media contact:
Catherine Job (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400

Commonwealth of Australia