Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
A Tasmanian by birth, raised in Launceston, Barnard was the son of Claude Barnard , who was a Labor MP from Tasmania 1934-49 and a Minister in the Chifley government. He was a teacher before being elected to the House of Representatives for the Division of Bass, his father's old seat in 1954. In 1967 he became Deputy Leader of the Labor Party and when it won office under Whitlam in 1972 Barnard was Deputy Prime Minister.
For the first two weeks of Whitlam's government, before the full electoral result was known, Whitlam and Barnard formed a two-man ministry, known as a duumvirate, to govern until a full ministry could be announced. Barnard held 14 portfolios including Defence and Immigration. Following the announcement of a complete ministry, Barnard served as Minister for Defence.
Following the 1974 election Barnard lost the Labor Deputy Leadership to Dr. Jim Cairns and shortly thereafter he retired from politics. He became Ambassador to Norway, Finland, and Sweden. The loss of Barnard's seat of Bass to the Liberals at the by-election caused by Barnard's resignation was seen by many as the beginning of the end for the Whitlam government.
After his retirement, Barnard was a director of the Office of Australian War Graves.
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