The legacy of Wayne Goss… remembered 165



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Wayne Goss, the man that was acclaimed for shaking out Bjelke-Petersen era in Queensland after 32 years, has died aged 63 from a recurrent brain tumour.

He was elected to the role of Queensland Premier in 1989, where he implemented a range of sweeping reforms. Labor minister Robert Schwarten was the bearer of the sad news to the media and spoke highly of the legacy Mr Goss left behind.

“Within a year it was no longer illegal to be a homosexual, he introduced laws to decriminalise prostitution, he brought in the first gun laws in Queensland,” he said

“It was just an enormous list. But the thing he’s least remembered for is that he got Queensland into the 20th century in terms of financial accountability”.

Goss and his Labor team won a strong majority government at the 1989 election, scoring a 24-seat swing, the worst defeat of a sitting government up until that time in Queensland. His election win, which ended 32 years of Coalition/National Party rule, was seen as the “the end of the Bjelke-Petersen era” and the beginning of a new era, coined by the Courier Mail as “Goss the Boss”. He kept the top job until February 1996, when the Mundingburra by-election caused Labor to lose its majority and power on the floor of parliament. Mr Goss had been preselected to run against maverick independent Pauline Hanson at the 1998 federal election but his first brain tumour ended that career option.

A spokesperson for the Goss family, Russ Morgan confirmed Mr Goss died at home in Brisbane today.

His wife, Roisin and daughter Caitlin released the following statement:

“As a family we mourn the man we love; as Queenslanders we join with so many others in gratitude for everything Wayne did for our community and our state.  In Wayne’s own words from 1996, ‘Thank you, Queensland. You’ve been good to me. I hope I’ve left you a better place.’  We and the extended family are immensely thankful to Dr Bruce Hall and all of Wayne’s medical team for their excellent care, and to all those who have sent their well wishes during Wayne’s illness”.


How do you remember Wayne Goss? Share your memories below.

Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. RIP Wayne you were a gentleman, not many left these days. A working class guy who made and did good. Please no nasty comments today lets just remember the man for who he was not the political party he lead

  2. Sad news indeed. A good man ,gone too soon R.I.P.

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