Former Tasmanian independent senator Brian Harradine has died at his Hobart home, aged 79. SBS takes a look at his life and career.
By
Ella Archibald-Binge

14 Apr 2014 - 3:53 PM  UPDATED 14 Apr 2014 - 3:53 PM

Brian Harradine was born in 1935 in South Australia, but it was in Tasmania that he would become the longest-serving independent member of the Federal Parliament.

Upon arriving in Tasmania in 1959, Mr Harradine worked in various unions before moving into politics in 1965.

For a decade he was a member of the Australian Labor Party, before his right-wing views ultimately saw him expelled from the party in 1975.

In the same year, Mr Harradine went on to represent Tasmania as an independent Senator until his retirement in 2005.

The outspoken Catholic divided opinions with his strong views opposing abortion, pornography and stem-cell research.

In a statement announcing his retirement in 2005, Mr Harradine described his time in the Senate.

“When I was first elected to the Senate, I confronted a clear threat to the Australian way of life from Communists and the socialist left,” he said.

“Throughout my parliamentary career I have sought to defend the dignity of the human person against attacks by those who promote a utilitarian philosophy.”

Among his proudest achievements, Mr Harradine cited his role in securing $353 million for Tasmanians from the minority of sales of Telstra and creating 1600 new Tasmanian university places.

“I am proud of my strong advocacy over the years for people suffering political oppression, for the rights of workers in Australia and overseas to organise, for initiatives to combat chronic unemployment and for assistance to refugees,” he said.