Robert Askin

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Sir Robert William Askin, GCMG (4 April 1907 – 9 September 1981) was the 32nd Premier of New South Wales, from 1965 to 1975, and the first representing the Liberal Party of Australia. He was born Robin William Askin, but he always disliked his first name and he changed it by deed poll in 1971. Before being knighted in 1972, however, he was generally known as "Bob Askin".

At the end of his term, Askin was the longest-serving Premier of New South Wales; his record has since been overtaken by Neville Wran and Bob Carr. Askin remains the longest-serving Leader of the New South Wales Liberal Party (1959–1975). His success at the 1965 election ended 25 years of a Labor hold on government and presented the Liberal Party as a viable alternative. Askin's reputation has been tarnished by persistent allegations that he was involved in organised crime and official corruption.[1]

Contents

Early years

Robin William Askin was born in Sydney in 1907 at the Sydney Women's Hospital to Ellen Laura née Halliday and William James Askin, a worker for New South Wales Railways. Askin grew up in Glebe, a working-class inner-city suburb of Sydney.[2] However, despite these humble beginnings, after primary education at Glebe Public School, he was able to attend Sydney Technical High School, where he sat in the same class as the future aviator Charles Kingsford Smith. At school he gained good marks, with a particular interest in Mathematics and History, and enjoyed swimming and Rugby League.[1]

In 1922 Askin joined the Savings Bank of NSW and developed an interest in writing, doing articles for Smith's Weekly and The Bulletin. However, when the Savings Bank closed due to the Great Depression, he joined the Rural Bank of New South Wales and later became President of the Rural Bank Officers Association.[2] On 5 February 1937, at the age of 30, Askin married Mollie Underhill at the Methodist Church in Manly. He began his interest in politics by assisting in Percy Spender's successful campaign for the federal seat of Warringah as an Independent candidate at the 1937 election.[1]

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