Parliament honours late pharmacist MP

Canberra Parliament House

Federal Parliamentarians have paid their respects to a pharmacist who was a minister in the Whitlam government

Federal Parliament has this week paid respect to the honourable Joseph Max Berinson, QC, a pharmacist who became a lawyer, an MP and a federal minister.

Mr Berinson was MP for Perth from 1969 to 1975 and served for a time as Minister for the Environment in 1975, before losing his seat in that year’s landslide electoral defeat of the ALP. It was during his stint in the environment portfolio that Kakadu was declared as a National Park.

From 1980 to 1993 he also served in the WA Legislative Council, and was the state’s Attorney General from 1983 to 1993.

Mr Berinson qualified as a pharmacist from Perth Technical College in 1953 and was part of the profession for over a decade before studying law in the mid-1960’s.

An active member and leader of the WA Jewish community, Mr Berinson died on 2 June 2018.

Both sides of politics paid tribute to his parliamentary and community service this week.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said: “Joe joked that everyone is entitled to one mistake in their life. But he also said that his best accomplishments were not made on the public stage but in the quieter moments, in the small pieces of legislation that made a big difference to people’s lives”.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten shared a number of anecdotes about Mr Berinson and his career, including his claim that his successful 1969 campaign included Western Australia’s first political television advertisement.

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