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Don Dunstan

35th Premier of South Australia
Elections: 1968, 1970, 1973, 1975, 1977
In office
1 June 1967 – 17 April 1968
Deputy Des Corcoran
Preceded by Frank Walsh
Succeeded by Steele Hall
In office
2 June 1970 – 15 February 1979
Deputy Des Corcoran
Preceded by Steele Hall
Succeeded by Des Corcoran
Personal details
Born (1926-09-21)21 September 1926
Suva, Fiji
Died 6 February 1999(1999-02-06) (aged 72)
Norwood, Adelaide
Political party Australian Labor Party

Donald Allan "Don" Dunstan AC, QC (21 September 1926 – 6 February 1999) was a South Australian politician. He was the leader of the state's Labor Party from 1967, and was Premier of South Australia between June 1967 and April 1968, and again between June 1970 and February 1979.

Dunstan was born in Fiji to a rich Australian couple. He moved to Adelaide when he was a teenager, to go to school on a scholarship. He later studied law and arts at the University of Adelaide. He entered politics in 1953, getting a seat in the South Australian parliament at the age of 26. He became well known for his campaign against the death penalty during the 1950s, and his status in the Labor Party rose quickly. As a member of the opposition, he was able to get the parliament to pass changes to Aboriginal civil rights. He was also an important figure in his party's abandoning the White Australia Policy.

Dunstan was a socially progressive premier. His government recognised native title over Aboriginal lands, decriminalised (made legal) homosexuality, and abolished the death penalty. Appointed during his term were the first female judge, the first non-British governor, and later, the first indigenous governor. Dunstan also relaxed censorship and drinking laws in the state, created a ministry for the environment, and made laws against discrimination. His nine years in office during the 1970s are remembered as the Dunstan Decade. However, there were also problems: the state's economic growth began to slow down, and led to major infrastructure plans being abandoned. Unemployment in South Australia began to rise, as well as rumours of corruption. Dunstan became strained after the death of his wife, and he suddenly resigned from the premiership in 1979 after collapsing from illness. He lived for another two decades, and remained very outspoken in public about social policies.

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