Sam Benson

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Sam Benson
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Batman
In office
1 September 1962 – 29 September 1969
Preceded by Alan Bird
Succeeded by Horrie Garrick
Personal details
Born (1909-07-12)12 July 1909
Adelaide, South Australia
Died 26 July 1995(1995-07-26) (aged 86)
Nationality Australian
Political party Labor (1962–66)
Independent (1966–69)
Occupation Sailor

Samuel James "Sam" Benson, CBE (12 July 1909 – 26 July 1995) was an Australian politician. Born in Adelaide, he was educated in that city at St Peter's College. He became a wool-classer, then a seaman and Port Phillip pilot, earning the rank of ship's master in 1938.[citation needed]

Benson joined the Royal Australian Navy during World War II, and commanded the Bathurst-class corvette HMAS Kiama.[1]

Having served as Mayor and Councillor on Williamstown City Council,[2] he was elected to the Australian House of Representatives in 1962 as the Labor member for Batman,[3][4] filling the vacancy formed by the death of Alan Bird.[5] Benson was re-elected in 1963, but three years later was expelled from the ALP.[5][6] The expulsion arose from Benson's support of continued Australian participation in the Vietnam War, and, more specifically, his refusal to resign from an organisation called the Defend Australia Committee, after it had been proscribed by the Federal Executive. This organisation comprised a number of Liberal Party, Democratic Labor Party and right-wing activists, and was supported by B.A. Santamaria.[7][8] Thereafter he served in parliament as an independent. He was re-elected as an independent in 1966, the first person to achieve this feat in the House of Representatives since Lewis Nott in 1949.[5]

Benson retired in 1969, and served as the General Secretary of the Merchant Service Guild from 1970 to 1972.[5] He died on 26 July 1995.[5]


  1. Frame, Tom (1993). HMAS Sydney: Loss and Controversy. Rydalmere, NSW: Hodder & Stoughton. p. 178. ISBN 0-340-58468-8. OCLC 32234178.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. J.S. Legge (ed.) (1974), Who's Who in Australia, Herald and Weekly Times Limited, Melbourne, Australia, page 103.
  3. Lyle Allan (1995), 'Sam Benson for Batman and Australia. Labor preselection problems, the ethnic vote, and the ghost of Benson,' People and Place, Vol.3, No.3, Pages 54-56
  4. Andrew Lemon (1983), The Northcote Side of the River, Hargreen Publishing Company, North Melbourne, Page 268. ISBN 0-949905-12-7
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Carr, Adam (2008). "COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA: LEGISLATIVE ELECTION OF 26 NOVEMBER 1966: VOTING BY CONSTITUENCY: Victoria". Psephos, Adam Carr's Election Archive. Retrieved 200-10-14. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Peter Howson (edited by Don Aitkin) (1984), The Howson Diaries. The Life of Politics, Viking Press, Ringwood, Victoria, page 50. ISBN 0-7139-1656-7
  7. Michelle Grattan (1967), 'The Benson Affair', Australian Quarterly Vol. 39, No. 3, September, pages 20-37.
  8. Susanna Short (1992), Laurie Short. A Political Life, Allen and Unwin, North Sydney, New South Wales, page 246. ISBN 1-86373-188-1
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Alan Bird
Member for Batman
Succeeded by
Horrie Garrick