Bob Collins (Australian politician)

Robert Lindsay "Bob" Collins AO (8 February 1946 – 21 September 2007) was an Australian Labor Party member of the Australian Senate from July 1987 to March 1998, representing the Northern Territory. Prior to entering the Senate, Collins was a member of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly from 1977 to 1987, and Leader of the Territory Opposition from 1981 to 1986. He was the first Northern Territorian to become a federal minister. [Senator Trish Crossin: [ First Speech] , 24 June 1998.]

Early life

Born into a working-class family in Newcastle in 1946, Collins left school at the age of 15 and worked briefly on a cotton farm. In 1967 he moved to the Northern Territory, where he found work at the Department of Agriculture in the town of Katherine. By 1974 he was working for the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and St. John Ambulance when Cyclone Tracy struck the city of Darwin. [Oral Histories: [ Interviews with Bob Collins] , Northern Territory Library]

Territory politics

Collins first became politically active in the late 1970s, while employed as a market gardener and wildlife officer in the indigenous community of Maningrida in Arnhem Land. In 1977, he was asked to run for the Australian Labor Party in the seat of Arnhem, which he did, successfully gaining a seat in the second parliament of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly. He was Leader of the Opposition from 1981 to 1986 while the Country Liberal Party held power, switching to the newly created seat of Arafura in December 1983. At the territorial election of 1983, his party was defeated; and incumbent Chief Minister Paul Everingham was the victor.

Federal politics and the Senate

At the 1987 federal election, Collins was elected to the Australian Senate representing the Northern Territory.

The Prime Minister Bob Hawke chose Collins as Minister for Shipping on 4 April 1990, and a month later on 7 May, Aviation Support was added to his portfolio. In addition, he served during that term as Minister assisting the Prime Minister for Northern Australia. In May 1992, Prime Minister Paul Keating elevated Collins to the Cabinet as Minister for Transport and Communications. In December 1993, he was made Minister for Primary Industries and Energy.

After the Coalition lead by John Howard won the 1996 election, Collins continued to serve in the Senate until he resigned on 30 March 1998; Trish Crossin was appointed to his Senate seat.


In the Australia Day Honours of 2004, Collins was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for services to the Northern Territory and indigenous rights. [Mark Metherell: [ It's time, for Labor family] , "The Sydney Morning Herald", 26 January 2004.]

Child sex allegations

On 19 June 2004, Collins was involved in a serious single-car accident when his car rolled over near the town of Jabiru. [ [ Bob Collins: the ugly truth] , The Bulletin, September 25, 2007; Website closed January 2008] He was taken to Royal Darwin Hospital, then flown to Adelaide on 22 June for specialised surgery. [ [ Former senator flown to Adelaide for specialised surgery] , Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 23 June 2004]

As Collins recovered in hospital in Adelaide, officers of the Northern Territory Police [ [ Police confirm Collins investigation] , Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 1 July 2004] flew to his hospital bedside to inform him that his home had been raided and that he was charged with child-sex offences. His home computer had been seized, and prosecutors said that this computer contained 54 child-porn images [ [ Bob Collins: the ugly truth] , The Bulletin, September 25, 2007] . Additionally, four men had made allegations that Collins had sexually assaulted them as children, more than thirty years previously. [Anne Barker: [ Bob Collins under investigation over allegations of sexual assault] , Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 1 July 2004] One of the alleged victims was Tom E. Lewis, a young actor who had played the title role in the 1978 Australian film "The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith". [Anne Barker: [ Police confirm Collins investigation] , Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 1 July 2004.] The Northern Territory Director of Public Prosecutions supported a move by Bob Collin's defence lawyers to suppress all details of the court case [cite web | title = Alleged Paedophile Activity - Delay of Court Proceedings | publisher = Northern Territory - Parliamentary Record No: 25 | date = 2005-03-22 | url =] , including media reporting of the case.

Another allegation was made in 2006 of the sexual assault of a 12-year-old boy in Canberra in September 1989. Collins was charged with two counts of committing an act of indecency and one count of sexual intercourse with a child. [ [ I'll fight sex charges: Bob Collins] , "National Nine News", 18 September 2006.]

Collins's continuing medical problems, including surgery for bowel cancer and injuries from his car accident, meant that he was unfit to attend the ACT Magistrates' Court for four scheduled hearings of the case in September and December 2006 and March and May 2007. [ [ Collins still too sick to appear in court on sex assault charges] , Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 8 March 2007.] [ [ Collins' health holds up court hearing] , Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 28 May 2007.]

An additional charge of possession of child pornography was set down against Collins in the Darwin Magistrates' Court in November 2006. Collins faced 21 child sex charges in the Northern Territory which were due for a committal hearing in April 2007. The child pornography charge was due for a hearing in the same court on 1 May. [ [ Child porn court date for ex-Labor minister] , "The Age", 24 November 2006.] He died before he could face court.


Collins died in Darwin on 21 September 2007, aged 61. It was widely reported that the cause was bowel cancer [ [,25197,22461047-5006790,00.html Collins' obituary] , The Australian, 22 September 2007.] ; however, on 26 September it was reported that the Northern Territory Coroner was planning to investigate whether Collins took his own life on the eve of his court appearance. [Murphy, Damien: [ Collins raped me when I was 12: accuser] , "The Age", 26 September 2007.] On 14 February 2008, although no formal public inquest had been held, Northern Territory coroner Greg Cavanagh said in a statement that Collins took his own life through an overdose of prescription drugs and alcohol. [,23599,23212434-29277,00.html "Bob Collins took own life - coroner"]

A planned state memorial service for the former Labor senator was cancelled, after the Federal Government withdrew its offer of a tribute. The family held, instead, a private funeral. Flag marshals had been notified to half-mast their flags in honour of Collins on the day of the funeral, but that advice was later withdrawn by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. [cite news |first= Kate |last= Hannon|authorlink= |coauthors= |title= Collins memorial cancelled Feds withdraw funeral offer after fresh claims of child sex offences |url=|work= |publisher=The Canberra Times |date= 2007-09-27|accessdate= 2007-09-27]


NAME=Collins, Bob
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=Collins, Robert Lindsay
SHORT DESCRIPTION=Australian politician
DATE OF BIRTH=8 February 1946
PLACE OF BIRTH=Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
DATE OF DEATH=20 September 2007
PLACE OF DEATH=Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Peter Collins (Australian politician) — Infobox Politician width = height = caption = honorific prefix = The Honourable name = Peter Edward James Collins honorific suffix = AM RFD QC office = New South Wales Leader of the Opposition term start = 4 April 1995 term end = 8 December 1998… …   Wikipedia

  • Bob Collins — Robert Collins or Bob Collins may refer to: *Bob Collins (American radio broadcaster) (1942–2000), American radio broadcaster *Bob Collins (Australian politician) (Robert Lindsay Collins, 1946–2007), former Australian politician *Bobby Collins… …   Wikipedia

  • Michael Egan (Australian politician) — The Honourable Michael Egan Treasurer of New South Wales In office 3 April 1995 – 21 January 2005 Premier Bob Carr Preceded by Peter Collins Succ …   Wikipedia

  • Michael Lee (Australian politician) — The Hon. Michael Lee Member of the Australian Parliament for Dobell In office 1 December 1984 – 10 November 2001 Preceded by New seat Succeeded by Ken …   Wikipedia

  • Chris Evans (Australian politician) — For other people of the same name, see Christopher Evans (disambiguation). The Honourable Chris Evans Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations …   Wikipedia

  • Gary Gray (Australian politician) — Infobox MLA | name =Gary Gray nationality =Australian, British order = office = Member for Brand term start =24 November 2007 term end = deputy = predecessor =Kim Beazley successor = birth date = birth date and age|1958|4|30 birth place… …   Wikipedia

  • John Moore (Australian politician) — Infobox Prime Minister name =John Moore caption = John Moore (right) in 1999 order =46th Australian Defence Minister term start =1998 term end = 2001 predecessor =Ian McLachlan successor = Peter Reith birth date = birth date|1936|11|16|df=y birth …   Wikipedia

  • Collins (surname) — The surname Collins has a variety of likely origins in Britain and Ireland: Anglo Saxon: A patronymic surname based on the name Colin, an English diminutive form of Nicholas. In England, Collins usually signified son of Colin. Irish: cuilein =… …   Wikipedia

  • Bob Carr — Infobox President | name =Bob Carr nationality =Australian order =39th Premier of New South Wales term start =25 March 1995 term end =3 August 2005 deputy =Andrew Refshauge predecessor =John Fahey successor =Morris Iemma office2 = New South Wales …   Wikipedia

  • Australian federal election, 2004 — Infobox Election election name = Australian federal election, 2004 country = Australia type = parliamentary ongoing = no previous election = Australian federal election, 2001 previous year = 2001 next election = Australian federal election, 2007… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.