Robin Millhouse
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Robin Millhouse

Robin Millhouse

Robin Millhouse.jpg
6th Chief Justice of Nauru

3 April 2006 (2006-04-03) - 2010 (2010)
Chief Justice of Kiribati

8 December 1999 (1999-12-08) - January 2011 (2011-01)
Justice of the Supreme Court of South Australia

7 July 1982 (1982-07-07) - 8 December 1999 (1999-12-08)
39th Attorney-General of South Australia

17 April 1968 (1968-04-17) - 1 June 1970 (1970-06-01)
Don Dunstan
Len King
Member for Mitcham

7 May 1955 (1955-05-07) - 7 April 1982 (1982-04-07)
Henry Dunks
Heather Southcott
Personal details
Robin Rhodes Millhouse

(1929-12-09)9 December 1929
Died28 April 2017(2017-04-28) (aged 87)
Political partyLCL (1955-1973)
Liberal Movement (1973-1976)
New LM(1976-1977)
Australian Democrats (1977-1982)
ChildrenThree daughters and two sons
ParentsVivian Rhodes Millhouse, Grace Lilly Ayliffe
OccupationBarrister, politician, judge
Known forFirst elected member for the Australian Democrats

Robin Rhodes Millhouse, QC (9 December 1929 - 28 April 2017) was, at various times, the 39th Attorney-General of South Australia, the first Australian Democrats parliamentarian, and the Chief Justice of both Kiribati and Nauru and a judge of the High Court of Tuvalu.[1][2]

Early life and career

Millhouse was born in Adelaide, to lawyer Vivian Rhodes Millhouse (1902-1963), and Grace Lily (often Lilly) Millhouse, née Ayliffe (1900-1990). Millhouse gained an LLB from the University of Adelaide in 1951 after attending St Peter's College, Adelaide.

Political career

While practising as a barrister, Millhouse entered the South Australian House of Assembly on 7 May 1955 as the Liberal and Country League (LCL) member for Mitcham, a safe LCL seat in southeastern Adelaide.[1] Millhouse rapidly gained a reputation as both the intellectual driving force behind the LCL and an outspoken spokesperson for the urban middle class faction of the LCL, a group under-represented within the party hierarchy.

Millhouse ran for the LCL leadership pre-selection following leader Sir Thomas Playford's retirement, but lost to Steele Hall, another member of the LCL's progressive faction. Instead, following the LCL's return to power at the 1968 election, Millhouse was given the portfolios of Attorney-General,[1]Aboriginal Affairs, Social Welfare, and Labour and Industry. In these roles, Millhouse gained a reputation as a crusader for progressive social change as he sought to position South Australia as a national leader on social issues. During 1969 Millhouse was the architect and the major proponent for abortion on health grounds in South Australia, a decision he would come to regret decades later, claiming it had become "abortion on demand".[3] In the wake of the LCL's 1970 election loss, Millhouse was elected Deputy Leader of the Opposition on 2 June.

After the LCL also lost the 1973 state election, Millhouse resigned from the party on 18 March 1973 to form the Liberal Movement following growing dissatisfaction at the continuing conservatism of the LCL.[4] While a number of other senior LCL members, including former premier Steele Hall, also joined the Liberal Movement, all except Millhouse eventually returned to what by then had become the South Australia branch of the Liberal Party in 1976. Millhouse chose instead to form a new political party, named the New LM;[1] before merging that with the Australia Party, the Centre-Line Party and other like minded groups to form the Australian Democrats and, as a sitting member, became the first Australian Democrats Member of Parliament in 1977.[1] Standing as a Democrat, he held Millhouse retained his seat at the 1977 and 1979 state elections.

As a Democrat, he continued to campaign for progressive social issues, including the introduction of a bill to legalise prostitution in South Australia.[5]

Judicial career

South Australia

After having been made a Queen's Counsel in 1979,[1] Millhouse resigned from parliament on 7 July 1982, sparking a Mitcham by-election,[6] upon accepting a position as a South Australian Supreme Court justice. He served on the Supreme Court until his retirement due to age in December 1999.[1]

Further judicial appointments

At his retirement sitting, he announced his appointment as Chief Justice of the High Court of Kiribati,[1] a position he held until January 2011. He was Chief Justice of Nauru from 3 April 2006[7] to late 2010.

Following his retirement as Chief Justice of Kiribati, he served as a judge of High Court of Tuvalu from February 2014[8] and March 2015.

Personal life

He married Ann (died 1992) in 1957 and had three daughters and two sons.[1] Millhouse died on 28 April 2017, aged 87.

Sir Eric Millhouse (1891 - 24 February 1950), lawyer and champion of returned soldiers,[9] was an uncle.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i John Emerson (2006). History of the Independent Bar of South Australia. Adelaide: University of Adelaide Barr Smith Press. p. 134. ISBN 0-86396-835-X. Retrieved 2010.
  2. ^ "Former SA judge and attorney-general Robin Millhouse passes away, aged 87". The Advertiser. Retrieved 2017.
  3. ^ Robin Millhouse's regret: The Advertiser 16 August 2014
  4. ^ "The 1970s". SA Memory:Past, Present for the Future. 16 May 2007. Archived from the original on 12 November 2009. Retrieved 2010.
  5. ^ "Sex Industry Page 4". 10 May 2007. Retrieved 2010.
  6. ^ "Political Chronicle--Australia and Papua New Guinea: July-December 1982". doi:10.1111/j.1467-8497.1983.tb00304.x. Archived from the original on 19 October 2012. Retrieved 2010.
  7. ^ Appointment of Chief Justice, Republic of Nauru Government Gazette, 5 April 2006.
  8. ^ "Tuvalu Judge unable to transit via Fiji". Cook Islands News. Retrieved 2014.
  9. ^ "Many Tributes to Sir Eric". The Advertiser (Adelaide). 92, (28, 513). South Australia. 27 February 1950. p. 3. Retrieved 2018 – via National Library of Australia.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Don Dunstan
Attorney-General of South Australia
Succeeded by
Len King
Parliament of South Australia
Preceded by
Henry Dunks
Member for Mitcham
Succeeded by
Heather Southcott

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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