Condolences: Hon Francis Raymond Scully

Legislative Assembly
1 September 2015

Richard Wynne (Minister for Planning) — I rise to condole for Francis Raymond Scully, a predecessor of mine in the seat of Richmond, where he represented the ALP from 1949 to March 1955. Mr Scully recently passed away at the age of 95. He leaves his wife, Moira, his sister, Mary, and his two children, Michael and Kathleen. He was grandfather to Sam, Mat, James, Hannah, Sarah, Tom, Naomi, Andrew and Hamish and great-grandfather to Ethan and Nellie. Four brothers, Jack, Vincent, Desmond and Jim, have all predeceased him.

As we have heard, Scully was a railway worker and active in the Australian Railways Union Industrial Group. He was elected to this place in December 1949 and served in the turbulent times of coalition governments. Francis Scully rose to be cabinet secretary — indeed a position I have held — and then Assistant Minister of Lands and Assistant Minister of Electrical Undertakings in the third government of John Cain from 1952 to 1955. He was a member of the Catholic Social Studies Movement, otherwise known as ‘the Movement’, in Victoria. As a consequence of the dramatic Australian Labor Party split of 1955 he was expelled from the ministry and subsequently the ALP.

He was then a member of the Australian Labor Party (Anti-Communist) and subsequently the Democratic Labor Party, remaining in the Legislative Assembly until 1958. Scully was the only member of the DLP in the lower house of the Victorian Parliament during those three years. As the Premier has observed, the Labor Party split deeply divided inner city communities, in particular in Richmond but right across inner Melbourne, and families as well. I come from a large Catholic family, and my older sisters attest to the often heated political arguments between my father and his brother — my father a wharf labourer and his brother a meatworker, a political divide that endures today between myself and my cousin.

For members who want to refresh their memory of those turbulent events, I recommend Paul Strangio’s excellent history, Neither Power nor Glory — 100 Years of Political Labor in Victoria, 1856–1956. A former member for Oakleigh and distinguished member of this house Race Mathews has recently also written a very detailed thesis on the history of the split, which I would argue will be a definitive source for many years to come.

As has been recorded, Scully was defeated at the 1958 election when the seat of Richmond was won back for Labor by Bill Towers, who held it until 1962. Subsequently Clyde Holding was elected to start his 15-year spell in Parliament, and we chronicled Clyde’s parliamentary life not so long ago. After his defeat Frank Scully went on to manage a number of newsagencies in country Victoria and Sandringham. He enjoyed a long and fruitful life after Parliament. I wish his family well. Despite the differences that arose 60 years ago, everyone on this side of the house acknowledges Frank Scully’s contribution over nine years to this Parliament and to the electors of Richmond.