Richard was born in Liverpool and he lived at Canley Heights until 1965, where he attended the Canley Heights Primary School and the Westfields High School. That year, the family moved to Narwee where Richard attended the Narwee Boys High School for a short time before starting work with Flemings Food Stores as a Junior Shop Assistant.
In 1966, he changed jobs to work at Franklins Food store at Revesby. He stayed with Franklins until he joined the NSW Police Force in 1970. Apart from a period in the Police Prosecution Branch, Richard did all his 13 years service in uniform on General Duties. It was whilst stationed at Regent Street, that Richard came into contact with the politics of the day, being on duty during the anti-Vietnam war demonstrations and the protest about the tour of the South African Springboks Rugby Union team.
Richard joined the Labor Party in 1976, just prior to the election of the Wran Government. In 1978 he became the Secretary/Treasurer of the Rooty Hill Branch, a position he held up until his election to Parliament at a by-election in 1983. During the 1980s, Richard became involved in the campaign to get Senior High Schools established in Western Sydney as a means of addressing the low retention rate of students going on to Year 12 and the poor subject choices students had in Mount Druitt, compared to schools in other areas.
Following his re-election in 1984 and 1988, he was elected to the Labor Opposition’s front bench as the Shadow Minister for Natural Resources, later holding the shadow portfolios of Water Resources, Senior Citizens, Co-operative Societies and Consumer Affairs. Whilst in Opposition, Richard successfully campaigned on issues such as Farm Debt Mediation and Conveyancing reform. Following a redistribution, Richard moved from the seat of Riverstone to Mount Druitt from 1991.
Following the election of the Carr Government in 1995, Richard became the Minister for Agriculture and oversighted a massive decentralisation of the Department to Rural areas and re-wrote the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals legislation. Other portfolios followed, including Land and Water Conservation and finally Corrective Services, where Richard appointed the first ever Corrective Services Officer to become the Commissioner (Ron Woodham). After the 2003 election, Richard returned to the back bench.
Richard married his wife, Marie, in 1974. They have two adult children, Deborah and Roy and four grandchildren.
Member for Mount Druitt
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