Todays Birthday 26/4

Callum Godde
Today's Birthday, April 26: Former Australian politician John Cain (1931 - )

Today's Birthday, April 26: Former Australian politician John Cain (1931 - ).

Former Victorian premier John Cain is never far from the spotlight, even in his twilight years.

The 87-year-old-retired politician - who championed the construction of Rod Laver Arena to safeguard the Australian Open - rejected calls in 2017 to strip Margaret Court's name from Melbourne Park's third-biggest stadium.

Cain told Fairfax Media the stadium's name should stand as a monument to Court's legendary tennis career, not her political views following her controversial, religiously-driven stance on marriage equality.

Born in Melbourne in 1931, Cain learned as a youngster the toughness required to be a leader, with his father John (Jack) Cain twice booted out as Victorian premier.

After spending time at Geelong Grammar and Scotch College, John Jr completed a law degree at the University of Melbourne.

With politics running through his blood, Cain came to prominence as a leading member of the Participants, which attempted to break the power of the Socialist Left among Victorian Labor ranks.

In 1976, the factional-less Cain entered the Victorian parliament as member for Bundoora, having lost an earlier preselection battle to Frank Wilkes.

Four years later he replaced Wilkes as Labor leader and in 1982 defeated the Liberals under Lindsay Thompson, snapping 27 years of conservative rule and becoming the state's first Labor premier since his father.

Cain proved a pragmatic 41st Victorian premier, setting in motion one of the most extensive reform programs of political and economic change in post-war Australia.

His government's reforms - on everything from urban planning to liquor and freedom of information laws - dramatically altered the social fabric of the state.

But continual factional fighting, union unrest and financial disasters - most notably involving the Tricontinental and Pyramid group of building societies - partly destroyed Cain government's legacy.

It wore Cain down and he resigned as premier in August 1990.

His successor, Joan Kirner, led Labor to a massive defeat at the 1992 state election in which he did not seek re-election.

In retirement, Cain wrote three books while a University of Melbourne politics fellow and he served as the Victorian State Library chair and on the MCG Trust.

He is married to Nancye Williams and the pair have three children.