17 March 2008

Clyde Cameron

Clyde Cameron has died aged 95. He was at one time a shearer, then became a union official, then an MP and subsequently a minister in the Whitlam government.

His obituary in The Australian, written by Mungo McCallum, is worth reading.

I recall seeing him only once, one night many years ago, at a sparsely attended street campaign meeting (perhaps the closest thing to this nowadays would be the well orchestrated walk through a shopping mall). I don't remember him speaking, just that he, a federal politician, took the trouble to campaign for a Labor candidate in a safe Liberal seat.

By today's standards an old style Labor man (there were few women active in the party for much of his career) yet one who apparently made friends across the political divide. Today on TV I saw Alexander Downer and Brendan Nelson speak positively about him in parliament during a discussion (there was no debate) on a condolence motion. Downer's tribute was especially fulsome: it doesn't seem to have been reported online, though the ABC report mentions both the PM and Leader of the Opposition's contributions. It will be published in Hansard in due course.

Update 19 March

I was wrong about street corner political meetings being a thing of the past. Today I received a letter from my federal MP Ms Kate Ellis (who is also Minister for Sport) inviting me to a street meeting in a week or so. I now recall that she's done this before.

Age had a detailed obituary of Cameron.

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