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Brian Harradine, Long-Serving Independent Senator Expelled By ALP, Dies, 79

Brian Harradine, an influential independent senator from Tasmania, who was expelled by the ALP in 1975 following a long and bitter dispute in the aftermath of the 1950s Labor Split, has died at the age of 79.

Harradine was elected as an independent senator from Tasmania at the 1975 double dissolution election following the dismissal of the Whitlam Government. He was re-elected five times (1980, 1983, 1987, 1993 and 1999) and served for 30 years. He chose not to contest the 2004 election and left the Senate on June 30, 2005.

At various times, Harradine’s vote was a crucial balance of power factor in the Senate, especially between 1996 and 1999 when he was instrumental in supporting the Wik legislation and voting to privatise Telstra. He voted against the Howard government’s GST legislation in 1999.

A socially conservative Catholic, Harradine was an organiser with the Federated Clerks Union in the 1950s. He was Secretary of the Tasmanian Trades and Labour Council and a member of the Australian Council of Trade Unions executive from 1964 until 1976. He founded the Tasmanian division of the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association in 1967. [Read more…]

1975 Cabinet Papers Released

The National Archives of Australia has tonight released Cabinet documents from 1975.

The documents cover the period of the Second Whitlam Government until its dismissal on November 11, 1975, and the First and Second Fraser Governments from November 11 and December 22. [Read more…]

Julia Gillard: The Role Of Government – A Labor View

This is the text of a speech given by Julia Gillard, the ALP’s Shadow Minister for Health.

Gillard, the member for Lalor since 1998, was giving the Annual Jim Cairns Memorial Lecture, named in honour of her predecessor, at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.

Text of Julia Gillard’s Jim Cairns Memorial Lecture.

The Role of Government – A Labor View for 2005


It is my great pleasure to be here to honour with you the memory of Jim Ford Cairns, Member for Yarra and one of my predecessors as Member for Lalor.

Jim Cairns had the courage to dream of a better world. He believed in what he called “long term valuative change”. From the perspective of 2005, when so much that should be at the moral core of Australia’s public life has been corroded, his view that those in public life should inspire us to be better people and aspire to make this nation a better place, seems almost quaint. [Read more…]