Friday, 14 March 2008

SA Great

ABC News reported on the death of Clyde Cameron, no doubt one of SA's great politicians.
Though variously described as one of the "great haters" he was also one of the great wits of the Parliament no doubt stories will be told in the next few days.
This "great hate" stemmed from the harsh background of the pre and post war periods which exposed whole areas of Australian life where the lowly poor were simple never going to get on. Cameron saw himself as their champion.
The ABC eulogy went as follows

"From the shearing shed, to the union office, to Gough Whitlam's front bench, Clyde Cameron's career as an ALP hard man was cemented early on.

Born in Murray Bridge, South Australia, in 1913, the one-time shearer ascended through the ranks of the Australian Workers' Union before being elected to the federal seat of Hindmarsh in 1949.

He sat on the opposition benches from 1953 to 1972, before becoming the minister for labour, immigration and consumer affairs in the Whitlam government.

Former prime minister Bob Hawke once described Clyde Cameron as a "great hater".

But it was his passionate views that put some offside, and in 1975 Gough Whitlam sacked him from the frontbench.

Clyde Cameron stayed on as Science Minister before retiring in 1980.

He spent his remaining years as an author and political historian.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has paid tribute to Mr Cameron.

"It was with sadness this morning that I learned of the passing of former federal member for Hindmarsh, Whitlam government minister and leading light of the Australian labour movement, Clyde Cameron," he said.

"From his early days in South Australia as a shearer, union organiser and industrial advocate, and throughout his parliamentary career, Clyde Cameron was dedicated to defending the interests of working people.

"As a cabinet minister in the Whitlam government, Clyde's appointment of now High Court Justice, Mary Gaudron, to prosecute the case for equal pay for female workers in the Arbitration Commission made history.

"Clyde was a leading advocate for pension increases, the provision of child care to support working women, and greatly improved the pay and conditions of public sector workers during his term as minister for labour and immigration.

"Although his career was not without controversy, Clyde Cameron's passion and commitment for working men and women remained paramount.

"This was illustrated by his 31 years loyal service to the families of Hindmarsh.

"Clyde Cameron retained throughout his life a great sense of pride and history.

"He will be sorely missed, particularly by those for whom he always stood so strongly."

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