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Clyde Cameron

1913 – 2008

Clyde Cameron (1913-2008), Labor politician and historian, worked as a shearer and union organizer before serving as a Member for Hindmarsh between 1949 and 1980. He was to spend 28 of these 31 years on the Opposition benches. In 1969, after twenty years in the House of Representatives, he allied himself with the ascending Gough Whitlam. Having been acknowledged by Whitlam as an ‘architect of victory’ when Labor came to power in 1972, he was appointed Minister for Labour in 1972, and Labour and Immigration in 1974. By 1975, however, Whitlam had lost confidence in him and Cameron’s commission was withdrawn by the Governor General, Sir John Kerr. Though he accepted the Science and Consumer Affairs portfolio, he never forgave Whitlam, and he was a vitriolic enemy. The disintegration of the relationship between the prime minister and his former prop was another in a series of scandals for the government, which fell five months later. Cameron retained his seat for another five years, retiring before the 1980 election. In the 1980s and 1990s Cameron recorded a series of ‘reminiscential conversations’ with people whom he had met through politics (including Liberal figures such as Malcolm Fraser, Paul Hasluck, Nancy Buttfield and Garfield Barwick), the transcripts of which run to some 15,500 pages.

Updated 2018