Skip to main content

Herbert Vere Evatt

1894 – 1965

Herbert Vere Evatt (1894–1965) was a Labor politician, judge, historian and statesman. In 1930, aged 36, Evatt became the youngest judge ever appointed to the High Court of Australia. Elected to Federal Parliament in 1940, he held the seat of Barton for 18 years. From 1941 to 1949 he was Attorney-General and Minister for External Affairs, and during this period he also served as President of the General Assembly of the United Nations. In 1951, he became Leader of the Opposition. In 1949, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation had been established, and soon thousands of supposed communists were threatened with jail in the event of a war. When Prime Minister Menzies attempted to outlaw the Communist Party in Australia, Evatt led the effort to defeat the proposal. A referendum saw the Party’s legitimacy confirmed. Evatt led the Labor Party until 1960.

Updated 2018