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Tom Uren AO

1921 – 2015

Tom Uren AO (1921–2015) was a major figure in Australian post-war Labor politics, a campaigner on environmental and urban-planning issues and for veterans. Born in Balmain he joined the army in 1939 and was a prisoner of war of the Japanese for three and a half years (1942-5). After his return he became active in the ALP. First elected to the House of Representatives in 1958, he was Minister for Urban and Regional Development in the Whitlam government and Deputy Leader of the Opposition in 1976-77. In the Hawke ministry he was Minister for Territories and subsequently Minister for Local Government and Administrative Services until his retiement to the backbench in 1987. He retired from politics in 1990. His autobiography 'Straight Left' was published in 1994. Ralph Heimans has said that the portrait 'Gloves off' refers not only to Uren's early ambitions as a boxer, but 'to his fighting spirit in the political arena for issues of social justice that have preoccupied him'.

Updated 2018