This issue is given over largely to three illuminating personal reminiscences of Australian labour movement politics between 1945 and 1975.
Caroline Moore’s interview with Italo-Australian left-activist, Charles d’ Aprano, captures nicely the mix of optimism and challenge which surrounded left-activism by migrant workers during the Cold War. The interview highlights the contribution made by migrant-activists like d’ Aprano to the cause of international peace and to the campaigns against the Menzies government and the right-wing Industrial Groups in the labour movement. Charles d’Aprano’s story reminds us of the strength of the anti-fascist and anti-clerical traditions in the Italian-Australian community and serves as a timely reminder of the courage and achievements of those who dared to oppose the drift to the Right in Australian politics and society during the 1950s.
Our two other reminiscences deal, albeit from very different perspectives, with the conflict and emotion surrounding the events of . Remembrance Day, 1975. In the first of two personal recollections of the events associated with the dismissal of the Whittam government on 11 November, 1975, Joe Riordan offers a cabinet minister’s perspective on those tumultuous events. In the second reminiscence, Suzanne Jamieson draws on her own diarised impressions and sentiments to recreate the same events from the world-view of a Young Labor activist. Both contributions derive from a conference organised by the Sydney Branch last year to mark the twentieth anniversary of ‘The Dismissal’.
This edition also carries a brief biographical note on an unsung heroine of the emergent NSW labour movement, Eva Mary Seery, and a moving tribute by Branch life member, Issy Wyner, to his longtime friend and fellow labour activist, Nick Origlass, who died earlier this year.