Transforming Australia Through Immigration
Australian Biographical Monographs 20
Gerry O Nolan
Paperback, 100 pages, $19.95
It has been nearly fifty years since a biography of Arthur Calwell,
Labor federal member from 1940 to 1972, Minister for Immigration and later
leader of the Opposition. His massive immigration program in the
immediate postwar period began the transformation of Australia into a
multicultural nation. Calwell served under the best (Chifley) and
possibly the most difficult (Evatt) of the Labor leaders, and remained
loyal to the Labor cause when it split in the mid 1950s when its future
looked bleak. Yet, after becoming leader in 1960 he almost defeated
then Prime Minister Menzies at the 1961 election and did much to
restore Labor’s faith in itself as well as to renew policy for the
nation. However, two subsequent election defeats in 1963 and 1966 meant
Calwell had to make way for the younger Gough Whitlam in 1967. He
retired at the 1972 election which saw Labor finally back in office.
So, this is a story of conviction, belief and persistence through the
long period of 23 years in the political wilderness.
This new monograph, researched by Professor James Franklin with
Gerry O Nolan not only refreshes our memory about Arthur Calwell, the
long-serving politician, but also Calwell the man, including his
Catholic religious beliefs which figured far more prominently in public
life and personal considerations than for most politicians today.
James Franklin’s previous books include Corrupting the Youth: A
History of Philosophy in Australia, The Real Archbishop Mannix (with
Gerry O Nolan) and Catholic Thought and Catholic Action. He is Honorary
Professor at the University of New South Wales, Sydney and editor of
the Journal of the Australian Catholic Historical Society.