Sir William McKell -- David Clune (Australian Biographical Monographs, No. 12)

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Sir William McKell

David Clune

Australian Biographical Monographs, No. 12

Paperback, 76 pages, $19.95

ISBN 9781922449726

August 2021 Release

It has been some time since there has been a biography of Bill McKell, Labor Premier of New South Wales from 1941-47 and then Governor-General from 1947-1953. The memory has long faded, but his worthwhile achievements, not just for the Labor Party, but for the people of New South Wales deserve our attention. Also deserving of attention is his consensus style of leadership, his respect for the processes of parliament, and his ability to stand up to authoritarians like Jack Lang - another Labor premier of New South Wales who will be covered in this series. Today, Lang is perhaps better remembered, but for his notoriety rather than his achievements. It was McKell who rebuilt the Labor Party after its electoral defeats and fragmentation during the 1930s, brought the party back to its true mission of helping those in need rather than self-serving political crusades, and made Labor worth voting for in 1941 when it returned to office and after.

This new monograph by Dr David Clune OAM is an overdue reminder of the contribution of this great Labor leader. Dr Clune, long-time Manager of the New South Wales Parliament’s Research Service and the Parliament’s Historian, is able to bring fresh insights and a new appreciation of Bill McKell as both a Labor leader, Premier and a decent man who deserves our respect. It supplements David’s other monographs in this series on New South Wales premiers Neville Wran and Jack Lang.

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