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Herbert Vere Evatt

(1894—1965) politician and judge


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(b. 30 Apr. 1894, d. 2 Nov. 1965).

Australian Labor leader 1951–60 Born in East Maitland (New South Wales), Evatt taught at the University of Sydney before developing a law practice that specialized in civil liberties. He resigned a safe Labor seat (which he held since 1925) to become the (then) youngest justice of the Australian High Court (1930–40). He returned to politics in 1940 following his election to the House of Representatives. He became the second most senior minister in the Curtin and Chifley Cabinets as Attorney‐General and Minister for External Affairs (1941–9). Concerned to strengthen Australia's links with its regional neighbours, he negotiated the ANZAC pact. He also became involved in the setting up of the UN, presiding over its General Assembly during 1948–9. A man with tremendous intellectual qualities but without much political judgement, he took over from Chifley as leader of the Labor Party, but did not have the charisma or the authority to prevent the party's third split since World War I over the Petrov Affair. He retired from politics in 1960 and served for two years as Chief Justice of New South Wales.

 Democratic Labor Party

Subjects: History.


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