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Fri, 27 Sept


Strangers Dining Room, Parliament House

40th Anniversary of the Evatt Foundation

Please join us to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Evatt Foundation and to honour Bruce Childs on the occasion of his retirement from our executive after more than 20 years' service.

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40th Anniversary of the Evatt Foundation
40th Anniversary of the Evatt Foundation

Time & Location

27 Sept 2019, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Strangers Dining Room, Parliament House, 6 Macquarie St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia

About the Event

  • Sally McManus, Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions
  • Hon. Tanya Plibersek, MP, Member for Sydney and Shadow Minister for Education and Training
Our history

The Evatt Foundation was established as a memorial to Dr Herbert Vere Evatt with the aim of upholding the highest ideals of the labour movement: equality, democracy, social justice and human rights. The Foundation was launched in the Great Hall of the University of Sydney on 27 September 1979. Before a large audience of supporters. inspirational speeches were made by Sir Richard Kirby, the inaugural President of the Evatt Foundation, Sir Zelman Cohen, Governor-General of Australia, Neville Wran, QC MP, Premier of New South Wales, Bill Hayden, MP, Leader of the Federal Labor Party, Hal Missingham, former Director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Bob Hawke, President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, and Faith Bandler, leader of the successful campaign to remove discriminatory provisions of the Constitution in the 1967 referendum on Aboriginal Australians. The vote of thanks was moved by Gough Whitlam, AC QC, former Prime Minister of Australia. Join us to remember, celebate and critically reflect on 40 years of helping to promote the highest ideals of the labour movement through research, publications and public discussion and debate.

Honouring Bruce Childs

Bruce Childs was a Senator in the Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia from 1981 until 1997, and he has been an executive member of the Evatt Foundation ever since — for over 20 years, including eight years as President, from 1998 to 2006. As a printing craftsman for the Fairfax press, Bruce led his first strike in 1953, at the age of 19. He began his life in public office when he was elected as a delegate for the Amalgamated Printing Trades Employees' Union to the Labor Council of New South Wales in 1954. Three years later, he was elected as a full-time organiser for the union, after which he became the state secretary and then an executive member of the Labor Council. Finding his political home within the Labor Party's socialist currents, Bruce was elected as an Assistant General Secretary in the NSW Branch in 1971. An event of some historic moment, this election gave the party's left its first salaried executive position in the head office of the branch representing Australia's largest state. Bruce has been a delegate to the Australian Labor Party NSW Annual Conference since 1954.

After serving ten years in Labor's NSW head office, Bruce was elected to the Senate, taking his seat in July 1981. He was re-elected in 1983, 1984, 1987, 1990, and 1996. Renowned as a unifier, throughout the period of the Hawke and Keating Labor governments, Bruce was a national co-convenor of the left-wing of Labor's federal parliamentary party. During the 1980s, he was also the convenor of the committee that organised the famous Palm Sunday Nuclear Disarmament Marches, bringing up to 200,000 citizens onto the streets of Sydney. 'He is one of the most outstanding collectivists I have known,' wrote Tom Uren in his memoir, Straight Left. 'He does not push his own barrow, he always puts the interests of the Left and the working class first.' 'I have never identified with being a politician', Bruce said in his last speech in the Senate, 'but I do really identify with being a parliamentarian.' He was recognised by senators from all sides of politics for his courteous, patient and unpretentious manner, as much as he was for the strength of his beliefs.

Bruce resigned from the Senate in September 1997 and continued his activism as an executive member and chair of the Evatt Foundation. As Evatt President, Bruce advocated an equal emphasis on promoting civil and industrial liberties, and peace. An indefatigable activist possessed of legendary patience, he was a co-convenor of Sydney's 2002 Palm Sunday March, the November 2002 Walk Against the War, and the historic February 2003 Peace March by an estimated 500,000 citizens against the war in Iraq — Sydney's contribution to what many researchers consider the largest protest event in human history. Although he retired as President of the Evatt Foundation in November 2006, Bruce has remained as active as ever in continuing his commitment as an executive member. Often, he and wife Yola Lucire's home in Edgecliff has been another home for the Evatt Foundation, hosting countless evenings of entertainment and enlightenment. He was made a Life Member of the Evatt Foundation at the Annual General Meeting of 29 November 2016. The prospective retirement of Bruce Childs from the executive at the 2019 AGM will represent the end of an era in the history of the Evatt Foundation.

Food and drink and live entertainment.

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