Clyde Cameron

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Person.png Clyde Cameron  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(union leader, politician)
Born11 February 1913
Murray Bridge, South Australia
Died14 March 2008 (Age 95)
Tennyson, South Australia, Australia
SiblingsDon Cameron
PartyAustralian Labor Party
RelativesTerry Cameron
Australia Labor minister during the 1975 coup d'etat. "We knew MI6 was bugging Cabinet meetings for the Americans."

Employment.png Member of the Australian Parliament for Hindmarsh

In office
10 December 1949 - 19 September 1980

Clyde Robert Cameron was an Australian politician. He was a member of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and served in the House of Representatives from 1949 to 1980. He was a leading figure in the Australian labour movement and held ministerial office in the Whitlam government as Minister for Labour (1972–1974), Labor and Immigration (1974–1975), and Science and Consumer Affairs (1975).

Early Career

Cameron was the most powerful figure in the South Australian labour movement in the years immediately after World War II. At the 1949 election, he was elected to the House of Representatives for the safe Labor seat of Hindmarsh and left his brother Don (later a senator) in charge of the South Australian Australian Workers' Union. He rapidly made his mark as one of the most aggressive and uncompromising Labor members ever to enter the Australian Parliament. Cameron regarded the conservatives with a deep and personal hatred and made no secret of it.

During the Labor Split of the 1950s, Cameron became a leading supporter of federal Labor Leader Dr H.V. Evatt and an opponent of the right-wing Catholic faction.

Cabinet Minister

At the December 1972 election Labor came to office under Gough Whitlam, and Cameron became Minister for Labour at the age of 59. He created a sensation by dismissing the permanent head of his department, Sir Halford Cook and bringing in an outsider; he was always deeply suspicious of senior public servants.

By 1975 the Whitlam government was in crisis and Whitlam reshuffled the cabinet by bringing in Bill Hayden as Treasurer and Jim McClelland as Minister for Labour and Immigration. Cameron refused to resign as Labour and Immigration Minister, and Whitlam was forced to ask the Governor-General, Sir John Kerr, to withdraw his commission. He was eventually persuaded to accept the position of Minister for Science and Consumer Affairs.

In 1975, Whitlam discovered that the UK deep state had long been operating MI6 against his government. He said later: "The Brits were actually decoding secret messages coming into my foreign affairs office." Clyde Cameron, told John Pilger "We knew MI6 was bugging Cabinet meetings for the Americans."[1]

After the 1975 coup d'etat, he withdrew to the backbench, where he remained for the next five years until he retired from Parliament, after the 1980 election.

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