John Curtin

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Regarded by many as one of Australia's greatest Prime Ministers, John Curtin assumed office just six weeks before the bombing of Pearl Harbor and led Australia through the darkest hours of World War II. No prime minister has had a more profound effect on Australia and no man has given more in the service of his office. Curtin was born in the Victorian mining town of Creswick on January 8, 1885. His parents were Irish immigrants. His father worked first as a policeman, then as a publican, and the family moved frequently from town to town. His much interrupted education ended when he left school at 14 and began to supplement the family income–as a printer's apprentice, a labourer, a clerk, and a newspaper copyboy which as you can see lead him to champion rights of lower society.

Curtin's interest in social issues and the plight of the working class led him to become actively involved in the labour movement and he joined the Victorian Socialist Party in 1906. He soon became known as an eloquent and inspiring speaker and this ability enabled him to unite the people of Australia in a way unprecedented then and unsurpassed since. John Curtin was just beginning his working life as Australia became a Federated nation. Despite moving away from his Irish Catholic background, he was evidently influenced by it and by the poverty of his upbringing to realise that Australia was not an equal society, and that the major task of a national government was to govern for the good of all the people. In 1917 he moved to Perth as editor of the "Westralian Worker". While living in Western Australia, he developed a realisation that Federation disadvantaged some states. He believed that some of these weaknesses occurred because the Constitution had not been followed closely enough. He never lost his faith in the spirit and intention of Federation .He first entered politics in 1928 as the Member for Fremantle in the House of Representatives, but his term was cut short when Labor was...
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