Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Vale Frank Crean

Frank Crean died today aged 92. He was a common-sense Treasurer in a ministry of big-spending, charismatic adventurers. He was a loyal, honest Deputy Prime Minister in the dying days of Gough Whitlam’s government. He was a humble man who put party before personal ambition at a time when immense egos dominated the political arena.

Frank was the Federal member for Melbourne Ports when I joined the Prahran branch of the Australian Labor Party in 1972. The electorate stretched from Port Melbourne south to St.Kilda, east to parts of South Yarra, and south to Windsor. It was still predominantly a working class area. The local ALP campaign committee were mostly trade unionists, especially waterside workers, with a sprinkling of university educated Whitlamites.

Mary and Frank Crean and their family lived in middle class Middle Park, befitting the accountant Frank had been before entering parliament. Their home was open house on election nights just as Frank’s office door was always open. His quiet manner and sense of humour are still reflected in the unassuming smile of his son Simon, the Trade Minister.

Born in the midst of the Great War, he grew up in the depression and Second World War. Frank Crean was an old-fashioned Labor man who will be remembered affectionately by those who were lucky enough to know him.

Vale Frank Crean.

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