Bob Joshua

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Bob Joshua
MC
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Ballaarat
In office
28 April 1951 – 10 December 1955
Preceded by Alan Pittard
Succeeded by Dudley Erwin
Personal details
Born (1906-06-06)6 June 1906
Prahran, Victoria, Australia
Died 2 June 1970(1970-06-02) (aged 63)
Ballarat, Victoria, Australia
Nationality Australian
Political party Labor (1951–55)
Labor (A-C) (1955)
Spouse(s) Alma Agnes Watson (m. 1929–1970; his death); 6 children
Occupation Motor mechanic, soldier

Robert "Bob" Joshua, MC (6 June 1906 – 2 June 1970) was an Australian politician, and a key figure in the 1955 split in the Australian Labor Party which led to the formation of the Australian Labor Party (Anti-Communist) and, subsequently, the Democratic Labor Party.

Early life[edit]

Robert Joshua was born at Prahran, Victoria, to Edward Cecil Joshua, a Mauritian distiller, and Mary Inglis, née Drummond, who was born in Victoria. He attended Caulfield State School and Wesley College, was briefly a motor mechanic, and became a teller at the Bank of Australasia. He married schoolteacher Alma Agnes Watson at Glen Iris on 27 November 1929.[citation needed]

Military service[edit]

Joshua served in the Civilian Military Forces[clarification needed] from 1924–30 and from 1936–40, rising to the rank of captain. Subsequently, he joined the Australian Imperial Force in 1940 and was posted to the Middle East. He led a successful raid during the defence of Tobruk in Libya, and was awarded the Military Cross. Promoted from major to lieutenant colonel in 1942, he commanded the 2nd/43rd Battalion, which fought around Lae and Finschafen in New Guinea. He was twice wounded in action.[citation needed]

Federal politics[edit]

Upon returning to civilian life, Joshua began to reshape his previously conservative political views. He was influenced by G.D.H. Cole and Raymond Postgate's The Common People, and Lyndhurst Giblin's The Growth of a Central Bank. He became drawn to the Australian Labor Party, and finally joined the party largely because he supported the proposal of the Chifley Government to nationalise the banks. He became president of the Ballarat branch. In 1951, he was elected to the Australian House of Representatives for the seat of Ballaarat. He was known as a fierce anti-communist, and attracted controversy for claiming that the Japanese were "quite unbalanced in their mental outlook" in relation to the 1952 peace bill, although his views later became more moderate.[clarification needed][citation needed]

In 1955, Joshua, together with six other federal parliamentarians, was expelled from the Labor Party. Together, they formed the Australian Labor Party (Anti-Communist). Joshua cited his "distrust" and "sympathy with Communist ideas" of Labor leader H.V. Evatt as reasons for his disenchantment with the ALP. He was one of only two non-Catholic parliamentary members in the new party, the other being Jack Little, who became leader of the party in the Victorian Legislative Council. Joshua described his religious affiliation as "theist", and he denied any connections with B.A. Santamaria. Eventually, he became an Anglican.[citation needed]

Together with all of the other Anti-Communist members, Joshua was defeated at the 1955 election, having declined an offer from Prime Minister Robert Menzies not to run a Liberal candidate in his seat. Following his defeat, he became an accountant and stockbroker at Ballarat and continued to contest Ballarat as a DLP candidate until 1969. Joshua was also the first federal president of the Democratic Labor Party.[citation needed]

Death[edit]

Joshua died of cancer on 2 June 1970 at Ballarat, four days before his 64th birthday, survived by his wife, son and five daughters. He had continued working until a few days before his death, when he notified his doctors: "I'm dying – what are you going to do about it?"[citation needed]

References[edit]

Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Alan Pittard
Member for Ballaarat
1951-1955
Succeeded by
Dudley Erwin