Bob Joshua

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Bob Joshua
Bob Joshua.png
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Ballaarat
In office
28 April 1951 – 10 December 1955
Preceded byAlan Pittard
Succeeded byDudley Erwin
Personal details
Born(1906-06-06)6 June 1906
Prahran, Victoria, Australia
Died2 June 1970(1970-06-02) (aged 63)
Ballarat, Victoria, Australia
Political partyLabor (1951–55)
Labor (A-C) (1955)
Spouse(s)Alma Agnes Watson (m. 1929); 6 children
OccupationMotor mechanic, soldier
Military service
Branch/serviceCitizens Military Force
Second Australian Imperial Force
Years of service1924–1930
RankLieutenant Colonel
Commands2/43rd Battalion (1943–44)
Battles/warsSecond World War
AwardsMilitary Cross

Robert 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.[1]

Military service[edit]

Joshua served in the Citizens Military Force 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 2/43rd Battalion, which fought around Lae and Finschafen in New Guinea. He was twice wounded in action.[1]

Federal politics[edit]

Upon returning to civilian life, Joshua began to reshape his previously conservative political views. He became drawn to the Australian Labor Party, and 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.[1]

In 1955, Joshua, together with six other federal parliamentarians, was expelled from the Labor Party. Together, they formed the Australian Labor Party (Anti-Communist), later the Democratic Labor Party. Joshua cited his "distrust" and "sympathy with Communist ideas" of Labor leader H.V. Evatt as reasons for his disenchantment with the ALP. Joshua became the leader of the new party in the federal parliament.[2] He would also become the first federal president of the DLP.[1]

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's religious affiliation had been described at school as being "theist", although his background and views were described as "resist[ing] easy classification"; he eventually became an Anglican. He denied any connection with B.A. Santamaria.[1]

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 Ballaarat as a DLP candidate until 1969.[1]


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?" [1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Browne, Geoff (1996). "Joshua, Robert (1906–1970)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Melbourne University Press. ISSN 1833-7538. Retrieved 3 October 2016 – via National Centre of Biography, Australian National University.
  2. ^ "Australian Political Chronicle, January–June 1955". Australian Journal of Politics and History. 1 (1): 100. 1955.
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by Member for Ballaarat
Succeeded by