Clive Evatt

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Clive Evatt
Member of the New South Wales Parliament
for Hurstville
In office
18 March 1939 – 16 February 1959
Preceded by James Webb
Succeeded by Bill Rigby
Personal details
Born Clive Raleigh Evatt
(1900-06-06)6 June 1900
East Maitland, New South Wales
Died 15 September 1984(1984-09-15) (aged 84)
Darlinghurst, New South Wales
Nationality Australian
Political party Australian Labor Party
Other political
Industrial Labor Party; Independent
Spouse(s) Marjorie Andreas
Relations H. V. Evatt (brother)
Children Elizabeth Evatt; Penelope Seidler; Clive Evatt, jnr
Alma mater Royal Military College, Duntroon; University of Sydney
Occupation Politician
Profession Barrister
Religion Church of England
Military service
Allegiance Australia
Service/branch Army
Years of service 1918(?)-22
Rank Lieutenant

Clive Raleigh Evatt QC (6 June 1900 – 15 September 1984) was an Australian politician, barrister and raconteur. He was a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly from 1939 until 1959. At various times he sat as a member of the Industrial Labor Party, ALP and as an independent.

Early life[edit]

Evatt was born in East Maitland, the son of an immigrant publican who died when Evatt was one year old. One of eight brothers, including H. V. Evatt, they were educated at Fort Street Boys' High School.[1]

Evatt's family prevented him from enlisting in the First AIF, but allowed him to enrol in the Royal Military College, Duntroon from which he graduated as a lieutenant in 1921. He resigned from the army during the next year to study law at the University of Sydney. While at university, he played Rugby League for University and New South Wales. Evatt graduated and was admitted to the New South Wales Bar in 1926.[2]

He married Marjorie Andreas, the daughter of Harry Andreas of Leuralla, in 1928 and they had three children: Elizabeth Evatt AC; Penelope Seidler AM and defamation barrister Clive Evatt Jnr. His career as a barrister advanced rapidly and he was appointed a King's Counsel in 1935. He specialized in Workers' Compensation Cases but also appeared in criminal cases, most notably in the Shark Arm case.[1][2]

Political career[edit]

In March 1939 he successfully contested the by-election caused by the death of James Webb, the member for Hurstville in the Legislative Assembly. Evatt had been endorsed by the Industrial Labor Party of Bob Heffron and defeated a candidate of the Australian Labor Party (NSW) supported by Jack Lang. This and a subsequent defeat at a by-election in Waverley signalled the end of Lang's term as Leader of the Australian Labor Party in New South Wales. The Industrial Labor Party was dissolved and Evatt was admitted to the Labor Party caucus when Lang was replaced as Labor leader by William McKell who subsequently led the ALP to victory at the 1941 election.[2]

Evatt served in the governments of William McKell, James McGirr and Joseph Cahill as Minister for Education (1941–1944), Minister for Tourism (1946–1947), Minister for Housing (1947–1950 and 1952–1954) and Colonial Secretary (1950–1952).[1]

Tensions within the New South Wales branch of the Australian Labor Party leading up to the 1950s party split led to Cahill forcing Evatt from the cabinet. Evatt was expelled from the Labor Party on 13 July 1956 after he voted in parliament against a caucus decision to increase tram fares.[3][2] He fought the subsequent election as an independent Labor candidate but he was defeated by the endorsed ALP candidate Bill Rigby.[1][2]

Life after politics[edit]

After leaving politics he continued to work as a barrister with a large Worker's Compensation and defamation practice.

Evatt died at Darlinghurst on 15 September 1984, survived by his three children.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Mr Clive Evatt (1900 - 1984)". Former members of the New South Wales Parliament, 1856-2006. New South Wales Parliament. Retrieved 2009-01-12. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Cunnen, Chris; McLaughlin. John. "Mr Clive Evatt (1900 - 1984)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Australian National University. Retrieved 2009-01-12. 
  3. ^ "Australian Political Chronicle, July-December 1956". Australian Journal of Politics and History. 2 (2): 231. 1957. 
Parliament of New South Wales
Preceded by
James Webb
Member for Hurstville
1939 – 1959
Succeeded by
Bill Rigby