Jim McClelland

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For other people named James McClelland, see James McClelland (disambiguation).
The Honourable
Jim McClelland
Senator for New South Wales
In office
16 March 1971 – 21 July 1978
Preceded by James Ormonde
Succeeded by Kerry Sibraa
Personal details
Born (1915-06-03)3 June 1915
Melbourne, Victoria
Died 16 January 1999(1999-01-16) (aged 83)
Nationality Australian
Political party Australian Labor Party
Spouse(s) 1) Nora Fitzer
2) Freda Watson
3) Gillian Appleton
Alma mater University of Melbourne
University of Sydney
Occupation Solicitor, unionist

James Robert "Diamond Jim" McClelland (3 June 1915 – 16 January 1999) was an Australian solicitor, jurist, Senator, Minister in the Third Whitlam Ministry, Royal Commissioner looking at British nuclear tests in Australia, and the first chief judge of the Land and Environment Court of NSW.

Biography[edit]

Born in Melbourne, McClelland was educated at St Patrick's College, Ballarat and Melbourne University (B.A.) and Sydney University (Law). He served in the Royal Australian Air Force between 1943 and 1946. After that he worked as a solicitor in Sydney for years.

The legal practice of McClelland dealt mainly with union workers compensation claims for the Federated Ironworkers' Association of Australia, where he was associated with Laurie Short. He played a large part (with Bob Santamaria) in helping Short take control of the Union from the openly pro-communist Ernie Thornton. By this time, nevertheless, he had turned against his former Catholic upbringing, and unlike many other Santamaria allies he never joined the DLP.

McClelland was elected to represent New South Wales for the ALP in the 1970 Senate election, his term to begin on 1 July 1971. In March 1971 he was appointed to a casual vacancy for the remainder of the term of the late Senator James Ormonde. He was again elected in the double dissolution election of May 1974. In the Third Whitlam Ministry he was Minister for Manufacturing Industry from 10 February to 6 June 1975. From 6 June to 11 November 1975 he was Minister for Labour and Immigration and Minister assisting the Prime Minister in matters relating to the Public Service. He was again elected at the December 1975 double dissolution election. He resigned from the Senate on 21 July 1978.

In 1980 McClelland was appointed the first chief judge of the Land and Environment Court of NSW, holding that office until his 70th birthday in June 1985.

In 1984, as Justice McClelland, he was President of the Royal Commission into British nuclear tests in Australia at Maralinga.

He was reviled by the right as is indicated in Roderick Meagher's portrait in Quadrant, and associated with Edmund Campion, Patrick White, Manning Clark and Donald Horne.

His lovers included writer Betty Roland, who detailed their affair in her autobiography The Devious Being.[1]

After his death, journalist Paddy McGuinness wrote of him that "While he was always a man of considerable charm and elegance, good looking and highly articulate, most of his history was as an opportunist of the NSW Labor machine who acquired wealth and status through exploiting his union connections," and that "Like his former bosom buddy, John Kerr, McClelland was an expert in the Judas kiss."[2] McClelland's widow, Gillian Appleton, later wrote to the paper to label the statements "a vicious and ill-informed attack".[3]

Family[edit]

McClelland married three times:

  • in 1947 to Nora Fitzer with whom he adopted two children but divorced in 1968
  • in 1968 to Freda Watson who brought three step children. She died in 1976
  • in 1978 to Gillian Appleton.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Roland, Betty The Devious Being, Angus & Robertson, 1990
  2. ^ McGuinness, Paddy, Sydney Morning Herald, 28 November 1999
  3. ^ Appleton, Gillian Paddy hit his targets well, all of them straw men, 29 January, 2008

Bibliography[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Kep Enderby
Minister for Manufacturing Industry
1975
Succeeded by
Lionel Bowen
Preceded by
Clyde Cameron
Minister for Labour and Immigration
1975
Succeeded by
Tony Street