Max Falstein

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Max Falstein
Sydney Falstein.jpg
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Watson
In office
21 September 1940 – 10 December 1949
Preceded by John Jennings
Succeeded by Dan Curtin
Personal details
Born (1914-05-30)30 May 1914
Coffs Harbour, New South Wales
Died 18 May 1967(1967-05-18) (aged 52)
Concord, New South Wales
Nationality Australian
Political party Labor (1940–49)
Independent (1949)
Spouse(s) Ila Brenda Greig
Occupation Barrister

Sydney Max Falstein (30 May 1914 – 18 May 1967) was an Australian politician.

Early life[edit]

Falstein was born on 30 May 1914 at Coffs Harbour to Russian grazier Abram Max Falstein and German-born Rosa, née Goldman. He attended Sydney Boys' High (1926–27)[1] and Sydney Grammar schools, and later studied for a Bachelor of Arts and a law degree at the University of Sydney. On 13 March 1937 he married nurse Ila Brenda Greig at Darlinghurst, and was thus estranged from his Jewish mother. He spent several years in New Zealand before returning to Australia; he was admitted to the New South Wales Bar in 1940.

Federal politics[edit]

Falstein was first involved in politics in New Zealand, where he was an organiser for the New Zealand Labour Party. In Australia, he was elected to the Australian House of Representatives in 1940 for the seat of Watson, representing the Australian Labor Party. In parliament he became associated with Arthur Calwell and others who opposed John Curtin's leadership. After Curtin became Prime Minister, Falstein openly clashed with him over issues concerning the Royal Australian Air Force in 1944.

Falstein had enlisted in the RAAF on 18 July 1942; he was convicted of using insubordinate language to a superior in September of that year and was sentenced to twenty-eight days detention. He qualified as a pilot and completed an operational tour from 1944 to 1945 in the south-west Pacific.

After the war Falstein became involved in business. He was convicted of falsifying documents to understate imported wristwatches' value in 1948 and fined.[2][3] Consequently the ALP did not endorse him for Watson in the 1949 election. He contested the seat unsuccessfully as an independent and was expelled from the Labor Party. His only further political acts were to support Menzies' Communist Party dissolution attempt; a marked anti-communist, he had nevertheless supported the recognition of Communist China.

Later life[edit]

Falstein was declared bankrupt on 12 August 1958; his appeals to the courts failed. He returned to the bar in 1961. In his final years he suffered from hypertension and diabetes, and he died on 18 May 1967 of cerebral thrombosis at Concord. He was survived by his wife, a daughter, and three of his four sons.


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Falstein charged with Customs breaches". Glen Innes Examiner. NSW. 21 July 1948. p. 1. 
  3. ^ "M.P. Fined in Customs Case". The Age. 25 September 1948. p. 3. 
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
John Jennings
Member for Watson
Succeeded by
Dan Curtin