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Alan Reid book will be launched on June 8

28 May 2010 1,634 views No Comment

A BIOGRAPHY of Canberra press gallery journalist Alan “The Red Fox” Reid, by The Australian’s resident professor Ross Fitzgerald and co-author Stephen Holt will be launched by the longest serving NSW Labor premier, Bob Carr, on June 8.

The book reveals the story behind the 1963 photographs of Arthur Calwell and his deputy Gough Whitlam that so superbly illustrated the long-held idea that Labor Party policy was set not by the leadership but by the party’s unelected “faceless men”.

For those who do not know the story, in 1963 the Labor Party was wrestling with its policy on a US plan to build a base on Australian soil. The Left was opposed; the Right was more pragmatic.

The policy was thrashed out by 36 Labor delegates at Canberra’s Kingston Hotel and it was Reid who found a photographer to capture Calwell and Whitlam standing in the gloom, under a street light, while the battle for the soul of the party went on inside.

The book reveals who took those photographs and much more besides. Extracts appear in The Weekend Australian tomorrow.