Vale Tom Uren

Vale Tom Uren (28 May 1921 – 26 January 2015)

I was very lucky as a young man to have worked closely with Tom Uren. Tom taught me many things.

His biggest lesson was you needed to work with people of all political persuasions. I remember walking down Macquarie St, Sydney with him in the mid 1990s. John Howard was walking towards us and I went to move away. Tom grabbed my elbow and proceeded to have a very cordial conversation with the then backbencher who later, “lazarus with a triple bypass”, rose to become leader of the Opposition and then Prime Minister. Tom made a point of telling me of Howard's abilities and that he was not to be trifled with. Howard had supported Tom’s efforts to increase benefits for veterans and prisoners of war. Howard went on to defeat the man that Tom described as “a magnificent political animal”, Paul Keating. Tom had this ability to sense things.

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