Allan Clyde Holding (27 April 1931 – 31 July 2011) Australian politician, was Leader of the Opposition in Victoria for ten years, and was later a federal minister.
|Member of the Victorian Parliament|
May 1962 – November 1977
|Preceded by||Bill Towers|
|Succeeded by||Theo Sidiropoulos|
|Member of the Australian Parliament|
for Melbourne Ports
10 December 1977 – 31 August 1998
|Preceded by||Frank Crean|
|Succeeded by||Michael Danby|
|Born||27 April 1931|
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
|Died||31 July 2011 80) (aged|
Castlemaine, Victoria, Australia
|Political party||Labor Party|
|Spouse(s)||Margaret Sheer (divorced)|
|Alma mater||University of Melbourne|
Early life and education
Holding joined the Labor Party as a student, and during the Labor Party split of 1954–55, during which he supported the party's federal leader, Dr H.V. Evatt, he was Secretary of the Young Labor organisation in Victoria. As a young lawyer he was a prominent campaigner against the death penalty and in favour of the rights of indigenous Australians. His law firm, Holding, Ryan and Redlich, became one of the leading industrial law firms in Melbourne.
In 1962 Holding was elected to the Victorian Legislative Assembly for the seat of Richmond, which had previously been held for many years by mostly conservative Catholic Labor Party members, although his immediate predecessor, Frank Crean, was a Presbyterian. Clive Stoneham, who had been ALP leader from 1958 onwards, was no match for the dominant Liberal Premier, Sir Henry Bolte. After Labor suffered its fifth consecutive defeat at the 1967 election, Holding took over from Stoneham as party leader.
Although Holding was in some ways a social radical, he was opposed to the left-wing faction which had taken control of the Victorian Labor Party following the 1955 split, which had seen many right-wing members expelled. In particular, he supported government aid for non-government, including Catholic, schools, which the left bitterly opposed. He was a supporter of the reforming federal Labor leader, Gough Whitlam, who was determined to reform the Victorian branch as a precondition of winning a federal election. He was also a close ally of the ACTU president, Bob Hawke.
During the 1970 state election campaign, which some commentators suggested Labor could win as a result of voter fatigue with the Liberal government after its 15 years in power, Holding campaigned on the new federal policy of supporting state aid to non-government schools. The week before the election, the left-wing state president, George Crawford and state secretary, Bill Hartley, issued a statement saying that a Victorian Labor government would not support state aid. As a result, Whitlam refused to campaign for Labor in Victoria, and Holding was forced to repudiate his own policy. Ultimately, the Bolte government was re–elected, but Holding did manage a six-seat swing.
This episode led directly to federal intervention in the Victorian branch of the Labor Party. In 1971 the left-wing leadership was overturned by the Labor National Executive and allies of Whitlam, Hawke and Holding took control. The left then formed an organised faction, the Socialist Left, to agitate for socialist policies, supported by some unions.
Bolte retired in 1972 and was replaced by Dick Hamer, a considerably more progressive Liberal from Melbourne. Hamer represented such a sharp change from his staunchly conservative predecessor that he was able to brand himself as a reformist leader even though the Liberals had been in office for 17 years. Holding was unable to get the better of Hamer, and was roundly defeated at the 1973 and 1976 state elections. The surge in support for federal Labor, which saw Whitlam elected Prime Minister in 1972, was not reflected in Victorian state politics.
Holding resigned as Opposition Leader after the 1976 election to transfer to federal politics. In 1977 he was elected to the House of Representatives for the comfortably safe seat of Melbourne Ports, which then included Holding's base in Richmond. He defeated Simon Crean, son of Holding's predecessor, Frank Crean, to win Labor pre-selection. After the 1980 election, at which Hawke was elected to federal Parliament, Holding emerged as Hawke's key "numbers man" in his campaign to become leader of the federal Labor Party.
When Hawke was elected Prime Minister at the 1983 election, he insisted that Holding be included in the ministry, and gave him the difficult but symbolically important portfolio of Aboriginal Affairs. Holding was a strong supporter of land rights for Indigenous Australians, and his main ambition as minister was to bring in legislation for uniform national land rights, which the 1967 amendment to the Australian Constitution would have permitted. But the Labor Premier of Western Australia, Brian Burke, strongly objected to such a step, which would have upset the powerful mining and pastoral industries in his state. After heavy lobbying from Burke, Hawke pressured Holding to drop the proposal.
In 1987 Holding was shifted to the portfolio of Minister for Employment Services and Youth Affairs. In 1988 he became Minister for Transport and Communications Support. A few months later he was promoted to Cabinet and made Minister for Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs, but later in the year there was another reshuffle and he was demoted to the Arts and Territories portfolio, outside Cabinet. He held this post until the 1990 election, when he was dropped from the ministry.
Melbourne Ports was significantly altered ahead of the 1990 election. Long one of the safest Labor seats in the nation, it was pushed slightly to the east to take in some wealthier, Liberal-leaning suburbs. This knocked Holding's majority from a reasonably safe 9.9 percent to a marginal 3.9 percent. Nonetheless, Holding was re–elected with a small swing against him. He remained in the House as a backbencher until his retirement in 1998.
- Franklin, Matthew (2 August 2011). "Clyde Holding, 'leader of integrity', dies at 80". The Australian. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
- "Holding, (Allan) Clyde". re-member. Parliament of Victoria. Retrieved 5 February 2010.
- "Biography for Holding, the Hon. Allan Clyde". Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 5 February 2010.
|Victorian Legislative Assembly|
| Member for Richmond
|Parliament of Australia|
| Member for Melbourne Ports
| Minister for Aboriginal Affairs
| Minister for Employment Services and Youth Affairs
| Minister for Transport and Communications Support
| Minister for Immigration, Local
Government and Ethnic Affairs
Robert Ray (immigration)
Margaret Reynolds (local government)
| Minister for the Arts and Territories
|Party political offices|
| Leader of the Labor Party in Victoria