University of Wollongong Historical Journal

Article Title

Arthur A. Calwell's clashes with the Australian Press, 1943-1945


Arthur Calwell's antagonism to the press was shared by most Australian Labor Party politicians, who explained their setbacks, such as electoral defeats, in terms of opposition from the media, in particular, from the 'capitalist press'. While Arthur Calwell was more bitterly critical than were most others, this was due chiefly to his ability to express himself, which exceeded that of most of his colleagues. Besides, as Minister for Information, in charge of censorship, he was most likely to provide a target for the press. It would be wrong to explain the conflict, as Alan Reid did, as having been due to his failure to make J.J. Curtin's first Ministry: 'Whatever the newspapers and newspapermen did, they were not going to ignore him, Arthur Calwell, the man who had run the A.L.P. machine in Victoria and told successive State Administrations where they got off'. He added: 'What had started as a tactical ploy became an obsession ... a real hatred which lasted for years...Only in recent times has this abated'.