The title of this pamphlet is far too modest, for while it stands as a sensitive and balanced tribute to the life and achievements of David Bennett (1926-84) by a lifelong friend and co-worker in the causes of educational reform and the labour movement there are at least two other themes skillfully woven into it.
One is an account of factional politics in the Victorian branch of the Australian Labor Party, particularly in the period between the split of 1955 and the federal intervention of 1970. The other is the history of the Victorian Fabian Society before and after its revival in 1960.
Obviously neither of these themes is treated definitively, but at the same time neither is merely incidental to the pamphlet’s main subject. David Bennett was a significant reformer of the Australian schools system, but —like the pamphlet’s author — he also played a role in the two major reshapings of the ALP which took place during his life. His involvement in politics, including factional politics, sprang naturally and logically from his life-long commitment to the teaching profession.
Author: Race Matthews
Published by the Australian Fabian Society,
Copyright © 1985, by the author & the Australian Fabian Society.
Cover design by Vane Lindesay.