Today the labour movement mourns the passing of one of its finest sons.
Wally Curran will always be remembered as a fighter. Throughout his life, he devoted himself to the struggle for dignity at work and justice for working people.
His courage and creativity are the stuff of legend.
Wally’s breadth of vision brought the first Meat Industry Superannuation Fund; the first Trade Union Clinic for workers; and the pioneering Enterprise Agreements of the early 1990’s. He urged research into worker safety and oversaw the introduction of life-saving protective equipment. He was an ambassador for Australian industry, at home and overseas.
This was a man of extraordinary gifts, whose influence reached far and wide.
Only Wally Curran could take the disused Metropolitan Meat Market in North Melbourne and turn out a flourishing Meat Market Craft Centre.
Only Wally Curran could unite the labour movement and the arts community in pursuit of a larger Australian vision.
He was a proud Australia Council Member (1974 – 78); a tireless advocate for arts in the Western Suburbs; and arts patron.
In the trade union movement, in politics and in the community, he was a mentor to generations of activists. I am proud to count myself amongst them.
Many may not have survived the tempering fires of struggle without Wally Curran. He provided both moral and organisational support; never tiring of providing advice.
He was the scourge of right-wing commentators and a gadfly in the labour movement. He was a man of principle, and determined to ensure real gains through Labor in government.
Even up to his final conscious moments, his concerns were with working people. We remember him today with gratitude and pride.
Our thoughts are with his partner Kay Morrissey, his daughters Lisa and Cyndy, and his two grandchildren.
Vale Wally Curran – the raconteur, the icon, the legend.