The Hon. Clyde Holding
The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin today paid tribute to the longstanding and committed campaigner for the rights of Indigenous Australians, Clyde Holding, who passed away overnight.
Mr Holding served in both the Victorian and Federal Parliaments for over 36 years, and throughout his long public life maintained a commitment to fairness and equity for Australian workers and for Indigenous Australians.
As a recently graduated lawyer in the 1950’s, Mr Holding campaigned against the death penalty and in support for Indigenous Australians’ rights.
Mr Holding was elected to the Victorian Parliament in 1962 and was Leader of the Opposition in Victoria for 10 years.
In 1977, Mr Holding was elected to the seat of Melbourne Ports and joined the Federal Parliament, where he served as Aboriginal Affairs Minister between 1983 and 1987. Mr Holding held a number of other Ministerial portfolios between 1988 and 1990 and remained on the backbench until 1998.
During his time as Minister for Aboriginal Affairs in the Hawke Government, Mr Holding developed far sighted proposals in favour of national land rights for Indigenous Australians which foreshadowed the Mabo decision of the High Court.
He was instrumental in securing passage of legislation by the Federal Parliament recognising the land rights of the communities at Wreck Bay in the ACT and Framlingham and Lake Condah.
I extend my deepest condolences to Mr Holding’s family, friends and community.