Tom Uren remembered as a 'warrior for working people'

TRIBUTES have flowed  for former Whitlam and Hawke MP Tom Uren who died on Monday.  

The 93-year-old one-time deputy Labor leader passed away in a Sydney nursing home.   

A prisoner of war and long-time ALP member, Mr Uren was a key player in Australia's heritage and conservation movement.   The Reid MP entered Federal parliament in 1958, serving his Sydney electorate for 32 years.   

He was the urban and regional development minister in the Whitlam Government when it was elected in 1972.   Mr Uren deputy leader of the Opposition from 1976 to 1977.  

Mr Uren, who retired from Parliament in 1990, set up the Register of the National Estate, which recognises natural, indigenous and historic places of significance across Australia.  

"My position on the National Estate was that we should preserve things that were unique and beautiful and that we should retain it for posterity - things that were created by humans or by nature," Mr Uren said in a 2008 ABC interview .   Mr Uren was born in 1921 in Balmain.   

Leaving school at 13, he joined the Australian Defence Force and spent his 21st birthday with the 2/40 Infantry Battalion in West Timor.   He spent 18 months on the Thai-Burma railway as a POW.   Politicians yesterday paid tribute to the "warrior for working people"   

Labor MP Anthony Albanese said Mr Uren was "one of the great characters of Australian post-war politics".   

"A member of his family said Mr Uren had met his death 'with the same character and courage he faced the rest of his life'," he said.   

Labor MP Anthony Albanese has issued a statement on behalf of Mr Uren's family, describing him as "one of the great characters of Australian post-war politics".  

Opposition leader Bill Shorten described Mr Uren as a "protector of the working class" who "helped build a better country".  

Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen tweeted: "RIP Tom Uren. Prisoner of war, champion of peace and warrior for working people. Commiserations to his friend and protégé."   

Mr Uren is survived by his two children, Michael and Heather, and his second wife Christine.  

A memorial service will be held for Mr Uren in Sydney next week.   - APN NEWSDESK

Topics:  labor politician

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