On Monday night at Parramatta, I attended Gough Whitlam’s 100th birthday celebration. It was organised by the Whitlam Institute and attended by Gough Whitlam’s family and old friends. Bob Hawke was there. John Faulkner spoke.
There was a memorable speech by Graham Freudenberg who spoke eloquently as usual. I don’t know anyone who has the ability to plumb the heart and soul of the Labor movement like Graham Freudenberg. He is one of the most noble and proper people it has been my pleasure to know.
But he was no match for Eddie Obeid and Graham Richardson in the 1990s.
Before the May 1991 NSW state election, Eddie Obeid and Graham Freudenberg and others stood for ALP pre-selection for the NSW Upper House. Graham Freudenberg, who was later awarded Life Membership of the ALP was supported by Michael Easson, Secretary of the NSW Labor Council and Bob Carr. But Graham Richardson, impressed by Eddie Obeid’s ability to raise and donate money, threw his weight behind Obeid.
Graham Freudenberg finished in an unwinnable ninth position on the ALP ticket.
Shortly after the 1991 State election, a casual vacancy in the Upper House occurred and Eddie Obeid was chosen. Graham Richardson had finally got his man in place. But the possible future parliamentary career for Graham Freudenberg was dashed.
To top off his loss – Graham Freudenberg was asked by Senator Loosley, a former ALP General Secretary in NSW, if he would write Eddie Obeid’s maiden speech in the Legislative Council.
It is idle, but nice to speculate, how much better Australia and the ALP would be today if Graham Freudenberg rather than Eddie Obeid got that seat in the Legislative Council.
For those that know him, Graham Freudenberg is a clear winner.