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Francis Patrick (Frank) McManus (1905–1983)

Frank McManus, by Henry Talbot, n.d.

Frank McManus, by Henry Talbot, n.d.

State Library of Victoria, 59548033

Former Democratic Labor Party Senator Frank McManus died on Wednesday, aged 78.

Mr McManus, who had been seriously ill for several months, died in Caritas Christi Hospice in Kew.

A central figure in many bitter political storms, he first came to prominence in the 1955 Labor Party split – the showdown when the industrial "Groupers", formed to rid the Labor Party of communist influences, left or were expelled from the ALP.

Mr McManus, who had held the post of ALP assistant Victorian secretary since 1947, left the party to join the Democratic Labor Party, formed following the split.

A devout Catholic, he represented the DLP in the Federal Senate for a total of 15 years, from 1956 to 1962 and from 1965 to 1974 when he was defeated in the double dissolution election.

Mr McManus grew up in inner suburban North Melbourne where his father drove a three-horse lorry.

He went to school at St Joseph's Christian Boys' College, which was also attended by former ALP leader Arthur Calwell.

The two men were to become bitter opponents in the years after the split.

Mr McManus won a scholarship to Newman College, took an honours degree in English and Latin literature at the University of Melbourne and was a teacher for 20 years before taking up politics full time in the ALP.

He and his wife, Clare, had four children, Paul, Brendan, Mary and Noreen.

National Civic Council president and a close colleague for many years. Mr Bob Santamaria, said Mr McManus was "a man of great intelligence and courage, especially in moments of difficulty".

"I knew him for more than 50 years," he said. "He was one of the men I most admired."

The Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Bowen, said Mr McManus had always represented his views with a great deal of dignity.

The federal president of the Federated Clerks' Union, Mr John Maynes, said Mr McManus had "spent a lifetime in the labor movement and he left his mark in a number of ways".

The federal secretary of the Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners, Mr Jim McLaughlin, said Mr McManus was "always a genuine and straight ahead sort of fellow".

The Victorian DLP State secretary, Mr John Mulholland, said Mr McManus would "long be remembered as a truly magnificent Australian".

Mr Mulholland said Mr McManus had made an outstanding contribution to Australia's public life and "earned the admiration and respect of all including even the strongest of his political opponents".

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Citation details

'McManus, Francis Patrick (Frank) (1905–1983)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 19 July 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Frank McManus, by Henry Talbot, n.d.

Frank McManus, by Henry Talbot, n.d.

State Library of Victoria, 59548033