CHIFLEY: A LIFE
Ben Chifley was arguably 20th-century Australia’s greatest and most popular prime minister. Many of the policies that his Labor government introduced after the Second World War came to define modern Australia: mass immigration, improved social services, the beginnings of a free health-care scheme, commitment to full employment, and greater engagement with Asia.
From his years in central New South Wales through to his controversial marriage outside his Catholic religion, Chifley was not afraid to confront the status quo.
A leading opponent of conscription during the First World War and later a leader of Bathurst enginemen during the great strike of 1917, he was also the prime minister who sent troops into the coalmines to break a strike.
In his important study, David Day has given Chifley his due and set him in the context of his time.