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Kenneth Wriedt

Kenneth Shaw Wriedt (b 1927), outstanding Labor politician, was born and educated in Melbourne. A merchant ships' officer 1944–58, he then took up insurance work in Hobart. In 1968 Wriedt won a Senate seat for Labor. His wide-ranging speeches witnessed a thoughtful radicalism, and he became Minister for Agriculture under EG Whitlam from early 1973. Wriedt's performance was a major success in that strange government, winning him its leadership in the Senate before Whitlam's dismissal in November 1975. Subsequently Wriedt appeared a possible Party leader, but failed in a 1980 attempt to switch to the Representatives. In 1982 he entered Tasmania's House of Assembly, becoming Opposition leader. An honourable man, Wriedt was enraged and out-manoeuvred by Premier RT Gray, and retired from leadership in 1986, and altogether in 1990.

Michael Roe