It is with great sadness that I stand to speak on the recent passing of two great Labor people in western Victoria, John Stanford and Helen Proud. Jack, as he was known, Stanford returned from World War II determined to play his part in creating a more equitable society. For just 3 shillings Jack joined the Portland branch of the Australian Labor Party in 1947 and remained an active member until his passing. Never one to sit back and be a spectator, Jack ran as the Labor candidate for the seat of Wannon in the 1958 and 1961 federal elections. He won 36 per cent of the vote in 1958 and 35 per cent of the vote in 1961, running against Malcolm Fraser in a traditionally conservative federal electorate.
Jack’s involvement in the Portland community was almost endless.
He was commissioner of the Portland Harbour Trust Commission for nine years, president of the Rotary Club of Portland, commodore of the Portland Yacht Club and a life member of Rostrum Victoria, to name just a few roles. Jack was a great friend, a good sounding board, a thorough gentleman and a champion for Portland. He will be sadly missed.
Like Jack Stanford, Helen Proud was an absolute champion for equality in the community, and a champion for worker’s rights. Helen was a dedicated trade unionist, executive member and past president of the Geelong Trades Hall Council, a life member of the Health Services Union and a member of the Geelong West branch of the Australian Labor Party. Many Geelong workers in the 1990s and early 2000s will remember that Helen delivered forthright views on all things but also delivered nourishing and comforting food to workers standing on picket lines. My deepest sympathies to the families of Jack and Helen.