By Dr Ian Alexander
PERTH — The death of Euan McKenzie represents a significant loss to the community of the left. Euan was a tireless, humanitarian and exceptionally dedicated worker for progressive politics in a conservative state. While Euan maintained his membership of the ALP to the last, he was a harsh, but reasoned, critic of the state and federal governments' increasing pragmatism.
Euan was particularly active in the peace movement and in supporting Aboriginal communities. During the height of the Swan Brewery dispute, Euan's tall, wiry, grey figure was often to be seen at the site. An illustration of his quiet dedication was his repeated trips to the campsite to donate wood for the protesters throughout the coldest and wettest period of 1989.
He was a no-nonsense person, and offered unobtrusive but rock-solid political support to individuals and groups on the margin of mainstream politics. He put a tremendous amount of effort and time into door-knocking and other campaign work for many on the left in local, state and federal politics. I am one of many politicians who benefited from his indefatigable spirit.
Some of Euan's arguments were presented in a rather dogmatic fashion, and his style of presentation annoyed some. This no doubt reflected an impatience towards the careerists and yuppies and the many supporters of economic rationalism who downplayed the social agenda which was so dear to Euan.
Euan spent many years working virtually full time for progressive causes including the militant faction of the ALP left, the Palm Sunday Rally, People for Nuclear Disarmament, and the anti-Aidex campaign.
He will be sorely missed in these and many other spheres.