obituary

Tiga Bayles, a Birri Gubba Gungalu man and a Dawson River Murri has died after a long battle with cancer.

When I heard that Tiga had passed away I was taken back to when I first met him at Sydney's Radio Skid Row. He felt strongly that Indigenous voices should be heard on air, and helped set up Radio Redfern, which started broadcasting for 10 hours each week on Radio Skid Row in the early 1980s. He told me at Radio Redfern in 1989: “My people have an oral history and culture so we use radio.”

Bill Deller was a well-known left-wing activist in Melbourne and presenter on community radio station 3CR. He died on October 17. Below are remembrances of Bill’s life from some of his comrades.

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Lalitha Chelliah — radio co-host and a friend and comrade of 24 years

I met Bill Deller in 1990 when he employed me to work at the State Public Services Federation (SPSF).

Although I had met Luis before, I first got the chance to really speak to him at a BBQ he hosted at his house in late 2010. We spoke for hours that day about many things, including his health.

Luis explained to me that his body was riddled with cancers, and that the doctors had told him he probably only had six months to live.

“When did they tell you that?” I asked.

“Six months ago,” he replied with a grin on his face. “Don’t worry, I still have plenty of fight still left in me.”

Doug Jordan, a long-time socialist and union militant, who transformed himself in later life into an innovative labour historian, died on May 19 in Melbourne at the age of 63. Doug passed away after a hard struggle with cancer.

In recent years, Doug was a community activist, especially with the campaign to defend public housing, and co-presented the 3CR program City Limits on Wednesday mornings for 14 years.

Joyce Stevens was born on January 6, 1928 and was 87 when she died on May 6.

She was the third child in a family of four children, with two older brothers and a younger sister, Lorna, who survives her. Her father was a railway fettler and her mother had been a nurse.

The family lived in country NSW and Joyce enjoyed some of the pleasures and freedoms of country children. She moved to Sydney with her mother and two of her siblings when she was 14.

On November 3, Brian Manning, one of the Northern Territory’s most respected activists and trade unionists, passed away surrounded by friends and family at the age of 81.

He was a long-time member of the Communist Party of Australia and the Search Foundation. This obituary was written by the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA).

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Manning was a wharfie and staunch MUA member up until his retirement in 2002. He continued to be very active in the trade union movement until his passing.

When Neville Cunningham died, the world lost a great fighter for peace, justice and equality. I first met Neville Cunningham through fellow communist, band mate and cellmate Harry Anderson in the 1960s.

Amber Maxwell was a great activist. She was one of the most dedicated young cadres of the Socialist Alternative Perth branch, and a co-convener of Equal Love WA. She committed suicide on August 24. She was 20 years old.

I consider myself lucky that for a year and a half I worked with her in the queer struggle. I considered her a comrade and I cared about her.

We recently suffered the very sad loss of Mick Goldstein. Goldstein was a stalwart of Jews Against the Occupation (JAO), who campaign for the rights of Palestinians. Like Bernie Rosen, whom we lost earlier this year, Goldstein was in the proud Jewish tradition of the international socialist left.

The mass participation of Jewish people on the left was largely decimated by the Nazi Holocaust, and lamentably, it has been overtaken by a reactionary Zionism which has now come to dominate Jewish communities around the world. But activists like Goldstein reminded us of what once was.

Doggedly loyal to the struggle for socialism and a member of five different socialist organisations over his life, Allan Little departed our ranks in Brisbane on July 12 at the age of 81.

A person of incredibly modest means, he began his working life as a cane cutter in Queensland’s north and finished as a unionist and manufacturing worker in the Brisbane suburb of Rocklea.

Ferociously independent and always reluctant to burden anyone with personal requests — even when bed bound — Allan rarely talked about his life’s experiences.

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