Agent—c/o Author Mail, Wakefield Press, P.O. Box 2266, Kent Town, South Australia 5071, Australia.
Journalist. Has worked as foreign editor of the Adelaide, Australia, Advertiser.
Shortlisted, Festival Awards for Literature, 2000, for A Life on the Left: A Biography of Clyde Cameron.
A Life on the Left: A Biography of Clyde Cameron, Wakefield Press (Kent Town, Australia), 1999.
Smokescreens and Searchlights, Wakefield Press (Kent Town, Australia), 2003.
Australian journalist Bill Guy's first book, A Life on the Left: A Biography of Clyde Cameron, is about the contentious political career of one of the leaders of Australia's Labor Party (ALP). Cameron, who was a member of Australia's House of Representatives from 1949 to 1980, began his career as a sheep shearer and member of the Australian Workers Union (AWU). Elected state secretary of his union when he was just twenty-eight, Cameron began a lengthy crusade to defend the interests of the labor class, working to pass legislation to bring more power to unions and adjusting wage policies in Australia, among other accomplishments. His dogged determination brought him into conflict with his own party, including battles with AWU leader Tom Dougherty, whom Cameron viewed as—and later proved to be—corrupt, and his interference in the 1955 ALP convention that led to a rift in the party. At one point, Prime Minister Gough Whitlam had Cameron dismissed from his post as Minister of Labor because he saw the controversial politician as a liability to his government. Ironically, the entire Whitlam government was subsequently dismissed by the Governor-General. But Cameron's adversarial approach had benefits, including dramatic increases in the wages of Australian workers during his brief tenure as Minister of Labor, and he is also credited with helping the ALP remain true to its ideological roots.
Critics of A Life on the Left found much to admire in the book. On the online site News Weekly, for instance, Mark Posa called Guy's biography a "fascinating" work that "has captured the essence of the life of Clyde Cameron," adding that "Guy's research into the background and early life of Clyde Cameron makes the toughness of his career as a unionist and later a politician understandable." And Australian Journal of Political Science contributor Graham Hudson felt that the author's book is a "lively and lucid account."
Guy is also the author of the thriller Smokescreens and Searchlights, a novel about a newspaper editor exposing corruption in the Australian gold mining industry. Although Adelaide Review critic Christian Kerr faulted the author for two-dimensional characterization and occasionally unrealistic dialogue, the reviewer nevertheless enjoyed the novel's passages concerning the philosophy of journalism. Guy's "belief in the value of independent, intelligent journalism isn't just infectious," Kerr concluded. "It's inspiring."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Adelaide Review, April 2004, Christian Kerr, review of Smokescreens and Searchlights.
Australian Book Review, September, 1999, Ross Fitzgerald, "Stalwart of the Left," pp. 12, 14.
Australian Journal of Political Science, November, 2000, Graham Hudson, review of A Life on the Left: A Biography of Clyde Cameron, p. 533.
News Weekly,http://www.newsweekly.com.au/ (December 19, 2001), Mark Posa, review of A Life on the Left.
Wakefield Press,http://www.wakefieldpress.com.au/ (November 13, 2004), summary of Smokescreens and Searchlights.*