(1885-1945) Australian Labor politician, prime minister and minister of defense 1941–45. He was elected leader of the Labor Party 1935. As prime minister, he organized the mobilization of Australia's resources to meet the danger of Japanese invasion during World War II. He died in office before the end of the war.
He proved a capable and inspirational leader in World War II, mobilizing Australia's resources to meet the threat of Japanese invasion. He clashed with Churchill over the latter's view that Australia was dispensable, withdrawing Australian troops from the Middle East 1942 to help defend against the Japanese threat. At the same time, he reassessed the need for US support and invited General Douglas MacArthur to establish his headquarters in Australia.