1995, 56 Minutes
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the United Nations, this documentary explores the role Australia played in establishing the United Nations and reflects on the life and work of “Doc” Evatt, the only Australian to become President of the UN General Assembly.
In April 1945 San Francisco hosted a conference to design the United Nations Charter. Among the delegates who held the future of the world in their hands was Herbert Vere Evatt, Australian Minister for External Affairs. Known as "the Doc", Evatt was an idealist, an internationalist, a lawyer and politician. Already he had led Australia to develop a foreign policy independent of that pursued by Britain. His efforts greatly influenced the operations of the UN for decades. In 1948 Evatt became the only Australian ever elected president of the UN General Assembly. But by the time his term as president expired, ideological differences were freezing the world into two opposing blocs and polarising Australian political life.
At home, Evatt fought and defeated an attempt to ban the Communist Party, only to find his own Australian Labor Party divided on the issue of communism. A subsequent split made him one of the most admired—and reviled—figures in Australian history. His contentious role in the bitter Labor politics of the 1950s has overshadowed Evatt's international achievements ever since.
Doc - A Portrait of Herbert Vere Evatt is the story of one of Australia's most controversial statesmen, whose achievements shaped not only Australian political life, but also that of the United Nations.
A Film Australia National Interest Program. Produced with the assistance of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. © 2011 National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.
Director: Pat Fiske
Running Time: 56 Minutes
Curriculum Links: Australian History - Herbert Evatt is included in the NSW HSC Modern History 'Personalities of the Twentieth Century' list; History of the Australian Labor Party; Politics; International Relations.