Labor remembers Tom Uren


Tom Uren, former Whitlam minister and one-time Labor deputy leader, has died at the age of 93.

Federal Labor is mourning the passing of another party stalwart with the death of its former deputy leader Tom Uren.

Uren died peacefully, aged 93, in a Sydney nursing home on Australia Day.

A member of Uren's family says he met his death "with the same character and courage he faced the rest of his life".

Labor politicians have remembered Uren as a father figure, a visionary and a political giant.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said his death marked the passing of a leviathan of the Labor movement.

"On a day when we celebrate the best of Australia, we can proudly say that Tom really was the best of us," Mr Shorten said.

"He comes from that generation of Australians who experienced the Second World War and built a better country afterwards."

One of the ALP's most respected and prominent figures, Uren was a prisoner of war, a boxer, environmentalist and parliamentarian.

He was a federal Labor MP for 32 years, serving in ministries in the Whitlam and Hawke governments, and as deputy leader under Gough Whitlam in opposition.

He is the third prominent Labor figure to die in within the last 12 months, following the deaths of former prime minister Whitlam and NSW Labor premier Neville Wran.

"It's been a very sad 12 months for the Labor Party," senior Labor MP Anthony Albanese said.

Mr Albanese fought back tears describing his relationship with his one-time mentor.

"I loved him," the opposition transport spokesman told reporters in Sydney.

Mr Albanese praised Uren as a revered politician who soared above petty politics with his vision and principles.

The Labor giant never succumbed to negativity despite his tough life, he said.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who enjoyed a good relationship with Uren, added his praise to the plaudits.

"He was widely admired as a very decent man, a beacon of integrity and a genuine true believer," Mr Abbott said in a statement.

The prime minister has ordered flags to fly at half-mast on the day of Uren's state memorial service, to be held in Sydney next week.

Former prime minister Kevin Rudd praised Uren's great achievements over his 93 years.

"Soldier, warrior for progressive politics, champion of urban planning a generation before others. Vale," he tweeted on Monday.

NSW opposition leader Luke Foley described Uren as the "very best" of old Labor and the old Balmain working class.

"He never forgot where he came from."

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