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Harold Edward Holt

Holt, Harold Edward, 1908–67, Australian political leader. After studying law, he entered politics and became associated with Robert Gordon Menzies. He held a number of cabinet offices in Menzies's governments and was minister of labor and national service (1949–58), minister of immigration (1949–56), and treasurer (1958–66) in Menzies's Liberal-Country party coalition. When Menzies retired in 1966, Holt succeeded as Liberal party leader and prime minister. During his short tenure he increased the number of Australian troops in South Vietnam, a policy that caused controversy in Australia. He disappeared when he went swimming in rough surf in Dec., 1967, and is believed to have died by drowning.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.


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