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John Curtin, 1885–1945, Australian political leader. A labor union secretary, he edited (1917–28) a labor weekly and was later a member of the lower house—from 1928 to 1941, except for three years. He became Labour party leader. As wartime prime minister (1941–45), he vigorously organized the defense of Australia in World War II, working closely with the United States; he also helped plan closer cooperation within the Commonwealth of Nations. He died in office.