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Comrade Betty Little/O'Shea: Lifelong Communist

Written by: on 16th August 2020


The Central Committee of the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) is saddened by the recent passing of our veteran comrade Betty Little/O’Shea. To her family and friends and comrades, we express out deep condolences.

Up to her last breath at the age of 97 Betty devoted a lifetime of service to working people and the struggle for an independent and socialist Australia.  She was born into a working class family and from an early age spent many years organising and supporting struggles in numerous workplaces and communities. 

Betty did not have an easy life. For many years she worked as a machinist in clothing factories along Sydney Road, Brunswick, Melbourne, where she was deeply involved in struggles of clothing factory workers, many of them migrant women.  Betty organised strikes, go-slows and pickets outside the factory gates. She was warm, deeply interested and cared for people.  Her working class roots gave her deep insight and respect for workers’ lives and struggles. All her life Betty immersed herself in mass work and the study of Marxism-Leninism.

For many years Betty managed the Party bookshop Kalkadoon in Melbourne CBD.  She warmly welcomed everyone into the bookshop with a big smile and a handshake. She never imposed herself or her politics on anyone, instead always wanting to listen, learn and guide. 

She expressed the strongest feelings of international solidarity and friendship with the struggles of oppressed peoples and nations across the world and was a spirited defender of the Chinese Revolution and the contribution of Mao Zedong. For many years she was a leading figure in the Australia China Friendship Society, and helped to break down the ruling class propaganda barriers, leading to the opening of extensive trade links and Australian government diplomatic recognition of the People’s Republic of China.

Her close connections to the people, her experience in struggle and her dedication to the great cause of an anti-imperialist socialist revolution placed her on the Central Committee for many years, where she consistently continued to make important ideological and political contributions.  

Betty was a Vice-Chairperson of the CPA-ML and wrote articles for Vanguard on workers’ lives and struggles.

Betty was highly valued and respected by many in the party and in the people’s mass movements.

Betty was proud of her family, her daughters and grandchildren who admired and supported Betty in her work.

A more complete tribute to comrade Betty will be published shortly.  



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