Born 2.3.51 – Died 7.3.94
The Union Makes Us Strong!
Les Taylor was one of the founders of People Living with HIV/AIDS Victoria. He was one of the people who helped draw up our constitution, one of the major participants in debates about our formation and an early convenor of the program. He was later Vice-President of VAC/GMHC and it was he and President Keith Harbour who made a formidable negotiating team to the Health Department to secure funding for the Positive Living Centre in St Kilda.
Les’ negotiating skills were invaluable to PLWHA Vic and to VAC/GMHC – they were skills honed through years of involvement with the hospital employees union and the union movement generally – and his ability to put up a good argument to authorities benefited positive people in this state significantly. His involvement with the AZT taskforce in 1988 helped to convince the state government to provide the drug to a much wider group than was originally envisaged. His articulate performance on the TV show “Good Morning Australia” in 1987 and his numerous media interviews around AZT helped to publicise the drug access issue and to achieve the desired result.
Les Taylor was a man of great courage. To appear on national TV or in the media at that time of the epidemic was an extremely brave thing to do in a climate then of fear and prejudice around AIDS. His pioneering work in AIDS activism and the enduring legacy of the Positive Living Centre which he was so instrumental in making happen are achievements for which we owe Les a great debt of gratitude.