Labour History

The ACTU Congress of 2012

Labour History (2012), 103, (1), 247–260.


Access Token
If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here


1.ACTU Executive Resolution, Health Services Union, 5April2012, in ACTU Finance and Organisational Report, ACTU Congress, 2012, Attachment B. Google Scholar

2.Plural voting, allowing nominated delegates to cast up to four votes, explains the gap between the number of delegates and votes authorised. SeeACTU, Constitution, Rules and Standing Orders, ACTU, June2009, s.6.4. Google Scholar

3.ACTU Finance and Organisational Report, 2012, Attachment A. Google Scholar

4.In her Presidential Address, Kearney noted that: ‘while the traditional industrial unions are still important, union membership has shifted towards more female-dominated, public and community sector workers’; see Opening Address by ACTU President, 15May2012, p.3. This address and addresses by Secretary Jeff Lawrence, Secretary-Elect Dave Oliver, Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Bill Shorten, former Deputy PM Brian Howe, former Prime Minister Paul Keating and former Secretary Bill Kelty are available on the ACTU’s web, accessed August 2012. Google Scholar

5.Affiliated members at30September2011, ACTU Finance and Organisational Report, Attachment A; votes allocated and number of members in attendance detailed in, Procedural Matters, Credentials and Agenda Report, ACTU Congress, 2012, Attachment A. Google Scholar

7.Cathy Brigden, ‘Unions and Collective Bargaining in 2009’, Journal of Industrial Relations, vol.52, no. 3, 2010, p.329. Google Scholar

8.Cath Bowtell left the ACTU for an unsuccessful tilt at the federal seat of Melbourne at the2010election. Soon after, she became CEO at Australian Government Employees Superannuation Trust. Google Scholar

9.ACTU, Constitution, Rules and Standing Orders, s.18.1; casual vacancies are determined by a ‘weighted vote’ at ACTU Executive. The elected candidate serves out the remainder of the term. Google Scholar

10.Statement from ACTU Secretary,Jeff Lawrence, 7March2012, ACTU Media Release. Google Scholar

12.ACTU, Constitution, Rules and Standing Orders, s.15.2 (iii). Google Scholar

13.Rae Cooper, ‘Industrial Relations in 2010: “Dead, Buried and Cremated”?’, Journal of Industrial Relations, vol.53, no.3, 2011, pp.278-80. See also,Paul Howes(National Secretary AWU), Confessions of a Faceless Man,Melbourne University Press,, 2010, pp.1-22, for his account of Kevin Rudd’s fall. Google Scholar

14. Sydney Morning Herald, 12May2012, p.1. A report inThe Australianput the gap at 55:45, Australian, 15May2012, p.1. Google Scholar

15.Julia Gillard scored 71 votes to Kevin Rudd’s 31 in a caucus vote, Australian Financial Review, 28February2012, p.1. Unions were reported to have swung their support strongly behind Gillard. Google Scholar

16. Sydney Morning Herald, 28March2011, p.1. Google Scholar

17.International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook,IMF,, April2012, pp.58-61. Google Scholar

18.See for instance,Glenn Stevens(Governor, Reserve Bank of Australia), The Lucky Country, address, Sydney, 24July2012,, accessed August 2012. Google Scholar

19.Ed Davis, ‘The ACTU Congress of 2009’, Labour History, no.97, 2009, p.169. Google Scholar

20.Australian Bureau of Statistics, Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Membership, Australia, August 2011(no. 6310.0), 27April2012, pp.34-36. Google Scholar

21.Ibid., ‘Decline in Trade Union Membership’, pp.1-2. Google Scholar

22.ACTU, Procedural Matters, Credentials and Agenda Report, p.4. Google Scholar

23.Ibid., p.5. Google Scholar

24.Opening Address by ACTU President, pp.4-5. Google Scholar

25.Ibid., p.5. Kearney spoke to the Union Strategy Research Group at the University of Sydney shortly after becoming ACTU President and her remarks then reflected her inclination towards ‘(union) independence from political machines, even the one borne of our own movement’, speech, 18November2010, p.1. Google Scholar

26.Jeff Lawrence, Opening Address by ACTU Secretary, 15May2012, p.2. Google Scholar

27.Dave Oliver, Address by Secretary-Elect, 15May2012, pp.4-5. Google Scholar

30.Davis, ‘The ACTU Congress of 2009’, pp.172-76. Google Scholar

31.Ed Davis, ‘The ACTU Congress of 2006 and its Aftermath’, Labour History, no. 96, May2009, pp.191-204. Google Scholar

32.Hon. Bill Shorten, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Address to the ACTU Congress, 17May2012, p.8. Shorten, a former National Secretary of the AWU, entered Federal Parliament at the 2007 election. Google Scholar

33.Ibid., pp.8-9. Google Scholar

34.Bill Kelty, Address to ACTU Congress Dinner, 16May2012, pp.1-2. Google Scholar

37.The Report is titled, Lives on Hold: Unlocking the Potential of Australia’s Workforce, ACTU, 2012. Other members of the Panel were: Jill Biddington, Sara Charlesworth and Paul Munro. Google Scholar

38.Address byBrian Howe to ACTU Congress2012, Confronting the Risk and Tackling the Challenge of Insecure Work, 16May2012, p.1. Google Scholar

39.Address by ACTU President, Ged Kearney, Secure Jobs: Better Future, 16May2012, p.1. Google Scholar

40.Cathy Brigden, ‘Unions and Collective Bargaining in 2011’, Journal of Industrial Relations, vol.54, no.3, 2012, pp.370-71. ‘Salacious allegations’ related to the misuse of members’ money, visits to brothels funded by union credit cards and major contracts let to family members. Google Scholar

43.SeeACTU Women’s Committee, Women in Australian Unions 2011, ACTU, revised2012. Google Scholar

44.APHEDA is the ACTU’s agency for humanitarian assistance abroad., accessed August 2012. Google Scholar

45.I attended two fringe meetings; on the campaigns in Wisconsin and Ohio and on the National Museum for Labour. They each attracted between 30-40 delegates. The latter meeting included the launch of a book byChristine St. Anne, A Super History: The Story of Unions and Superannuation,Major Street,, 2012. Google Scholar

46.Bill Kelty, Tribute byPaul Keating, Congress Dinner, 16May2012, p.4. Google Scholar

47.Bill Kelty, Address to ACTU Congress Dinner, 16May2012, p.4. Google Scholar

48.For instance, by Ged Kearney in her welcome to delegates at the start of Congress. See also theACTU’s Congressweb site,, accessed August 2012. Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here


Author details

Davis, Ed