Labour History

The Rise and Decline of Australian Unionism: A History of Industrial Labour from the 1820s to 2010

Labour History (2011), 100, (1), 51–82.

Abstract

In exploring the factors that contributed to the rise and decline of industrial labour in Australia, this article argues that support for unionism initially emerged from a working class that was a product of the country’s unusual economic history. In the twentieth century the implementation of systems of compulsory arbitration, devised to mediate industrial conflict, reinforced support for unionism. In 1948, however, support for unionism peaked and a long process of decline began as the working class constituency that had provided its social anchor disintegrated as a result of structural changes in the economy. The dismantling of arbitration after 1986 exacerbated this established pattern of decline, as did a growth in precarious employment and employer anti-union strategies.

Access Token
£25.00
READ THIS ARTICLE
If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Endnotes

1.William Guthrie Spence, Australia’s Awakening: Thirty Years in the Life of an Australian Agitator,Worker Trustees,, 1909, p.11. Google Scholar

2.Ibid. Google Scholar

3.The ‘dependency thesis’ was first articulated by William Howard, seeW.A. Howard, ‘Australian trade unions in the context of union theory’, Journal of Industrial Relations, vol.19, no.3, September1977, pp.255-73. AlsoW.A. Howard, ‘Australian trade unions and the arbitration system’, inBrian Head(ed.)State and Economy in Australia,Oxford University Press,, 1983, pp.238-51. Similar points have been made byPeter Fairbrother andCharlotte A.B. Yates, ‘Unions in crisis, Unions in renewal?’, inPeter Fairbrother andCharlotte A. B. Yates(eds), Trade Unions in Renewal: A Comparative Study,Continuum,, 2003, pp.1-31;David Peetz, Brave New Work Place,Allen & Unwin,, 2006, pp.161-62. Google Scholar

4.The trade union statistics cited in this paper are drawn from a series of Australian Bureau of Statistics surveys, notablyLabour and Industrial Branch Reports, 1912-75 (ABS catalogue no. 6101.0);Trade Union Members, 1976-1996 (catalogue no. 6325.0) andEmployee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Members, 1998-2008 (catalogue no. 6310.0). Unless otherwise stated, all other statistics cited in this paper are drawn from the extensive compendium of Australian labour statistics found as appendix to,Bradley Bowden,Simon Blackwood,Cath Rafferty andCameron Allan(eds), Work and Strife in Paradise: The History of Labour Relations in Queensland 1859-2009,Federation Press,, 2009. Google Scholar

5.Ross M. Martin, Trade Unions in Australia,Penguin,, 1975, p.1. Also,Jim Hagan, The History of the A.C.T.U.,Longman Cheshire,, 1981, p.1. Google Scholar

6.J.T. Sutcliffe, A History of Trade Unionism in Australia,Macmillan,, 1967, p.27. Google Scholar

7.Michael Quinlan,Margaret Gardner andPeter Akers, ‘Formal organizing and informal associations among workers in the Australian colonies, 1795-1850’, Labour/Le Travail, no.53, Fall2003, p.160;G.J.R. Linge, Industrial Awakening: A Geography of Australian Manufacturing 1788 to 1890,ANU Press,, 1979, p.100. Google Scholar

8.L.J. Hume, ‘Working class movements in Sydney and Melbourne before the gold rushes’, Historical Studies, vol.9, November1960, p.266. Google Scholar

9.Greg Patmore, Australian Labour History,Longman Cheshire,, 1991, pp.36-38;Hume, ‘Working class movements’, pp.266, 277;Michael Quinlan,Margaret Gardner andPeter Akers, ‘A failure of voluntarism: shop assistants and the struggle to restrict trading hours in the colony of Victoria, 1850-85’, Labour History, no.88, May2005, pp.170-71;Tom O’Lincoln, United We Stand: Class Struggle in Colonial Australia,Red Rag Publications,, 2006, pp.9-28. Google Scholar

10.Hume, ‘Working class movements’, pp.266-67. Google Scholar

11.Geoffrey Blainey, The Rush that Never Ended: The History of Australian Mining, 5thedition,Melbourne University Press,, 2003, p.61. Google Scholar

12.A.C. Kelley, ‘International migration and economic growth: Australia, 1865-1935’, Journal of Economic History, vol.25, no.3, September1965, pp.333-54;Neville Hicks, ‘Demographic transition in the antipodes: Australian population structure and growth, 1891-1911’, Australian Economic History Review, no.14, 1974, pp.123-42. Google Scholar

13.Evidence of Thomas Finney to Queensland Royal Commission into Factories and Shops, Queensland Votes and Proceedings,Queensland Government Printer,, 1891, vol.2, Question 1101. Google Scholar

14.E.W. O’Sullivan, ‘New South Wales’, inJohn Norton(ed.), The History of Capital and Labour in All Lands and Ages,Oceanic Publishing Co.,, 1888, pp.41-115;W.E. Murphy, ‘Victoria’, inNorton(ed.), History of Capital and Labour, pp.16-98;Julie Kimber andPeter Love, ‘The time of their lives’, inJulie Kimber andPeter Love(eds), The Time of Their Lives: The Eight Hour Day and Working Life,Australian Society for the Study of Labour History,, 2007, pp.1-13; Also,Robin Gollan, Radical and Working Class Politics: A Study of Eastern Australia 1850-1910,Melbourne University Press,, 1960, pp.70-76;Jeff Sparrow andJill Sparrow, Radical Melbourne: A Secret History,Vulgar Press,, 2001, p.182. Also,Geoffrey Searle, The Golden Age: A History of the Colony of Victoria 1851-1861,Melbourne University Press,, 1963, pp.208-15;Helen Hughes, ‘The eight hour day and the development of the labour movement in Victoria in the eighteen fifties’, Historical Studies, vol.9, no.36, May1961, pp.396-412;Joe Harris, The Bitter Fight: A Pictorial History of the Australian Labor Movement,University of Queensland Press,, 1970, pp.23-25;Sutcliffe, Trade Unionism, pp.4-42. Google Scholar

15.This argument found early exponents in, Sidney Webb and Harold Cox, Eight Hours Day,Walter Scott,, 1891, p.58. Google Scholar

16.W.E. Murphy, History of the Eight Hours Movement,Spectator Publishing Co.,, 1896, p.80. Also,John Niland, ‘The birth of the movement for a eight hour working day in New South Wales’, Australian Journal of Politics and History, vol.19, April1968, p.76;Bradley Bowden, ‘“Harmony … between the employer and employed”: Employer support for union formation in Brisbane, 1857-90’, Labour History, no.97, November2009, pp.105-22, at pp.108-110. Google Scholar

17.For in-depth discussions of the financial benefits for principal contractors in implementing shorter hours, seeBowden, ‘Harmony … between the employer and employed’, pp.108-11. Google Scholar

18.Jeff Rich, ‘The traditions and significance of the eight hour day for building unionists in Victoria, 1856-90’, inKimber andLove(eds), Time of Their Lives, pp.25-43. Google Scholar

19.General histories includeT.G. Parsons, ‘Learning the rules of the game: Some notes on the Labour Movement in the Melbourne manufacturing industries, 1870-1890’, Journal of Australian Studies, vol.6, June1980, pp.56-62;June Phillip, Trade Union Organisation in NSW and Victoria 1870-1890, unpublished MA thesis,University of Adelaide, 1953;Gollan, Radical and Working Class Politics, pp.74-84;Brian Fitzpatrick, A Short History of the Australian Labor Movement, Second Edition,Macmillan,, 1968, pp.103-4;Sutcliffe, History of Trade Unionism, pp.43-44;Jim Moss, Sound of Trumpets: History of the Labour Movement in South Australia,Wakefield Press,, 1985, pp.101-6;Bowden, ‘Harmony … between the employer and employed’, pp.105-22;Quinlan,Gardner andAkers, ‘A failure of voluntarism’, pp.161-178. The histories of individual unions that embrace this period are,Ken Buckley, ‘The Role of Labour: The Amalgamated Society of Engineers’, Labour History, no.4, May1963, pp.3-10;Ken Buckley, The Amalgamated Engineers in Australia 1850-1920,ANU Press,, 1970;J. Hagan, Printers and Politics,ANU Press,, 1966, pp.37-52;Bradon Ellem, In Women’s Hands: A History of Clothing Trades Unionism in Australia,NSW University Press,, 1989, pp.22-24;Brian Fitzpatrick andRowan Cahill, The Seamen’s Union of Australia 1872-1972,Seamen’s Union of Australia,, 1981, pp.1-15. Google Scholar

20.Cathy Brigden, ‘Creating labour’s space: The case of the Melbourne Trades Hall’, Labour History, no.89, November2005, pp.125-40;Raymond Markey, In Case of Oppression: The Life and Times of the Labor Council of New South Wales,Pluto Press,, 1994, pp.9-29;Raymond Markey, ‘The Labor Council of New South Wales: 1871-2001’, inBradon Ellem,Raymond Markey andJohn Shields(eds), Peak Unions in Australia: Origins, Purpose, Power, Agency,Federation Press,, 2004, pp.54-57. Google Scholar

21.Markey, In Case of Oppression, p.9. Google Scholar

22.Rachael Henning, The Letters of Rachael Henning, edited byDavid Adams,Penguin,, 1977, p.208. Google Scholar

23.Bowden, ‘Harmony … between the employer and employed’, p.113. Spence notes that: ‘Quite a number of attempts’ were made to organise shearers ‘prior to 1886, but all had failed’. SeeSpence, Australia’s Awakening, p.68. Google Scholar

24.SeeJ.W. Turner, Coal Mining in Newcastle 1801-1900,Newcastle City Council, 1982, p.89. Also,Robin Gollan, The Coalminers of New South Wales,ANU Press,, 1963, pp.27-64;Bradley Bowden, ‘The Hunter’, inJim Hagan(ed.), People and Politics in Regional New South Wales,Federation Press, 2006, pp.53-60. Google Scholar

25.Blainey, The Rush that Never Ended, pp.302, 123;June Stoodley, ‘Queensland miners’ attitudes towards the need for safety regulation in the late nineteenth century’, Labour History, no.14, May1968, pp.23-33. Google Scholar

26.Spence, Australia’s Awakening, pp.24-33. Google Scholar

27.The reasoning behind the 20 per cent estimate is discussed in a footnote in, Gollan, Radical and Working Class Politics, p.133. Markey estimates that in 1891 union density in New South Wales was 21.5 per cent. SeeRay Markey, The Making of the Labor Party in New South Wales, 1880-1900,New South Wales University Press,, 1988, pp.139-40. Google Scholar

28.John Norton, ‘Introduction’, inNorton(ed.), The History of Capital and Labour, p.ix. Google Scholar

29.N.G. Butlin, Investment in Australian Economic Development 1861-1900,Cambridge University Press,, 1964, pp.3-7;N.G. Butlin, ‘Some perspectives of Australian economic development’, inC. Forster(ed.), Australian Economic Development in the Twentieth Century,Allen & Unwin,, 1970, p.291, table 6.10. Google Scholar

30.For discussions of union organisation among female workers at this time, seeRaymond Brooks, ‘The Melbourne Tailoresses’ strike: An assessment’, Labour History, no.44, May1983, pp.27-38;Danielle Thornton, ‘“We have no redress unless we strike”: Class, gender and activism in the Melbourne tailoresses’ strike, 1882-83’, Labour History, no.96, May2009, pp.19-38;W. McNicol, ‘Women and the trade union movement in New South Wales’, Labour History, no.36, May1979, pp.18-30;Raelene Frances, Politics of Work: Gender and Labour in Victoria, 1880-1939,Cambridge University Press,, 1993pp.35-37, 56;Raelene Frances, ‘“No more amazons”: Gender and work process in the Victorian clothing trades, 1930-1939’, Labour History, no.50, May1986, pp.95-112;Bradley Bowden andToni Bowden, ‘“Women do the machinery”: Craft, gender and work transformation in the Brisbane boot trade, 1869-95’, Labour History, no.86, May2004, pp.75-92;Ellem, In Women’s Hands, pp.28-32;Andrew Spaull andMartin Sullivan, A History of the Queensland Teachers’ Union,Allen & Unwin,, 1989, pp.27-64. Google Scholar

31.John Merritt, The Making of the AWU,Oxford University Press,, 1987, p.138;H. Kenway, ‘The Pastoral Strikes of 1891 and 1894’, inD.J. Murphy,R.B. Joyce andColin A. Hughes(eds), Prelude to Power: The Rise of the Labor Party in Queensland 1885-1915,Jacaranda Press,, 1970, p.123. Google Scholar

32.Butlin, Investment in Australian Economic Development, pp.60-80. Google Scholar

33.Bradon Ellem andJohn Shields, ‘Making the “Gibraltar of unionism”: Union organising and peak agency in Broken Hill, 1886-1930’, Labour History, no.83, November2002, pp.65-88;Blainey, The Rush that Never Ended, p.300. Google Scholar

34.Gollan, Radical and Working Class Politics, pp.80-81;Markey, In Case of Oppression, p.23. Google Scholar

35.The establishment of colonial labour councils is discussed in the collection of essays in,D. J. Murphy(ed.), Labor in Politics: The State Labor Parties in Australia 1880-1920,University of Queensland Press,, 1975. For the histories of individual labour councils see,Bobbie Oliver, Unity is Strength: A History of the ALP and the Trades and Labor Council in Western Australia, 1899-1999,API Network,, 2003;John Kellett, ‘Product of a Community in Transition: The first Brisbane Trades and Labour Council’, inEllem,Markey andShields(eds), Peak Unions in Australia, pp.86-111;Moss, Sound of Trumpets. Google Scholar

36.For an overview of the changes that led to increased union organisation see,Ray Markey, ‘Explaining union mobilisation in the 1880s and early 1900s’, Labour History, no.83, November2002, pp.19-42;Markey, The Making of the Labor Party, pp.136-70;Gollan, Radical and Working Class Politics, pp.99-127. Google Scholar

37.For an overview of division’s within industrial labour see,Ken Buckley andTed Wheelwright, No Paradise for Workers: Capitalism and the Common People in Australia 1788-1914,Oxford University Press,, 1988, pp.140-63. Google Scholar

38.T.M. McGregor, ‘Letter to Editor’, Worker, 15November1890. Google Scholar

39.Bruce Scates, A New Australia:Citizenship, Radicalism and the First Republic,Cambridge University Press,, 1997, p.51. Google Scholar

40.Gollan, Radical and Working Class Politics, pp.110-27;Scates, A New Australia, pp.8-9;Bruce Scates, ‘“Millenium or pandemonium?”: Radicalism in the labour movement, Sydney, 1889-1899’, Labour History, no.50, May1986, pp.72-94;John Kellett, ‘William Lane and “New Australia”: A reassessment’, Labour History, no.72, May1997, pp.1-18. Google Scholar

41.Peter Love, Labour and the Money Power: Australian Labour Populism 1890-1950,Melbourne University Press,, 1984, p.36;Scates, A New Australia, p.9;John Rickard, Australia: A Cultural History, 2ndedition,Longman,, 1996, p.143. Google Scholar

42.Gollan, Radical and Working Class Politics, pp.110-27;Scates, A New Australia, pp.6-7;Love, Labour and the Money Power, pp.20-55;Verity Burgmann, ‘In Our Time’: Socialism and the Rise of Labor 1885-1905,Allen & Unwin,, 1985;Spence, Australia’s Awakening, pp.268-70;Ernie Lane, Dawn to Dusk: Reminiscences of a Rebel,SHAPE,, 1993, pp.54-99. Google Scholar

43.Bede Nairn, Civilising Capitalism: The Beginnings of the Australian Labor Party,Melbourne University Press,, 1989, pp.5-8;D.J. Murphy, ‘Queensland’, inD.J. Murphy(ed.)Labor in Politics: The State Labor Parties in Australia 1880-1920,University of Queensland Press,, 1975, p.129;J.B. Dalton, The Queensland Labour Movement 1889-1915, unpublished BA Hons. thesis,University of Queensland, 1961, Conclusion, p.1;J.B. Dalton, ‘An interpretative survey: The Queensland labour movement’, inD.J. Murphy,R.B. Joyce andColin A. Hughes(eds), Prelude to Power: The Rise of the Labour Party in Queensland 1885-1915,Jacaranda Press,, 1970, pp.5-7. Google Scholar

44.Burgmann, In Our Time, p.1. Google Scholar

45.Butlin, Investment in Australian Economic Development, p.390;R.V. Jackson, Australian Economic Development in the Nineteenth Century,ANU Press,, 1977;Sean Glynn, Urbanization in Australian History 1788-1900,Nelson,, 1975;Eric Fry, The Condition of the Urban Wage-Earning Class in Australia in the 1880s, unpublished PhD thesis,Australian National University, 1956. Google Scholar

46.S.H. Fisher, ‘An Accumulation of misery?’, Labour History, no.40, May1981, pp.16-28;Shirley Fitzgerald, Rising Damp: Sydney 1870-1890,Oxford University Press,, 1982;Max Kelly, A Certain Sydney,Doak Press,, 1978;Michael Cannon, Australia in the Victorian Age, 3volumes,Nelson,, 1971, 1975, 1978;Alan Mayne, ‘City back-slums in the land of promise: Some aspects of the 1876 report on over-crowding in Sydney’, Labour History, no.38, May1980, pp.26-39. Google Scholar

47.J. Lee andC. Fahey, ‘A boom for whom? Some developments in the Australian labour market 1870-1891’, Labour History, no.50, May1986, pp.1-27;Markey, The Making of the Labor Party, pp.49-51;Patmore, Australian Labour History, p.140. Google Scholar

48.Hagan, Printers and Politics, pp.40, 66, 148, 169;Markey, The Making of the Labor Party, pp.50-51. Google Scholar

49.Bradley Bowden, ‘“Some mysterious terror”: The relationship between capital and labour in Ipswich, 1861-96’, Labour History, no.72, May1997, pp.77-100. Google Scholar

50.The issue of transience and its impact is explored inBradley Bowden, ‘Transience, class and community’, Labour History, no.77, November1999, pp.160-89. Google Scholar

51.For a discussion of racism and the labour movement see the collection of articles in,Ann Curthoys andAndrew Markus(eds), Who are Our Enemies? Racism and the Working Class in Australia,Hale & Iremonger,, 1978;Humphrey McQueen, A New Britannia,Penguin,, 1970, ch. 2;Andrew Markus, ‘Explaining the treatment of non-European immigrants in nineteenth century’, Labour History, no.48, May1985, pp.86-91;Patmore, Australian Labour History, pp.184-208. Google Scholar

52.Shirleene Robinson, ‘The unregulated employment of Aboriginal children in Queensland’, Labour History, no.82, May2002, pp.1-16. Google Scholar

53.Raymond Evans,Kay Saunders andKathryn Cronin, Race Relations in Colonial Queensland,University of Queensland Press,, 1975, p.216. Google Scholar

54.Mark Hearn andHarry Knowles, One Big Union: A History of the Australian Workers Union 1886-1994,Cambridge University Press,, 1996, pp.66-67. Google Scholar

55.E.A. Boehm, Twentieth Century Economic Development in Australia, 2ndEdition,Longman Cheshire,, 1979, pp.74-75, table 3.111. Google Scholar

56.In all colonies the exact union strength is unknown due to the failure of most bodies to register with the Trade Union Registrar. In Queensland, for example, the officially recorded union strength in 1898 was a mere 490. SeeMurphy,Joyce andHughes(eds), Prelude to Power, appendix H. Google Scholar

57.Ellem andShields, ‘Making the “Gibraltar of unionism”‘, p.69. Google Scholar

58.H.J. Gibney, ‘Western Australia’, inMurphy(ed.), Labor in Politics, p.347. Also see the series of articles on the Western Australian goldfields inLabour History, no.65, November1993. Google Scholar

59.Spence, Australia’s Awakening, p.111. Google Scholar

60.Vere Gordon Childe, How Labour Governs,Melbourne University Press, 2ndedition,, 1964, p.12. Google Scholar

61.John Rickard, Class and Politics: New South Wales, Victoria and the Early Commonwealth, 1890-1910,ANU Press,, 1976, pp.50, 119, 293. Google Scholar

62. Worker, 19November1892. Google Scholar

63.Gollan, Radical and Working Class Politics, pp.185-86;Hagan, History of the A.C.T.U., p.8. Google Scholar

64.Ray Markey, ‘Trade unions, the Labor Party and the introduction of arbitration in New South Wales and the Commonwealth’, inStuart Macintyre andRichard Mitchell(eds), Foundations of Arbitration: The Origins and Effects of State Compulsory Arbitration 1890-1914,Oxford University Press,, 1989, p.166. Google Scholar

65.For a succinct overview of the Australian arbitration system, seeJ.J. Portus, Australian Compulsory Arbitration 1900-1970,Hicks Smith & Sons,, 1971. Google Scholar

66.Howard, ‘Australian trade unions in the context of union theory’, pp.260-61, 255. AlsoHoward, ‘Australian trade unions and the arbitration system’, pp.238-51. Google Scholar

67.Rae Cooper, ‘“To organise whenever the necessity exists”: The activities of the Organising Committee of the Labor Council of NSW, 1900-1910’, Labour History, no.83, November2002, p.51;Markey, ‘Explaining union mobilisation’, pp.27-31;Rae Cooper, Making the NSW Union Movement? A Study of Organising and Recruitment Activities of the NSW Labor Council 1900-1910,Industrial Relations Research Centre, University of New South Wales, 1996. Google Scholar

68.Peter Sheldon, ‘Arbitration and union growth: Building and construction unions in NSW, 1901-1912’, Journal of Industrial Relations, vol.35, no.3, pp.379-97;Peter Sheldon, ‘Compulsory arbitration and union recovery: Maritime-related unions’, Journal of Industrial Relations, vol.40, no.3, September1998, pp.422-40;Peter Sheldon, ‘The missing nexus? Union recovery, growth and behaviour during the first decades of arbitration: Towards a Re-evaluation’, Australian Historical Studies, no.104, April1995, pp.415-37. Google Scholar

69.Colin Forster, ‘The economy, wages and the establishment of arbitration’, inMacintyre andMitchell(eds), Foundations of Arbitration, p.216. Google Scholar

70.Andrew Wells, ‘State regulation for a moral economy: Peter Macarthy and the meaning of the Harvester Judgement’, Journal of Industrial Relations, vol.40, no.3, September1998, pp.371-82. Google Scholar

71.Bradley Bowden, Driving Force: The History of the Transport Workers Union of Australia 1883-1992,Allen & Unwin,, 1993, pp.37-38. Google Scholar

72.Margo Beasley, The Missos: A History of the Federated Miscellaneous Workers Union,Allen & Unwin,, 1996, pp.3-5. Google Scholar

73.Commonwealth Statistician, Labour and Industrial Branch Report, 1921, Commonwealth Government, 1922, p.12. Google Scholar

74.Commonwealth Arbitration Reports, vol.2, p.16(ie 2 CAR 16). Google Scholar

76.Cited Frances, Politics of Work, p.91. Google Scholar

77.Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics, Labour and Industrial Branch Report No. 3,Commonwealth Government,, 1914, p.13. Google Scholar

78.Hagan, History of the A.C.T.U., p.14. The strongest critique of Hagan’s definition is found inTerry Irving, ‘Labourism: A political genealogy’, Labour History, no.66, May1994, pp.1-13.Ray Markey summaries the debates that have emerged around the concept of labourism inRay Markey, ‘An Antipodean phenomenon: Comparing the Labo(u)r Party in New Zealand and Australia’, Labour History, no.95, November2008, p.82. Google Scholar

79.Rickard, Australia, p.141. Google Scholar

80.Rickard, Class and Politics, pp.109-10. Google Scholar

81.Michael Quinlan andConstance Lever-Tracey, ‘From labour market exclusion to industrial solidarity: Australian trade union responses to Asian workers, 1830-1988’, Cambridge Journal of Economics, vol.14, 1990, pp168-69. Google Scholar

82.Lucy Taksa, ‘Workplace, community, mobilisation and labour politics at the Eveleigh Railway Workshops’, inRaymond Markey(ed.), Labour and Community: Historical Essays,University of Wollongong Press,, 2001, pp.51-79;Lucy Taksa, ‘Politics, industrial heritage and working life at Eveleigh’, Labour History, no.85, November2003, pp.65-88;Patrick Bertola andBobbie Oliver(eds), The Workshops: A History of the Midland Railway Workshops,University of Western Australia Press,, 2006;Janet McCalman, Struggletown: Portrait of an Australian Working-Class Community 1900-1965,Penguin,, 1984;Colin Cleary, Bendigo Labor: The Maintenance of Traditions in a Regional City,Colin Cleary,, 1999;Greg Patmore, ‘Localism and labour: Lithgow 1869-1932’, Labour History, no.78, May2000, pp.53-70;Greg Patmore, ‘Union birth, growth and death: The impact of the state, management and community at the Lithgow Ironworks’, Journal of Industrial Relations, vol.46, no.1, pp.21-38;Bradon Ellem andJohn Shields, ‘Making a “union town”: Class, gender and consumption in inter-war Broken Hill’, Labour History, no.78, May2000, pp.116-40;Bradley Bowden, ‘A “time the like of which was never before experienced”: Changing community loyalties in Ipswich, 1900-12’, Labour History, no.78, May2000, pp.71-93;Barbara Webster, ‘A “cosy relationship” if you had it: Queensland Labor’s arbitration system and union organising strategies in Rockhampton, 1916-57’, Labour History, no.83, November2002, pp.89-106;Barbara Webster, ‘“The best deal for workers”: Rockhampton unions and the Queensland arbitration system to 1957’, inet al., Work and Strife in Paradise, pp.202-17. Google Scholar

83.Taksa, ‘Workplace, community, mobilisation and labour politics’, pp.60-61. Google Scholar

84.McCalman, Struggletown, p.37. Google Scholar

85.Hearn andKnowles, One Big Union, pp.127, 110. Google Scholar

86.Jim Hagan andKen Turner, A History of the Labor Party in New South Wales 1891-1991,Longman Cheshire,, 1991, p.42. Google Scholar

87.P.G. Macarthy, The Harvester Judgement: An Historical Assessment, unpublished PhD thesis,Australian National University, 1967, p.25. Google Scholar

88.For a general discussion of the IWW’s influence see,Ian Turner, Industrial Labour and Politics,Hale & Iremonger,, 1907, pp.55-67. AlsoChilde, How Labour Governs, pp.104-81;Verity Burgmann, Revolutionary Industrial Unionism: The Industrial Workers of the World in Australia,Cambridge University Press,, 1995. Google Scholar

89.Hagan, History of the A.C.T.U., pp.18-25. Google Scholar

90.Childe, How Labour Governs, p.11. Google Scholar

91.The employment figures cited in this section are drawn from,Boehm, Twentieth Century Economic Development, pp.74-75, table 3.111. Google Scholar

92.Tom Sheridan, Mindful Militants: The Amalgamated Engineering Union if Australia 1920-1972,Cambridge University Press,, 1975, p.13. Google Scholar

93.Commonwealth Statistician, Labour and Industrial Branch Report, 1921, p.12. Google Scholar

94.Rickard, Australia, p.180. Google Scholar

95.The limited opportunities in working class communities are vividly portrayed in McCalman, Struggletown. Google Scholar

96.Boehm, Twentieth Century Economic Development, p.191. Google Scholar

97.For a fuller discussion of Queensland developments seeBradley Bowden, ‘A peculiar history: Queensland unions, 1916-2009’, inet al., Work and Strife, pp.43-44. Google Scholar

98.See, for example,Tom Bramble, Trade Unionism in Australia: A History from Flood to Ebb Tide,Cambridge University Press,, 2008, p.17;Howard, ‘Australian trade unions in the context of union theory’, pp.266-67;Howard, ‘Australian trade unions and the arbitration system’, p.245. Google Scholar

99.Rae Cooper andGreg Patmore, ‘Trade union organising and labour history’, Labour History, no.83, November2002, p.14. Google Scholar

100.Barbara Webster, ‘Fighting in the Grand Cause’: A History of the Trade Union Movement in Rockhampton 1907-1957, unpublishedPhD thesis,University of Central Queensland, 1999;Webster, ‘A cosy relationship’, pp.89-106;Webster, ‘The best deal for workers’, pp.202-17. Google Scholar

101.Bertola andOliver(eds), The Workshops. Google Scholar

102.Lenore Layman, ‘Labour organisation: An industrial stronghold for the unions’, inBertola andOliver(eds), The Workshops, p.178.Sandra Cockfield, whose work draws on studies of three large-scale metal shops, also argues that‘the role of arbitration in limiting the need for worker mobilisation … should not be overstated’; seeSandra Cockfield, ‘Mobilising at the workplace: State regulation and collective action in three workplaces, 1900 to the 1920s’, Labour History, no.93, November2007, pp.35-56. Google Scholar

103.Hagan, History of the A.C.T.U., pp.81-85. Google Scholar

104.For discussion of the role of women in the war-time economy, seePenny Ryan andTim Rowse, ‘Women, arbitration and the family’, inAnn Curthoys,Susan Eade andPeter Spearritt(eds), Women at Work,Australian Society for the Study of Labour History,, 1975, pp.15-30;Constance Larmour, ‘Women’s wages and the WEB’, inCurthoys,Eade andSpearritt(eds), Women at Work, pp.47-58;Glenda Strachan, ‘Women’s pay and participation in the Queensland workforce’, inet al., Work and Strife in Paradise, pp153-55;Carolyn Allport, ‘Left off the agenda: Women, reconstruction and new order housing’, Labour History, no.46, May1984, pp.1-20. Google Scholar

105.The most significant histories of the CPA are,W.J. Brown, The Communist Movement and Australia: An Historical Outline, 1890s to 1980s,Australian Labor Movement History Publications,, 1986;Alastair Davidson, The Communist Party of Australia: A Short History,Hoover University Press,, 1969;Tom O’Lincoln, Into the Mainstream: The Decline of Australian Communism,Stained Wattle Press,, 1985;Stuart Macintyre, The Reds: The Communist Party of Australia from origins to illegality,Allan & Unwin,, 1998. For a recent addition to the literature see,Philip Deery andNeil Redfern, ‘No lasting peace? Labor, communism and the Cominform: Australia, and Great Britain’, Labour History, no.88, May2005, pp.63-86. The estimates of communist strength among unionists is drawn fromDavidson, The Communist Party, p.92. Google Scholar

106. Queensland Government Industrial Gazette,Government Printer,, 1946, pp.1063-64. Google Scholar

108.There is an extensive historiography on the Movement and the subsequent ‘Split’. Key studies includeRobert Murray, The Split: Australian Labor in the Fifties,Cheshire,, 1970;B. A. Santamaria, Against the Tide,Oxford University Press,, 1981;Jack Kane, Exploding the Myths: The Political Memoirs of Jack Kane,Angus & Robertson,, 1989;Susanna Short, Laurie Short: A Political Life,Allen & Unwin,, 1992;F.G. Clarke, ‘Labour and the Catholic Social Studies Movement’, Labour History, no.20, May1971, pp.46-59;Doug Blackmur, ‘The ALP industrial groups in Queensland’, Labour History, no.46, May1984;D.J. Murphy, ‘The 1957 Split’, inD.J. Murphy,R.B. Joyce andColin A. Hughes(eds), Labor in Power,University of Queensland Press,, 1980, pp.481-525;Barbara Webster, ‘“To fight against the horrible evil of Communism”: Catholics, community and the Movement in Rockhampton, 1943-57’, Labour History, no.81, November2001, pp.155-73. Google Scholar

109.Hagan, History of the A.C.T.U., p.128;L.F. Crisp, Ben Chifley,Longmans,, 1961, p.360;Murray, The Split, p.21. Google Scholar

110.Tom Sheridan, Division of Labour: Industrial Relations in the Chifley Years, 1945-49,Oxford University Press,, 1989, pp.248-90;Phillip Deery, The 1949 Coal Strike, unpublishedPhD thesis,La Trobe University, 1976;Phillip Deery, ‘Chifley, the army and the 1949 coal strike’, Labour History, no.68, May1995, pp.80-97. Also see the documentary collection,Phillip Deery(ed.), Labour in Conflict: The 1949 Coal Strike,Occasional Publication, Australian Society for the Study of Labour History, 1978. Google Scholar

111.Gollan, The Coalminers, pp.234-35, 240. Google Scholar

112.Boehm, Twentieth Century Economic Development, p.75, table 3.11. Google Scholar

113.Bramble, Trade Unionism in Australia, p.240. Google Scholar

114.The union density figure published inLabour and Industrial Branch Reports(ABS catalogue no. 6101.0) was for 50 per cent. However, this figure was subsequently revised in 1979 to 49 per cent. SeeTrade Union Members(ABS catalogue no. 6325.0), 1979. Google Scholar

115.For figures relating to waterside workers in Cairns, seeRoss Fitzgerald, From 1915 to the Early 1980s: A History of Queensland,University of Queensland Press,, 1984, pp.199-200. Figures for unionised factory workers were based onLabour Report(ABS catalogue no. 6101.0), no.44, 1955-56, p.152; no.55, 1970, p.283. Google Scholar

116.Gerard Griffin, ‘White collar unionism 1969 to 1981: Some determinants of growth’, Journal of Industrial Relations, vol.25, no.1, March1983, p.27. An early but still useful analysis of the growth in white-collar unionism isRees D. Williams, ‘“White collars” make council’, Labour History, no.6, May1964, pp.29-37. Google Scholar

117.Griffin, ‘White collar unionism’, p.30. Google Scholar

118.D.W. Rawson, Unions and Unionists in Australia,Allen & Unwin,, 1978, p.39. Google Scholar

119.Russell Lansbury, ‘The growth and unionisation of white-collar workers in Australia: Some recent trends’, Journal of Industrial Relations, 1977, vol.19, no.1, p.44. Google Scholar

120.Griffin, ‘White collar unionism’, pp.32-33. Google Scholar

121.Griffin, ‘White collar unionism’, pp.26-27. Google Scholar

122.Lansbury, ‘The growth and unionisation of white-collar workers’, pp.44-45. Google Scholar

123.Quinlan andLever-Tracey, ‘Labour market exclusion’, pp.171-72. Google Scholar

124.Commonwealth of Australia, Census of 2006,www.censusdata.abs.gov.au Google Scholar

125.Quinlan andLever-Tracey, ‘Labour market exclusion’, pp.170-78. Google Scholar

126.For a detailed discussion of the wage campaigns of this era see,Bowden, Driving Force, pp.128-73. Google Scholar

127.Carol O’Donnell andPhilippa Hall, Getting Equal: Labour Market Regulation and Women’s Work,Allen & Unwin,, 1988, p.54;Edna Ryan andAnne Conlon, Gentle Invaders: Australian Women at Work, 2ndedition,Penguin,, 1989, p.192;Strachan, ‘Women’s pay and participation’, p.156;Tom Sheridan andPat Stretton, ‘Pragmatic procrastination: Government, unions and equal pay, 1949-68’, Labour History, no.94, May2008, pp.133-56. Google Scholar

128.For a detailed discussion of aboriginal workers in labour history see the special edition, Labour History, no.69, November1995. For discussions of the Green Bans movement, seeVerity Burgmann, ‘The Green Bans Movement: Workers’ power and ecological radicalism in Australia in the 1970s’, Journal for the Study of Radicalism, 2008, vol.2, no.1, pp.63-90;Meredith Burgmann andVerity Burgmann, Green Bans, Red Union: Environmental Activism and the New South Wales Builders Labourers’ Federation,University of New South Wales Press,, 1998;Pete Thomas, Taming the Concrete Jungle: The Builders Laborers Story,Builders Laborers Federation,, 1973. Google Scholar

129.For a detailed discussion of the factors underpinning the crisis of manufacturing see,Jenny Stewart, The Lie of the Level Playing Field: Industry Policy and Australia’s Future,Text Publishing Co.,, 1994, pp.74-88. Google Scholar

130.Bowden, Driving Force, pp.171-73. Google Scholar

131.Australian Bureau of Statistics, Labour Statistics, (catalogue no.6101.0),, 1982, p.131. Note: changes in the method of collecting union statistics mitigates against direct comparison with pre-1976 figures. Earlier figures were based on union membership lists. Latter figures were based on household surveys. Google Scholar

132.‘Statement of Accord by the Australian Labor Party and the Australian Council of Trade Unions regarding economic policy’, inFrank Stilwell, The Accord… and Beyond,Pluto Press,, 1986, appendix A. Google Scholar

133.For an overview of these events, seeStilwell, The Accord. For a recent addition, seeJoe Collins andDrew Castle, ‘Labor neoliberals or pragmatic neo-Laborists? The Hawke and Keating Labor Governments in Office, 1983-1996’, Labour History, no.98, May2010, pp.25-38. Google Scholar

134.Henry Lee andJim Hagan, ‘The Illawarra’, inJim Hagan(ed.), People and Politics in Regional New South Wales: The 1950s to 2006,Federation Press,, 2006, p.100. Google Scholar

135.Taksa, ‘Workplace, community, mobilisation and labour politics’, p.58. Google Scholar

136.For studies of the impact of employer associations on industrial relations change in this era, seePeter Sheldon andLouise Thornthwaite(eds), Employer Associations and Industrial Relations Change: Catalysts or Captives? Allen & Unwin,, 1999. For a recent addition, seeDamien Cahill, ‘Business mobilisation, the New Right and Australian Labor Governments in the 1980s’, Labour History, no.98, May2010, pp.7-24. Google Scholar

137.Australian Council of Trade Unions/Trade Development Commission, Australia Reconstructed,Economic Planning Advisory Council,, 1987. Google Scholar

138.For an overview of these changes, seeBraham Dabscheck, ‘The slow and agonising death of the Australian experiment with conciliation and arbitration’, Journal of Industrial Relations, vol.43, no.3, pp.277-93. Also, for the period prior to 1996,Braham Dabscheck, The Struggle for Australian Industrial Relations,Oxford University Press,, 1995. Google Scholar

139.Michael Alexander,Roy Green andAndrew Wilson, ‘Delegate structures and strategic unionism: Analysis of factors in union resilience’, Journal of Industrial Relations, vol.40, no.4, December1998, p.665. For similar views, seeDavid Peetz,Barbara Pocock andChris Houghton, ‘Organisers’ roles transformed? Australian union organisers and changing union strategy’, Journal of Industrial Relations, vol.49, no.2, April2007; p.151;David Peetz, Unions in a Contrary World: The Future of the Australian Trade Union Movement,Cambridge University Press,, 1998, p.120;Peetz, Brave New Work Place, p.161;Fairbrother andYates, ‘Unions in crisis’, pp.6-7;Bramble, Trade Unionism in Australia, p.14;Barbara Pocock, ‘Institutional sclerosis: Prospects for trade union transformation’, Labour & Industry, vol.9, no.1, April1998, pp.24-25. Google Scholar

140.Alexander,Green andWilson, ‘Delegate structures and strategic unionism’, pp.663-89;Peetz, Brave New Work Place, pp.164-65;David Peetz, Why Join? Why Stay? Instrumentality, Beliefs, Satisfaction and Individual Decisions on Union Membership, Discussion Paper no. 356, Centre for Economic Policy Research,Australian National University,, 1997;Gerard Griffin andStuart Svensen, ‘The decline of Australian union density: A survey of the literature’, Journal of Industrial Relations, vol.38, no.4, December1996, pp.505-47. The major surveys were,Ron Callus,Alison Morehead,Mark Cully andJohn Buchanan, Industrial Relations at Work: The Australian Workplace Industrial Relations Survey,Australian Government Printing Service,, 1991;Alison Morehead,Mairi Steele,Malcolm Alexander,Kerry Stephen andLinton Duffin, Changes at Work: The 1995 Australian Workplace Industrial Relations Survey,Longman,, 1997. Google Scholar

141.Robert Drago andMark Wooden, The Changing Role of Trade Unions in Australian Workplace Industrial Relations, Discussion Paper Series no. 3,National Institute of Labour Studies,, 1998, p.55. Google Scholar

142.Ian Castles, Australian Social Trends, 1994: Trends in Trade Union Membership,Australian Bureau of Statistics,, 1995, table 3;ABS, Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Members(ABS catalogue no. 6310.0), August2009, p.28. Google Scholar

143.ABS, Employee Earnings, Benefits and Trade Union Members(ABS catalogue no. 6310.0), August2009, pp.31-34. Google Scholar

144.Dabscheck, Struggle for Australian Industrial Relations, pp.30-31;Jim Kitay andRod Power, ‘Exploitation at $1000 per week? The Mudginberri dispute’, Journal of Industrial Relations, vol.29, no.3, September1987, pp.365-400;Simon Blackwood, ‘Doomsday for the Queensland labour movement: The SEQEB dispute and union strategy’, Politics, vol.24, no.1, 1999, pp.68-96. Google Scholar

145.Bruce Hearn Mackinnon, ‘CRA/Rio Tinto in the 1990s: A decade of deunionisation’, Labour History, no.97, November2009, pp.75-96. Google Scholar

146.Michael Barry, ‘Employer associations in coal mining’, inSheldon andThornthwaite(eds), Employer Associations, pp.134-36;Michael Barry andPeter Waring, ‘“Shafted”: Labour productivity and Australian coal miners’, Journal of Australian Political Economy, vol.44, December1999, pp.89-112;Bradley Bowden, ‘Employer associations in road transport’, inSheldon andThornthwaite(eds), Employer Associations, pp.106-13;Patrick O’Leary andPeter Sheldon, ‘Employer militancy in Victoria’s meat industry, 1986-93’, Labour History, no.95, November2008, pp.223-42. For an overview of anti-union strategies in Australian labour history, seeRae Cooper andGreg Patmore, ‘Private detectives, blacklists and company unions: Anti-union employer strategy and Australian labour history’, Labour History, no.97, November2009, pp.1-11. Google Scholar

147.Rae Cooper,Bradon Ellem,Chris Briggs andDianne van den Broek, ‘Anti-unionism, employer strategy, and the Australian state, 1996-2005’, Labor Studies Journal, vol.34, no.3, September2009, pp.339-62. Google Scholar

148.For a comprehensive history of the dispute, seeHelen Trinca andAnne Davies, Waterfront: The Battle that Changed Australia,Doubleday/Random House,, 2000. Google Scholar

149.Australian Council of Trade Unions, Future Strategies for the Trade Union Movement,Australian Council of Trade Unions,, 1987. Google Scholar

150.Dabscheck, Struggle for Australian Industrial Relations, p.135;Michael Costa andMichael Duffy, Labor, Prosperity and the Ninties: Beyond the Bonsai Economy,Federation Press,, 1991, p.107;Barbara Pocock, ‘Trade unionism in 1995’, Journal of Industrial Relations, vol.38, no.1, March1996, p.132. Google Scholar

151.Mark Wooden, ‘Union amalgamations and the decline in union density’, Journal of Industrial Relations, vol.41, no.1, March1999, pp.35-52. Google Scholar

152.Early expositions of the ‘organising model’ in the United States are found inAndy Banks andJack Metzgar, ‘Participating in management: Union organising on a new terrain’, Labor Research Review, vol.14, no.1, 1989, pp.1-55;Tom Conrow, ‘Contract servicing from an organising model: Don’t bureaucratize, organize!’, Labor Research Review, vol.17, no.1, pp.45-59. Google Scholar

153.There is an extensive international literature in support of the ‘organising model’. See, for example, the studies inFairbrother andYates(eds), Trade Unions in Renewal. Also those inKate Bronfenbrenner,Shelton Friedman,Richard W. Hurd,Rudolph A. Oswald andRonald L. Seeber(eds), Organizing to Win: New Research on Union Strategies,IRL Press,, 1998;Kate Bronfenbrenner, ‘The role of union strategies in NLRB certification election’, Industrial and Labor Relations, vol.50, no.2, 1997, pp.195-212;Edmund Heery,Melanie Simms,Dave Simpson,Rick Delbridge andJohn Salmon, ‘Organising unionism comes to the UK’, Employee Relations, vol.22, no.1, 2000, pp.39-52. For the ‘organising model’ in Australia, seePeetz, Brave New Work Places, pp.163-65;Peetz,Pocock andHoughton, ‘Organisers’ roles transformed?’pp.151-66;Rae Cooper, ‘Peak Council organising at work: ACTU Strategy 1994-2000’, Labour & Industry, vol.14, no.1, August2003, pp.1-15;Bob Carter andRae Cooper, ‘The organising model and the management of change: A comparative study of unions in Australia and Britain’, Relations Industrielles/Industrial Relations, vol.57no.4, Autumn2002, pp.712-42;Rae Cooper, ‘Getting organised? A white-collar union responds to membership crisis’, Journal of Industrial Relations, vol.43, no.4, December2001, pp.1-15;Gerard Griffin andRosetta Moors, ‘The fall and rise of organising in a blue-collar union’, Journal of Industrial Relations, vol.46, no.1, March2004, pp.39-52. Google Scholar

154.Cooper, ‘Getting organised?’, pp.1-15;Griffin andMoors, ‘The fall and rise of organising in a blue-collar union’, pp.39-52;Bradon Ellem, ‘“We’re solid”: Union renewal at BHP Iron Ore, 1999-2002’, International Journal of Employment Studies, October2002, pp.23-46;Bradon Ellem, ‘New unionism in the old economy: Community and collectivism in the Pilbara mining towns’, Journal of Industrial Relations, vol.45, no.4, December2003, pp.423-41. Google Scholar

155.Rae Cooper, ‘Trade unionism in 2001’, Journal of Industrial Relations, vol.44, no.2, June2002, pp.247-50;Peetz, Brave New Work Places, p.163;Gerard Griffin, ‘Australian unions: Still in crisis’, inCraig Phelan, Trade Union Reviltalisation: Trends and Perspectives in 34 Countries,Peter Lang,, 2007, p.559. Google Scholar

156.For a critical analysis, seeRuth Barton,D. Snell andPeter Fairbrother, ‘Unions in the Twenty-First Century and beyond: The multiple dimensions of union renewal’, inUnions in the Twenty-First Century and Beyond: The Environment, Politics and Education Conference, 17-18November2008,Monash University,;Bradley Bowden, ‘The organising model in Australia: A reassessment’, Labour & Industry, vol.20, no.2, December2009, pp.138-58. Google Scholar

157.For a detailed study of this campaign, seeKathie Muir, Worth Fighting For: Inside the Your Rights at Work Campaign,UNSW Press,, 2008. Google Scholar

158. Australian, 17-18May2008, pp.1, 19. Google Scholar

159. Sydney Morning Herald, 20September2010, pp.1-2. Google Scholar

160.T. Moroney, ‘Foreword’, inLane, Dawn to Dusk, p.17. Google Scholar

161.Ibid., p.19. Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

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

Details

Author details

Bowden, Bradley