Labour History

The ACTU Congress of 2015

Labour History (2015), 109, (1), 175–192.


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1.“Live Blog: ACTU Congress 2015 Day One,” Working Life, accessed October2015, Google Scholar

2.Ed Davis, “The ACTU Congress of 2012,” Labour History, no. 103(November2012):248. Google Scholar

3.Kevin Rudd returned as Prime Minister in June 2013. For colour, see the ABC’s three-part documentary on these events, The Killing Season, June2015. Google Scholar

4.Ed Davis, “The ACTU Congress of 2006 and its Aftermath,” Labour History, no. 96(May2009):192. Google Scholar

5.Former Prime Minister Julia Gillard was in the witness box at the Royal Commission in September 2014 and questioned in relation to a union “slush” fund. She was cleared of any wrongdoing in December 2014;Sydney Morning Herald, 19 December2014, 1. Opposition Leader Bill Shorten was interviewed in July 2015 in relation to campaign funding and potential conflicts of interest;Sydney Morning Herald, 9 July2015, 1. Google Scholar

6.Davis, “The ACTU Congress of 2012,” 248. Google Scholar

7.Barry O’Farrell fell on his sword following revelations that he had misled the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption. In the light of his trenchant criticisms of corruption within Labor ranks, his position was untenable;Sydney Morning Herald, 17 April2014, 1. Google Scholar

8. World Economic Outlook, April 2015(:International Monetary Fund, 2015), 48, 55. Google Scholar

9.SeeM. Crosby, Power at Work: Rebuilding the Australian Union Movement(:Federation Press, 2005), 12–17. Crosby charted the fall in overall union density from around 45 per cent in 1986 to under 25 per cent in 2004. Google Scholar

10.Ben Schneiders, “ACTU leader Dave Oliver Faces Challenge from His Deputy,” Sydney Morning Herald, 4 February2015, accessed October 2015, Google Scholar

11.Rule 21, ACTU, Constitution, Rules and Standing Orders(as amended by the 2012 Congress) deals with fees and levies. The relevant sections are s.21.2 (“The ACTU Congress or Executive may strike a levy on affiliated unions for the purpose of raising finance to carry out ACTU policy and decisions determined by Congress, or the Executive”) and s.21.5 (“In the years of an ordinary Congress an affiliated union shall not be entitled to attend or in any way participate unless 90 days prior to ordinary Congress starting it is financial in accordance with this rule 21”). Google Scholar

13.ACTU, Financial and Organisational Report, ACTU Congress 2012. Google Scholar

15.ACTU, Constitution, Rules and Standing Orders, s.8.1. Google Scholar

16.ACTU, Delegates Information: ACTU Congress2015, 6–7;Davis, “ACTU Congress of 2012,” 247. Google Scholar

17.ACTU President Ged Kearney, “Opening Address to the ACTU Congress, 2015,” ACTU(website), accessed October 2015, The Royal Commission and the position of Commissioner Dyson Heydon came under intense scrutiny in August 2015 following revelations that he had agreed to speak at a Liberal Party fundraiser. The ACTU and a number of unions argued at the Commission that he should recuse himself, on the basis of an apprehension of bias. The Commissioner indicated that he would remain on the job but there may be more twists ahead on this story;Sydney Morning Herald, 1 September2015, 1, 4–5. Google Scholar

18.The first video was titledJoin for a Better Lifeand can be found on “Live Blog: ACTU Congress 2015 Day One.” This blog was masterminded by veteran journalist and longtime Congress attendee, Andrew Casey. The other videos coveredBuilding a Better Future; occupational health and safety; paid domestic violence leave; APHEDA (Australian People for Health, Education and Development Abroad); the Gonski education reforms; the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees’ Union (SDA) recruitment campaign; racism; the Australian Workers’ Union (AWU) campaign to reserve Australian gas; and a video at the end of Congress which captured delegates’ thoughts and reactions to the Congress. Google Scholar

19.ACTU Secretary, Dave Oliver, “Opening address by ACTU Secretary Dave Oliver to the ACTU Congress 2015,” ACTU (website), accessed October 2015, Google Scholar

20.Davis, “ACTU Congress of 2006,” 198–201. Google Scholar

21. “Launch of the Build a Better Future campaign, Speech by ACTU President Ged Kearney, Melbourne,”26 May2015, ACTU (website), accessed October 2015, Google Scholar

22.Chris Walton had played a major role in the ACTU’sYour Rights at Workcampaign;Davis, “ACTU Congress of 2006,” 198–99. Google Scholar

23.Michael Borowick, “Occupational Health and Safety and Workers’ Compensation Report to ACTU Congress 2015,”26 May2015, ACTU (website), accessed October 2015, Google Scholar

24.Gareth Evans launched the book byDani Cooper, Livelihoods and Liberation Struggles: 30 Years of Australian Worker Solidarity(:APHEDA, 2015). Google Scholar

26.Rae Cooper, “Women in Unions Survey 2015: Interviews with National Secretaries,”document emailed to author byErin McCoy, 23 June2015. Google Scholar

28.Bill Shorten, “Speech to the ACTU Congress, Melbourne,”27 May2015, ACTU (website), accessed October 2015, Google Scholar

30. Australian Financial Review, 28 May2015, 1, 8. Google Scholar

32. Australian, 29 May2015, 1, 4. Google Scholar

33.Davis, “ACTU Congress of 2012,” 250–57. Google Scholar

35.SeeBlind Trust Experiment: Aboriginal Girl Puts Her Faith in Humanity, YouTube, accessed October 2015, Google Scholar

36.Ed Davis, “The ACTU Congress of 2009,” Labour History, no. 97(November2009):178–79;Davis, “ACTU Congress of 2012,” 252, 256. Google Scholar

37.Davis, “ACTU Congress of 2009,” 174–76. Google Scholar

39.ACTU, Constitution, Rules and Standing Orders, s.4.1. Google Scholar

40.Davis, “ACTU Congress of 2012,” 257. Google Scholar

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Author details

Davis, Ed