Politics

Jan 25, 2006

Tracking the unionists in parliament

Just how strong is the bond between the union movement and the Labor Party?

Just how strong is the bond between the union movement and the Labor Party? To find out, it's time to update our list of every former unionist in our Parliaments across the country. Send all corrections and additions to [email protected] and there'll be a few as we haven't updated this since 2006. We're already into the hundreds as we're also listing unsuccessful candidates from 2004 and former MPs with union backgrounds.

Unionists currently in Australian parliaments

Dick Adams: the Federal member for Lyons was a meat worker who rose to be union organiser with the Australian Meat Industries Employees' Union and the Liquor and Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers' Union.

Michael Aird: Tassie upper house member who worked for an unknown union.

Anthony Albanese: the Federal MP for Grayndler and prominent lefty hails from the AMWU faction although there is a question mark over whether he actually worked for them.

Pam Allan: Wentworthville MP in NSW and former Minister who came from the NSW Teacher's Federation.

Marie Andrews: Peats MP in NSW. Upon leaving school at 15, undertook business course (shorthand/typing) and later word processor. For 17 years, private Secretary to NSW Branch Secretary, Australian Railway Unions, now Public Transport Union.

Michael Atkinson: SA Attorney-General and Oberfuhrer of the Right. Well, he was a member of the AJA (now MEAA) when a journo at The Advertiser, and is still a member of the ASU. His father was head of the DLP in SA when it existed.

Jim Bacon: The late Tasmanian premier was formerly Secretary of the Tasmanian Trades and Labor Council and a member of the ACTU Executive, as well as being a delegate to the ILO's International Labor Conference. Prior to that, he was an official, then State Secretary, of the BLF. Not bad for a toffie former Scotch College boy out of Melbourne.

Ken Bacon: the member for Bass in the Tassie Parliament came out of the TWU.

John Bartlett: MLA for Port Stephens in NSW and President of the Port Stephens Teachers Association.

Peter Batchelor: The Victorian Transport Minister did 10 years with the quaintly named Furnishing Union from 1973-83.

Peter Beattie: The Queensland Premier was the former State Secretary of the Queensland Railway Employees Union. He is a member of the MEAA.

Liz Beattie: Victorian member for Tullamarine and an ASU Organiser and Victorian Trades Hall Council Buildings Manager to MLA for Yuroke

Wayne Berry: The Speaker of the ACT Legislative Assembly was formerly head of the Firemen's Union.

Brenton Best: the member for Braddon in Tassie also came out of the TWU.

Arch Bevis: the Federal member for Brisbane was a teacher who rose to become an organiser and then deputy general secretary of the Queensland Teachers' Union 1980-90.

Senator Mark Bishop: a former State Secretary of the SDA in Western Australia and was also the WA state secretary of the National Union of Workers (NUW). For a while he was also in charge of the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union and the Hairdressers' and Wigmakers Union. A unionist with many wigs it seems.

Stephen Dominic Bredhauer: the former Queensland Minister for Transport and Main Roads was formerly a union organiser for the Queensland Teachers Union.

Clive Brown: WA minister for trade and state development and a former secretary of the LHMWU in WA. He was also state secretary of the Miscellaneous Workers' Union from 1976 to 1978 and later president and then secretary of the Trades and Labor Council.

John Brumby: The Victorian Treasurer started out as a Teachers Union official and is a toffy Melbourne Grammar old boy.

Geoff Buckland: the SA senator is a former SA State Secretary of the Federated Ironworkers' Union but just before leaping into the ailing John Quirke's still-warm seat he was the AWU's Whyalla branch secretary.

Meredith Burgmann: President of the NSW Legislative Council. Life Member, National Tertiary Education Union and member of various Green groups.

Anna Burke: the federal Member for Chisholm in Melbourne's east has a heavy union background as an Industrial Officer at VicRoads and the Victorian Institute of Technology before becoming an industrial officer for the Finance Sector Union.

Tony Burke: Labor's federal shadow immigration spokesman hails from the SDA.

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