Change at the top of Australia’s unions
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The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), the peak body and sister organisation of the TUC, is about to change its Secretary, with Dave Oliver taking over from Jeff Lawrence (former nurses’ union leader Ged Kearney stays as President.) He was profiled in Melbourne-based The Age newspaper today.
Dave Oliver is currently head of the manufacturing union AMWU, and comes from the left of the movement like Jeff – who came from the services sector union United Voice. And it may presage a shift of emphasis to concentrate on manufacturing which has been hit by the strength of the Australian dollar while the rest of the economy has boomed.
But the main reason given by union leaders for the change is the need to revitalise the movement and project a younger, more active image, as Labor fights for its life in the next General Election. The ALP’s rising state Labor star, Premier Anna Bligh, just saw a Liberal landslide almost wipe the ALP in her state of Queensland, following the recent, not-quite-so-bad-but-still-bad-enough loss in New South Wales.