2001 ASSLH conference: The industrial and political significance of the Queensland Council of Unions, 1922-2000

Simon Fry
University of Southern Queensland


This paper provides an overview of the industrial and political significance of the Queensland Council of Unions from the time of its establishment in 1922 to the present.1 It takes as its starting point Markey’s (1997) conclusions regarding the Labor Council of NSW. According to Markey, the LCNSW “has been pre-eminent amongst the labour councils of Australia with an industrial influence of national proportions.”2 The NSW case epitomises successful labourism in Australia. The NSWLC’s close relationship with the NSW branch of the ALP, the most electorally successful ALP branch in the Commonwealth, has enabled it, through state legislation and arbitration, to become “the main instigator of general improvements to working conditions in Australia.” The NSWLC has led the country in areas such as reduced working hours, extensions of annual leave, long service leave and equal pay.

The LCNSW has for over a century exerted a high degree of control of industrial disputes in NSW; and it has been a major player in state-based test cases. Much of the LCNSW’s stature has derived from its comparatively high membership rates. NSW is the most populous state and union density rates have usually been in excess of the national average. Since the late 1930s, “no major union” has remained unaffiliated to the LCNSW and it has never endured a major split or rival. As a result, the NSW body has, until recently, been better resourced than the ACTU, with for example, 13 full-time staff in 1983.

This paper argues that until the 1980s, in many respects, the QCU represented the antithesis of the NSW case. Of all the state TLCs the Queensland body had played possibly the least significant and least constructive role, within its own jurisdiction. With the exceptions of a few brief periods in which the AWU affiliated, the TLCQ has not, until recent decades, represented a majority of unionists in the state. Moreover, until the Goss Government of 1989, the TLCQ unions had not been significant partners in a successful labourist relationship with a Labor Government.

A major part of the explanation for the relative insignificance of the QCU lies in the unique stature and position of the AWU in Queensland. No other state TLC has faced such a (relative) leviathan as the AWU in Queensland. Only in Queensland, for almost of this century, has a single union rivalled all of the other unions put together, in terms of membership, resources and political influence.

The history of the QCU can be divided into three distinct periods. The first period runs from 1922 until the Labor split in the late 1950s. Compared with other states, the TLCQ was formed relatively late, in 1922. By then, the Labor Party had been in existence for 32 years and it had been in government since 1915. Labor subsequently ruled uninterrupted in Queensland until 1957, with the exception of three years from 1929 to 1932. The Queensland Labor party and Labor Governments throughout this time were more thoroughly dominated by the AWU than was any other Branch dominated by a single union. Whereas in NSW the twin pillars of “labourism” were borne by the Labor Council and the ALP, in Queensland between 1915 and 1957 the AWU virtually single-handedly bore the union pillar of the arguably the most successful and productive labourist relationship in Australian history. In this context, for almost four decades, the TLC adopted the role of the leader of the excluded militant labour “opposition”, essentially comprising those unions opposed to the hated AWU-PLP alliance.

The second period in the TLCQ history runs from the Labor split in the late 1950s until around 1980. The late 1950s saw the breakdown of the forty-year AWU-PLP hegemony. Following the departure of the AWU from the party, the previously excluded TLC unions were able to assume almost total domination of the ALP. The 1960s and 1970s was to be the only time when TLCQ unions were in a dominant position in the party. This period of TLC hegemony coincided with the 32-year period (1957-1989) in which the ALP was out of office in Queensland. Moreover, throughout this period the stature and potence of the TLC was reduced by low rates of affiliation. This was partly due to the non- affiliation of the AWU during this time. In addition, most white-collar and public sector unions remained unaffiliated. Many joined the rival right-wing body, the Combined Industrial Unions Committee. Thus, throughout this period, there were three competing union groups: the TLCQ, the CIUC and the AWU.

The third period runs from the early 1980s to the present day. In many respects, this contemporary era is a high point for the QCU (as it is now known). For the first time (except for brief periods in the past when the AWU affiliated) the QCU represents an overwhelming majority of Queensland unionists. This is partly due to the long-term fall in the relative and absolute size of the AWU, which by the 1980s comprised as little as 13% of state-registered union members. It is also due to the affiliation of large white collar and public sector unions and the demise of the rival right wing union grouping. Moreover, since 1989, for the first time in history, Labor has been in government in Queensland and those governments not been utterly dominated by the AWU; rather, the Trades Halls unions, along with the AWU and the Branches have shared influence over the Goss and Beattie governments.

At the same time, this positive assessment of the contemporary TLCQ needs to be set against a dramatic decline in unionisation generally in the state, along with the rest of Australia: the TLCQ now presides over a much diminished labour movement than that of past decades.

Origins and establishment

Markey’s account emphasises that the NSWLC, which was founded in 1871, is Australia’s oldest peak trade union body and one of the oldest in the world. By contrast, the body now known as the QCU was formed relatively late, in 1922.

There were central trade union bodies in Queensland prior to 1922, the first of which was the Queensland Trades and Labour Council, established in 1885. However, although the Trades and Labor Council of Queensland celebrated its “centenary” in 1985, the institutional continuity between the 1885 organization and the one established in 1922 was tenuous at best. Between 1885 and 1922 a plethora of peak union bodies came and went in Queensland, as the union movement experimented with different organisational forms. By the time the TLCQ was formed, three factors which would influence the nature of the Queensland labour movement and the TLCQ for decades to come had been entrenched. These factors were: the AWU was by far and away the biggest union; the AWU had a strong hold on the ALP; and a deep ideological schism had emerged between the moderate, “labourist”, ruling AWU-PLP axis and the militant unions.

The pre-eminence of the AWU

As noted, a key factor in the TLCQ’s role has derived from the role of the AWU. Much of the significance of the AWU derived from its sheer size relative to the rest of the Queensland union movement. In 1913/14 the AWU constituted about half of the total union membership in the state. (In 1913 total union membership was 44,700 and in 1914 the AWU membership was 22,000.)

In general, the AWU’s relative size has declined ever since. In 1935, after recovering from severe membership losses in the early years of the Depression, AWU membership constituted around one third of total union membership (53,547 out of 148,000). In 1956, when its membership peaked in absolute terms at 83,219, the AWU represented 26% of the Queensland total of 314,800. But by the end of 1999, it still represented 17 per cent of unionists registered in the Queensland system (65,065 out of 384,619).

The enormity of the AWU membership is more starkly demonstrated when it is compared with the membership of the TLCQ affiliates. In 1956, for example, the AWU’s 83,219 membership alone was equal to about two thirds of the membership of the rest of the TLCQ affiliates put together. Although the AWU was affiliated at times (1922-27, 1929-39 and 1957-58), it did not need the TLCQ because it was “strong enough to exist on its own.”3 Moreover, until recent years the voting structure of the TLCQ, which capped the maximum number of votes which any union could have, prevented AWU domination of the Council which its enormous membership would have delivered on a proportional system.


Whereas the LCNSW has invariably had a high proportion of NSW unionists affiliated with it, the TLCQ has for most of its existence represented a minority of Queensland unionists. This is partly due to the non-affiliation of the AWU, which has affiliated for a total of only 19 years (1922-27, 1929-29 and 1957-58). Another equally significant factor was the non-affiliation of white-collar, professional and public sector unions until the 1980s and 1990s.

At the time of its establishment the TLCQ was fairly representative of trade union membership in the state. Forty-six unions, from all categories of unions including the AWU, were represented at the inaugural meeting of the TLCQ on 12 April. In 1923 (figures are unavailable for 1922) its affiliates (including the AWU) had between 72,903 and 80,897 members. This represents something between 77 and 86 per cent of the total 94, 211 unionists in state registered unions. Most of the larger unaffiliated unions were white collar and public sector unions: the Teachers (3,966), State Service (2,031) and Nurses (908) unions. However, by 1940 affiliated unions had less than half of registered members between them (that is, between 86,416 and 96,062 members out of 195,187). This was largely due to the disaffiliation of the AWU, which had 66,017 registered members, but the number of unionists in other unaffiliated unions had also grown to 33,108, or 17% of registered unionists.

The brief re-affiliation of the AWU in the late 1950s, then with 82,523 members, boosted the numbers considerably. In 1956 TLC President Egerton was boasting that Council had 200,000 members.4 This figure was probably an exaggeration, but even at face value it meant the TLC had only 69% of registered unionists. A few years later, in 1961, with the disaffiliation of the AWU, the total registered membership of those affiliated unions which were state registered was 116,433, or a mere 39% of state-registered unionists. The total affiliated membership was around 100,000.5

The TLCQ remained a relatively small, unrepresentative body until the 1980s, during which it experienced a major influx of white collar, professional and public sector unions. As late as 1983, in the only analysis of the comparative affiliation rates of all state TLCs, Queensland had the lowest rate, at 58%. There followed Tasmania 61%, SA 71%, WA 74%, Northern Territory 80%, ACT 83%, Victoria 91% and NSW 96%.6 By 1994, the TLCQ Secretary estimated the total membership to be 300,000, which represents 71% of the state registered unionists.7 The TLCQ had not enjoyed these levels of affiliations since the disaffiliation of the AWU in 1939. At the end of the century, the AWU remained one of only eight unions, and one of only three substantial unions not affiliated (AWU 65,065; Shop Assistants 34,834; Property Sales Association 2,276). Altogether they had a registered membership of 102,573 or 26.7% of total state- registered unions.

Up against the leviathan: 1922 to 1957

Markey paints a very positive picture of the great successes achieved by the NSWLC-ALP alliance. If any state Labor regime surpasses the NSW case in terms of delivering tangible reforms and benefits for the working people, it must be the Queensland governments from 1915 to 1957. Some of the innovations of that regime include: state labour exchanges (1915) and state regulation of private exchanges; nationalised workers compensation; unemployment insurance (1922); statutory 48-hour working week (1916) and 44-hour week (1924); strong preference clauses for unions which led to the highest rates of unionisation in the country ( 81% in 1948); extensive price and rent controls; nationalised health system and universal, free public hospital treatment; and industrial awards, through Queensland Industrial Court, that were generally “superior…to those of the Commonwealth Arbitration Court and many of the,awards of other state tribunals”.8 As Murphy concludes: “In 1938, Queensland had the lowest level of unemployment of any of the states, the highest average weekly wage, the lowest average number of hours worked per employee each week, and the lowest index figure for the cost of living.”9

The TLCQ’s role and contribution to what was arguably the most successful Labor regime of all time was very little. The Labor Governments from 1915 to 1957 were in many senses AWU governments. Unlike the NSW situation, in which the NSWLC played a pivotal role in the Labourist relationship, that role in Queensland fell largely on the AWU. Although “a significant minority of the Trades Hall unions could always be relied upon to support the dominant AWU/PLP axis”, generally, the bulk of the TLCQ unions were excluded from the AWU-PLP alliance.10 Instead, for the most part, the TLCQ unions adopted a role of industrial opposition to the AWU- Labor Government.

Writers on the TLCQ are divided about how effective the TLCQ was at its oppositional role. For example, according the Fitzgerald and Thornton, the “long accustomed role” of the TLCQ up until the split was that of “an impotent and divided minority forum for the militant fringe and as an umbrella for the many small unions.”11 Similarly, Murphy argues that from its establishment in 1922 the TLCQ was merely “a Brisbane Trades and Labour Council and had little influence outside the capital city”. Moreover, “because its affiliation fees were low, it did not have the resources to become and initiating or co-ordinating force among the Brisbane unions.”12 It was not until “significant changes” occurred in the 1950s and 1960s that the organization gained state-wide influence, “and although unions retained their traditional autonomy, the Trades and Labour Council disputes committee provided the central co-ordination of union activity during strikes”13

These unflattering views contrast with those of Armstrong, who argues that from the outset it played an important role in opposing the AWU/ALP Government. By this account, the Government’s support for a five per cent wage cut for public servants in 1922 “gave the Trades and Labour Council an issue which allowed it to rally the unions behind it.” In the ensuing conflict, the TLCQ “was an important means of organising opposition and formulating ideas for the whole state in counteracting government actions”; and henceforth, it became accepted by an increasing number of unions as the central voice and organising agency for the Queensland industrial movement.”14

The truth lies somewhere in between.

In any event, the TLCQ can claim some credit for some of the achievements during this period:
1. The statutory restoration of the five shillings cut made to the Basic Wage by the Labor regime in 1922. 15
2. The 44-hour week that was introduced by the government in 1925 as part of a compromise with the Trades Hall militants.16
3. The 1948 Railway Strike, which arose from the refusal of the Queensland industrial court, with Queensland government support, to fully flow on national increases in margins to Queensland tradesmen The strike was co- ordinated by the Central Disputes Committee of the TLCQ “and the industrial issue was eventually settled in their favour.”17

Ideology in TLCQ 1922-1957

As noted, one major cause of tension between the AWU-ALP government and the TLCQ unions was ideological. By 1919 the AWU/PLP alliance had repudiated radical change and were firmly embarked on a policy of pragmatic, moderate reform. By contrast, many Trades Hall unions were veering in the opposite direction.

Although the Communist Party was made a proscribed organization within the ALP in 1925, the party “was never a force in the unions in the 1920s”18 However, in 1926 several left-wing TLCQ unions formed a body called the “Minority Labour Movement” whose objective was “to clean the Labour Movement of the reactionary element which at present controls”.19 Although this organization was short-lived, the TLC subsequently attempted to form “a political ‘Industrial Section’ under the control of the TLC and independent of the ALP.”20

It was during this time that several moderate unions, including the shop assistants and the clerks disaffiliated from the TLCQ. The AWU also disaffiliated in 1928 but rejoined the following year. By the 1930s, the CPA had achieved considerable “support and strength inside Queensland unions, as it did elsewhere in Australia.”21 This influence increased considerably during the 1940s and this was reflected in the leadership of the TLCQ. Between 1942 and 1969 the secretaries of the TLCQ were communists. The peak of Communist influence was during the 1940s. In 1947 the anti-communist Industrial Groups were formed in Queensland, initially with the support of the ALP leadership and the AWU.

The Egerton years: TLCQ control of the ALP from the late 1950s to the 1980s

This four-decade era of Labor Governments and AWU dominance of the Labor Party came to an end in the late 1950s. In 1957, Premier Gair, who had come under the influence of the right-wing groupers, was expelled from the party, taking with him all of the Cabinet, half the PLP and several right wing unions. That same year the ALP lost government. With the associated breakdown of the AWU-PLP nexus, and the loss of some of its ALP union allies, in 1958 the TLCQ group had the numbers to remove the AWU’s Bukowski from the Presidency of the ALP. In retaliation the AWU disaffiliated from the party in 1959. In the AWU’s absence, the TLCQ group set about altering the operation of the Party to prevent the AWU regaining control upon their inevitable re-affiliation. By 1963, the Trades Hall grouping had won almost total domination of the party.22

The TLCQ Old Guard maintained a strong grip on the party until Federal intervention in 1978 and 1980 created the conditions for their removal from power. It was not until the creation of an “unholy alliance” between the Socialist Left faction of the ALP and the AWU that 1986 that the last vestiges of the Old Guard control over the Party were removed.23

The nature of the Trades Hall regime during the Egerton years (1960s and 1970s)

Much of what has been written about the TLCQ regime during this time has been written by opponents of what they have termed, the “Old Guard” in the ALP. These accounts reflect an uncertainty about the real nature of the Old Guard.24 Some things are clear. The group was based around TLC President Egerton, who was a masterful tactician and organiser. Despite coming from a small union base of his own, Egerton was able to bring together a group of unions that was able to assume almost total control of the ALP for over two decades. Fitzgerald and Thornton state that Egerton’s history of opposition to “the growth of the Industrial Groups…helped him gain support from Trades Hall elements to the ideological Left of the Labor Party, such as the ARU.”25

The Egerton Trades Hall group was somewhat authoritarian. Guille writes of the “demands for conformity and control”; Fitzgerald and Thornton write of “purges” of those forces which had dominated the labour movement for the previous four decades; and a propensity to “discredit or exclude anyone allegedly aligned with the AWU or indeed anyone differing from the correct ideological line”26 The new regime also involved the re-assertion of the primacy of the industrial rather than the political wing of the labour movement and “of industrial struggle over the electoral game and parliamentary leaders.”27

There is some conjecture and uncertainty about the ideological and policy positions of the TLCQ leadership at this time. According to Swan, “in the 1960s it was equated with the left of the ALP in the 1960s, in the 80s it was synonymous with the right.”28 Guille states that the Old Guard left the party “without any sense of what social changes were needed”. And Fitzgerald and Thornton note: “just what [their] correct ideological line consisted in is hard…to identify”.29 Fitzgerald and Thornton acknowledge that the TLC grouping was certainly “leftist” in terms of foreign policy issues such as intervention in Malaya, US military bases. But they contend that “matters of ‘social policy’, such as education, civil liberties, and reform of the various statutes and pay practices discriminating against women, were less evident on the Trades Hall platform”. This is clearly at odds with the documented history and the recollections of those associated with the TLCQ particularly during the 1970s. By these accounts, the TLCQ was at the centre of an almost continuous series of protests, political strikes and agitation on issues such as uranium, the South African Springbok tours, French nuclear tests, the environment and many aspects of the Bjelke-Petersen regime such as civil  liberties. During this time it was the TLCQ which provided leadership and co-ordination to a broader left-wing coalition of dissent which included academics, student groups, and the churches.

Part of the explanation for the disparity may lie in the different composition of the TLCQ group that dominated the ALP and the leadership of the TLCQ itself. The wider TLCQ executive at this time was made up of two groups: the ALP-aligned Egerton group and the communists. The Egerton group was made up of unions such as the TWU, ETU, Miscellaneous Workers and the Postal Workers. Within the Labor Party, at a national level, Egerton himself fell within the centre rather than the left. The communists, including TLC Vice President Hughie Hamilton, came from unions such as the AMWU and the BWIU. The two groups were able to co-exist in the TLC, sharing power between them. However, it was the Egerton, non-communist group alone which dominated the ALP. Although the unions with communist leadership were affiliated with the ALP, they tended not to be capable of exercising leadership or power within the party, because the leaders of those unions were not members of the ALP. Thus, during this period, “the inner executive of the ALP was effectively the TLC executive minus the left.”30

In any event, the TLCQ can claim substantial credit in preventing destruction of national and international environmental treasures such as the Great Barrier Reef, Fraser Island and the coloured sands of Cooloola.31 32  This record bears favourable comparison with the NSWLC’s record in failing to assist those unions in the 1970s which sought to save NSW heritage icons such as The Rocks.

TLCQ industrial relations role in the Egerton years

Under Egerton the TLCQ maintained its militant rhetorical stance against the “rigid compulsory arbitration system, with its inbuilt penal clauses and bias against trade union activity”. This stance was contrasted with that of the AWU. According to Egerton, “whilst it is claimed Arbitration has protected minimum standards, we do not agree. Many unions have been able to do far better by collective bargaining than by Arbitration procedures”.33 At the same time, the TLC was in intense competition with the AWU and the CIUC to be the chief advocate at state wage case hearings. The TLC remained the focus around which its affiliated unions organised collective bargaining claims and headed off demarcation challenges from potential new unions and the hated AWU.34


As Markey notes, the LCNSW had endured no serious rival union bodies. In contrast, for over two decades after 1960, there existed in Queensland a rival, right-wing union body, the Combined Industrial Unions Council. The CIUC was comprised of National Civic Council, white-collar and public sector unions.

The CIUC was never a serious threat to the TLCQ’s status as the state branch of the ACTU. Even so, the CIUC was no mere trifle. The unions that attended its inaugural meeting had a combined membership of 153, 538, including 72,114 for the AWU.35 By contrast (as noted above) in 1961 the member unions of the TLCQ were affiliating on a total membership of around 100,000; and the registered membership of those unions was around 122,000.36 Although the AWU did not remain a CIUC “affiliate” for long, the CIUC could still claim the allegiance of unions with a combined membership comparable to the TLCQ. In fact, before long the three groups (TLCQ, CIUC, AWU) were all acting independently of each other, “for example making distinct and sometimes different applications to state wage cases”37 a situation that persisted until at least 1983.38

The modern era: the 1980s and 1990s

The third and contemporary era of TLCQ history began in the early 1980s. The stranglehold which the TLC Old Guard maintained on the ALP was only broken after a period of intense and bitter struggle by the reformists. Ending their control required a number of factors: two periods of Federal intervention (1979 and 1980); the growth of a vigorous and popular reform movement in the branches; and the re-affiliation of the AWU. It also required the breakdown of the alliance between the Old Guard grouping and the old communist (now Socialist Left) unions such as the AMWU and the BWIU. It took until 1986, with the formation of the “unholy alliance” between the re-affiliated AWU and the Socialist Left faction to finally prise the TLCQ Old Guard control from the party.

In stark contrast to the protracted and bitter battles in the ALP, which remained divided and unelectable until late 1980s, the transition from Old Guard domination to the modern era in the TLCQ was achieved relatively peacefully and without trauma. The old Guard continued to have some power, but having realised the “prevailing mood” of the Council was contrary to the old way of doing things, they became “less dictatorial” and more inclusive.39

Meanwhile, another development was underway which would change the face of the TLCQ and diminish the relevance of the Old Guard versus Socialist Left battle: the affiliation of several large, white-collar, public sector and professional unions, many of which were comprised predominantly of female members. Most of these unions were affiliating for the first time, for example Municipal Officers (1982), Bank Employees (1983) and Nurses Unions (1986). Others were rejoining after the fading of bygone enmities and other political changes. For example, the Queensland State Service Union (1990/91) had fallen under grouper influence during the 1950s and had disaffiliated in 1959/60. Similarly, the FCU had been the backbone of the NCC grouping in Queensland since the 1950s. A Socialist Left reform group had finally wrested control of the union in the mid-1980s and the FCU re-affiliated to the TLCQ for the first time since the 1920s.

The change of guard at the FCU also saw the demise of the CIUC in the mid-1980s, which meant that the TLCQ was now the only peak trade union body in the state. Some of these newly affiliated unions became the new giants of the TLCQ. Of the four QCU affiliates with more than 20,000 members in 1999, three were “new” unions: the Teachers (36,215), the Queensland Public Sector Union (26,630) and the Nurses (26,381). They joined the Liquor and Miscellaneous Workers (26,009); AMWU (19,877), TWU (16, 248) and Electrical Trades (15, 297) as the key players in the Council. By contrast, some of the once-mighty blue-collar industrial unions of the past were now relative minnows: the Rail, Tram and Bus Industry Union (incorporating the former ARU) had 7,204 members and the Meat Industry Union 5,302. And, under the new rules that allocated votes according to affiliated membership numbers, these new large affiliates have come to dominate the Council.

The increasing representativeness and stature of the QCU also was assisted by the stagnation, in relative terms, of the AWU. The AWU (65,065 members) is now one of only two unions of any significance that remained unaffiliated. The other is the Shop Assistants (34,834). The next biggest unaffiliated employee organisation is the Property Sales Association of Queensland, Union of Employees with 2,276. Throughout the 1980s the AWU’s share of registered union members in the state fluctuated between 10 and 19 per cent.

To be sure, the AWU has re-asserted itself as an important factional player in the party, but in no sense could the Goss and Beattie governments be characterised as “AWU” government as of old. Rather, power within the party during this period has been shared between the AWU factions and three factions based around TLCQ unions: Labor Unity, Labor Left and Socialist Left. In addition, both of the recent premiers have exercised a degree of personal influence over and above the factional system.

Thus, since 1989 the TLCQ unions have, for the first time exercised a significant influence over a Labor government; that is, they have been engaged in successful “labourist” relationships.


This paper has used Markey’s assessment of the LCNSW as a template or point of comparison for an assessment of the industrial and political significance of the TLCQ. While the NSWLC has consistently been one of the premier labour bodies in the country, the TLCQ has struggled to establish its status as pre-eminent union body in its own state. For most of this century, the TLCQ has been overshadowed by the local union leviathan, the AWU.

Markey’s positive assessment of the NSWLC is clearly written from a “labourist” perspective. This paper has argued that for most of its existence, the TLCQ has fallen short by the “labourist” standards of the Markey and the NSWLC. For the first four decades of its existence, the TLCQ stood apart, or opposed, one of the most successful labourist regimes in Australian history. When the TLCQ finally gained control of the Queensland Labor machine, (during the 1960s and 1970s) the TLCQ presided over one of the most electorally unacceptable Labor branches in the country, that had virtually resigned itself to the status of permanent opposition.

It can reasonably be argued, however, that it is unfair to judge the QCU on the basis of an ideology and strategy that it has specifically repudiated for most of its existence. For most of its existence, the prevailing ideology of the QCU rejected the tepid reformism inherent in the labourist regimes of the NSWLC and the Queensland AWU. Instead, the QCU has generally adopted loftier aims of raising working class consciousness and challenging capitalist hegemony through direct action.
1 During its 78 years of existence, the QCU has undergone two name changes. From 1922 until 1 July 1993 it was the Trades and Labor Council of Queensland. From 1 July 1993 to 1998 it was the Australian Council of Trade Unions, Queensland Branch. Since 1998 (approx) it has been Queensland Council of Unions.
2 Ray Markey 1997. “The Industrial and Political Significance of the Labor Council of NSW”, Labour & Industry, vol. 7, no. 3, April, p. 43.
3 Murphy, D.J. 1983. “Trade Unions”, in The Big Strikes Queensland 1889-1965’ (ed) D.J. Murphy. St. Lucia: Uni of Queensland Press, p. 40.
4 J.Egerton, “1956 President’s Address, research notes prepared by J. Harris”, in Fryer Box 88, TUC Reports 1, Book entitled “QTUC 1954-55-56”
5 This figure is based on a list titled “Affiliation Fees” from the TLCQ files. Fryer Box 292, Red Folder titled “Affiliation Fees 1958-1966”. This listed the affiliated membership for 34 of the TLC’s 37 unions, which came to a total of 86299. That is, the list omitted the affiliated membership figures for three unions. I have added in, from the Annual Report of the Pres of the Industrial Court of Queensland the registered number of members for the three missing unions: ARU 10,000; Musicians Union 1527; Qld Colliery Employees 2470; to give a total of 100,296.
6 D.W. Rawson and S. Wrightson 1984. Australian Unions 1984’ Sydney: Croom Helm, p. 19
7 ACTUQ 1994/95 Directory. Brisbane: ACTUQ, p 5
8 Murphy, “Labor Relations—Issues”, in Murphy, Joyce and Hughes, Labor in Power, p. 252
9 Murphy “Labour Relations—Issues, p. 263
10  Fitzgerald, R. and H. Thornton. 1989. Labor in Queensland From the 1880s to 1988. St Lucia: Uni of Queensland Press, p. 150.
 11 Fitzgerald and Thornton, p. 150.
12 Murphy “Trade Unions”, p. 40
13 Murphy, “Trade Unions”, p. 43
14 Armstrong, John Brian, 1975. “Closer Unity in the Queensland Trades Union Movement” 1900-1922”, M.A. Thesis, University of Queensland, p. 253
15 Fitzgerald and Thornton, p. 164.
16 Fitzgerald and Thornton, 37
17  Guille, H. 1989. “Industrial and political unity: lessons from the North”, in Australian Unions An Industrial Relations Perspective, 2nd ed. (eds) B. Ford and D. Plowman. South Melbourne: Macmillan, 181.
18 Murphy “Trade Unions”, 42
19 Murphy “Organization, Structure & Finance”, 21
20 Murphy “Organization, Structure & Finance”, 21
21 Murphy, “Trade Unions”, 43
22 Fitzgerald and Thornton, 184
23 Fitzgerald and Thornton, 350
24 Guille, “Industrial and Political”; Swan, W. 1991. “The Labor Party”. In (eds) R. Whip and C.A. Hughes, Political Crossroads; The 1989 Queensland Election. St Lucia: UQP; Fitzgerald & Thornton 1989.
25 Fitzgerald and Thornton, 149.
26 Fitzgerald and Thornton, 184.
27 Fitzgerald and Thornton, 184
28 Swan, “The Labor Party”, 100
29 Fitzgerald and Thornton, 184
30  Mclean, I. 2000. Interview with author, 14 December 2000. Brisbane. Author’s notes.
31 QTLC, “Trade Unions in Australia”, undated, circa early 1970’s
32 Hamilton, H.R. 1972. “Trade Unions in the 1970s”. Paper presented by HR Hamilton, BWIU State President, to 10th State Delegate Convention of BWIU, Brisbane, July 12-15, p. 2
33 Egerton, “Queensland TLC 30-3-67”, speech. In Fryer Coll. 118, Acc. 940510, Box 1, File 2
34 Egerton, Project Meetings, From Fryer 118, Box 90, Book entitled “1969 Qld TUC”
35 Industrial Court of Queensland 1962. First Annual Report of the President of the Industrial Court of Queensland, 3-4
36 TLCQ 1961?, Paper titled “Affiliation Fees”, in Folder titled “Affiliation Fees 1958-1966”, in Fryer Coll 118, Box 292
37 Guille, 183
38 TLCQ, Minutes of Council. 18 May 1983. From Fryer Library, UQFL 118, Parcel 46
39 Mclean.