2011 ASSLH conference – Much more than green bans


Much more than green bans: locating the New South Wales Builders Labourers’ Federation in the history of international trade unionism

Verity Burgmann and Meredith Burgmann


The green bans movement of the New South Wales Builders Labourers’ Federation (NSWBLF) was immensely significant, but has tended to overshadow the union’s other achievements. This paper marks the fortieth anniversary of its green bans that commenced in 1971 by offering a more broad-ranging tribute to this extraordinary union. Well before ‘new social movement theory’ developed the derogatory terminology of ‘old’ social movement to caricature unions as uninterested in issues beyond the workplace or forms of oppression other than class, the NSWBLF confounded this stereotype. It combined industrial militancy and a tendency to encroach seriously on traditional managerial prerogatives with ultra-democratic organisational forms and serious commitment to environmental protection and the rights of women, migrants, Aborigines and homosexuals. In short, it epitomised the radical possibilities of a juncture between ‘old’ and ‘new’ social movements: the best of both worlds.

The NSWBLF can thus be seen as a pioneer in the history of international trade unionism, a harbinger of much later trends in union organisation and mobilisation. Although the circumstances of the times differed, the NSWBLF was a precursor of the ‘social-movement unionism’ that arises at the very end of the twentieth century, and which is lauded in labour studies scholarship as a welcome sign of labour movement ‘revitalisation’ and an appropriate retort to the misrepresentation of labour movements in new social movement theory. The NSWBLF clearly meets the five characteristics of social-movement unionism outlined by Kim Moody’s major study of the phenomenon: militancy; internal democracy; an agenda for radical social and economic change; a determination to embrace the diversity of the working class in order to overcome its fragmentation; and a capacity to appeal beyond its membership by using union power to lead community struggles. As we rightly celebrate the fortieth anniversary of the NSWBLF’s momentous green bans, it is worth acknowledging much more than this: that the NSWBLF was in all its aspects a union a quarter of a century ahead of its time.

Verity Burgmann is Professor of Political Science at the University of Melbourne. She is the author of numerous publications on labour movement history and politics, protest movements, radical ideologies and environmental politics. Her books include: ‘In Our Time’: Socialism and the Rise of Labor (1985); Power and Protest (1993); Revolutionary Industrial Unionism (1995); Green Bans, Red Union (University 1998); Unions and the Environment (2002); and Power, Profit and Protest (2003). In 1999 she was elected a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. Her current book projects are on international labour movement resistance to globalization and Australian climate movement politics.

Meredith Burgmann was radicalised by her early anti-war and anti-apartheid activities and subsequently became involved in the early feminist movement in the 1970s. She worked as an academic for 20 years researching areas such as equal pay and the situation of Aboriginal women. She was the first woman President of the Academics Union of NSW. She was elected to Parliament in 1991 and was President of the NSW Legislative Council from 1999-2007. Meredith is the founder of the Ernie Awards for sexist behaviour which have been awarded since 1993. She has recently written (with Yvette Andrews) The Ernies Book: 1000 Terrible Things Australian Men have Said About Women (2007). Her previous book was about the early environmental movement, Green Bans, Red Union: Environmental Activism and the NSW Builders Labourers’ Federation (1998).



It is now forty years since the New South Wales Builders Labourers’ Federation (NSWBLF) initiated the ‘green bans movement’. This movement was momentous— but it has distracted attention from the other extraordinary aspects of this union. The NSWBLF covered unskilled and certain semi-­skilled workers employed on building sites and had about 11,000 members in the early 1970s. It was committed to ‘the social responsibility of labour’: it argued that workers had a right to insist that their labour not be used in harmful ways and that the organised labour movement should concern itself with all manner of social and political issues. In practising this ‘new concept of unionism’,1 it was guided by many committed officials, influenced by New Left ideology with its emphasis on equality, participatory democracy and direct action, but especially outstanding as leaders of this union were Jack Mundey, Joe Owens and Bob Pringle.

In celebration of the fortieth anniversary of the green bans, this paper chooses to focus attention on the NSWBLF more generally as a union that confounds the caricature in ‘new social movement theory’ of trade unionism as an ‘old’ social movement uninterested in issues beyond the workplace or forms of oppression other than class. In fact, it epitomised the radical possibilities of a juncture between ‘old’ and ‘new’ social movements before these terms developed in new social movement theory from the late 1970s. It was, in short, a union ahead of the best trends of late twentieth-­century unionism, a forerunner of what became lauded as social-­movement unionism, which combines the industrial characteristics of the ‘old’ movement at its most militant with the organisational principles and social progressivism of the ‘new’ social movements.

The phenomenon of social-­movement unionism was welcomed by labour movement scholars as proof that Manuel Castells was wrong that ‘the labor movement fades away as a major source of social cohesion and workers’ representation’.2 The academic literature never denied the terrible impact of globalisation on working-­class organisation.3 Beverly Silver commenced her major study of workers’ movements and globalisation since 1870 by acknowledging an almost complete consensus in the social science literature of the 1980s and 1990s that labour movements were in a general and severe crisis.Signs of life on the part of unions were thus eagerly sought. In 1998 some invoked the metaphor of the phoenix arising from the ashes.5 Less portentously, a 2000 edited collection noted ‘very definite signs of renewed labour activity across the globe’.6 In 2003 the European Journal of Industrial Relations devoted a special issue to ‘labour movement revitalization’.7

Social-­movement unionism was seized upon as important evidence of revitalisation. First coined by Peter Waterman,8 the term ‘social-­movement unionism’ was popularised in Kim Moody’s Workers in a Lean World in 1997, which studied its rise in the 1990s in North and South America, South Africa, South Korea and parts of the Third World.9 Moody argues this more class-­ conscious unionism often constituted a challenge to existing, conservative union structures and is characterised by: militancy; internal democracy; an agenda for radical social and economic change; a determination to embrace the diversity of the working class in order to overcome its fragmentation; and a capacity to appeal beyond its membership by using union power to ‘lead the fight for everything that affects working people in their communities and the country’.10

Studies of social-­movement unionism point to it as confirmation of the capacity of unionism not only to effect social change but to transform itself and thereby flourish once more.11 Identifying social-­movement unionism or ‘social unionism’ as crucial to both effective action and union renewal, Lowell Turner’s Introduction to a 2007 edited collection on Labor in the New Urban Battle Grounds notes of the best and brightest social unions of the American twenty-­first century:

The social union concept includes, therefore, both social coalition building and the drive to expand a social justice infrastructure. Coalition-­based campaigns are typically framed as battles for social justice. Expanded union participation in alliance with social groups acknowledges the multiple identities so important to the politics of contemporary campaigns. Urban labor movements find essential allies in social groups organized around the interests of immigrants, women, minorities, consumers, and communities.12

This description rings true of the NSWBLF in the early 1970s. To commemorate this union that spectacularly prefigures the social-­movement unionism of the 1990s, its record will be assessed according to the characteristics in Moody’s typology of the salient features of social-­movement unionism.


Continual, successful wage campaigns, conducted by this union from 1970 to 1974, resulted in substantial real wage increases.13 The union was unrelenting also in its pressure on employers to provide the best possible working conditions. A union circular to organisers advocated that decisions on standards must be made by the workers concerned: ‘DON’T LET THE BOSS DECIDE FOR YOU’.14 Workers would refuse to work in extreme heat or in the rain— and the union ensured they received full pay nonetheless.15

Mundey persistently argued that ‘Without militancy we will not improve the life of the worker’.16 He reckoned that ‘Most militant workers have been critical for years of the general passivity displayed in strikes, and the failure of communists and others on the left to really force the issues’.17 When Labor was elected to power in December 1972 after twenty-­three years of Coalition rule, Mundey stated there was a danger that the union movement would be ‘too co-­ operative’ with the new government and stressed the continuing need for workers to take direct action to demand ‘a bigger share of the cake and more social progress for the workers.18 In 1978, Mundey assessed the union’s record: ‘We were pushing things up to the employers. We as a union had changed’.19

The union was prepared when necessary to practise industrial sabotage. During a long strike in 1970, rank-­and-­file members engaged in spontaneous demolition of work carried out by strikebreakers.20 If an employer did not accede to a demand, the breaking of concrete pours— or threat thereof— was not uncommon. Another tactic was destruction of equipment. For instance, when a company in central Sydney commenced excavation of a site with no washbasins or toilets, the workers on the site hurled a compressor into the very deep hole in the ground that had been excavated. When the workers returned the next day, they found four fully lined sheds, three toilets and a full row of washbasins.21

A well-­known NSWBLF adage reminded the officials: ‘Never eat the boss’s lunch unless you occupy the site and find it on his desk’.22 The NSWBLF developed serious strategies for encroachment upon managerial rights.23 On a national television discussion with the Upper Clyde Shipyards leader Jimmy Reid on 20 May 1975, Mundey emphasised that most work-­ins were defensive acts which occurred over retrenchments, but that NSWBLF work-­ins were often offensive, with labourers insisting upon greater control of their workplace. For example, a 35-­hour week campaign at the Opera House escalated and culminated in the workers expelling management from the site and continuing work under workers’ control from 8 April until 15 May 1972. Two of the organisers, John Wallace and Joe Owens, wrote an informative account of the experience. They recall that by Day 2, company foremen were ‘completely ignored’ and were told firmly by the men that ‘they were not needed and could go and sit in the office, go home or throw themselves in the harbour, but just keep out of the way’.24 They claim that the manner in which the 35-­hour week was won and the form in which the 35-­hour week operated, ‘substantially increased the real control the workers had over production on the job. In the final analysis, almost all of the power of management on the job rested with the workers’.25

Internal democracy

According to the radical journalist Pete Thomas, the basis of the union’s militant strength was ‘democratic control by the rank and file’: the way in which the tenure of officials was limited and the 11,000 members were regularly exercising their strength and initiative through job-­site committees and stop-­work meetings.26 The leaders of the NSWBLF were unusual in their determination to expand internal union democracy and to reduce the distinction between leaders and led, effectively transferring power away from themselves and back to the rank-­and-­file unionists who had elected them. The union’s organisational principles and practices anticipated the social-­movement unionism of the 1990s in its emphasis on internal democracy and rank-­and-­file participation. Mundey wrote in the union’s journal: ‘The leadership aims for “total involvement” in decision making by the membership. We are opposed to “top” decisions making without reference to the membership’.27 NSWBLF policy specifically encouraged rank-­and-­file workers to take the initiative in industrial disputes.28 Tom Hogan, a city organiser, recalled that ‘stoppages would occur and you’d only find out two hours later that they’d stopped. Once I went to seven stop-­work meetings in a day. There was a tremendous amount of initiative taken by the men on the job’.29

Unlike the officials of most other unions, NSWBLF officials received the same wage as the members on the job, including periods of strike activity.30 Most of the officials had worked in the industry for long periods. The union’s policy was that all officials, even industrial officers and publications editors, had to come from the shop floor. The central core of full-­time elected officials was supplemented by temporary organisers brought on to service specific areas for certain periods of time; these temporary appointments had to be endorsed at branch meetings.31 The most startling innovation was limited tenure of office: the insistence that officials, after six years at the most, return to work as a builders labourer. Mundey explained: ‘The driving force that made me suggest limited tenure was my own experience of seeing modern, contemporary unionism and seeing the need for some inbuilt guarantee for limiting power and having inbuilt renewal’.32 Mundey suggested on national television in September 1971 that such a practice would be beneficial for the entire union movement.33 He applied the principle to himself, retrospectively, so when his six years was up, he returned to work as a pick-­and-­shovel labourer at the beginning of 1974.34

An agenda for radical social and economic change

Social-­movement unionism, Moody observes, ‘uses the strongest of society’s oppressed and exploited, generally organized workers, to mobilize those who are less able to sustain self-­mobilization’.35  Pringle likewise expressed the NSWBLF viewpoint: ‘The strong should support the weak in issues that involve everybody’.36 Mundey insisted the NSWBLF ‘feels strongly about unions and the whole workers’ movement involving themselves more deeply in all political, moral and social questions affecting ordinary people’.37 Owens believed that trade unionists should contest exploitation ‘not just in their workplace but everywhere’.38

The union was strongly committed to Aboriginal rights. For example, union members hung banners advertising an Aboriginal rights’ demonstration on the jibs of cranes around the city in July 1972.39 It donated frequently to Aboriginal causes. Aboriginal activist Lyn Thompson wrote to the union that ‘with the moral and financial support given to us such as the Builders’ Labourers give, we will soon start solving a lot of our problems’.40 Most importantly, in December 1972, the union placed a black ban on the demolition of houses occupied by Aborigines in Eveleigh and Louis Streets, Redfern. A big developer had bought most of the houses to renovate as expensive houses and had evicted the Aborigines. This ban greatly aided the black movement’s resistance to the developer, which led ultimately to the federal government buying the disputed houses from the developer and granting the area to the black community in March 1973 as an Aboriginal housing scheme under Aboriginal control. This Redfern Aboriginal Community Housing Scheme of sixty-­five houses, managed by an elected cooperative committee, was proudly declared to be the first successful Aboriginal land rights claim in Australia.41

In June 1973 the union placed a ‘pink ban’ on construction at Macquarie University. Jeremy Fisher, treasurer of the campus Gay Liberation Group, had been a resident of a university college until its Master had discovered Fisher’s role as a gay activist. The Master insisted Fisher could not remain at the college unless he undertook to have his ‘perversion’ cured. Fisher refused so was expelled. The Macquarie University Students’ Council approached the NSWBLF, which recommended a ban that was endorsed unanimously by the labourers on campus. ‘Universities are places for people to learn— they should not discriminate against individuals’, Mundey explained to the press. ‘The ban will remain until the authorities at the University allow homosexuals to study there the same as anyone else’. The ban stopped construction of a lecture theatre, extensions to the gymnasium, a maintenance depot and a science workshop. The University Council ordered Fisher’s reinstatement, and the ban was lifted.42

Pringle later explained to gay movement reporters: ‘We as an executive believe that it is a presumption of any sort for society to be the moral judge for an individual’s sexual preference’.43 The union sponsored a motion to its Federal Conference in 1973: ‘Conference calls on all sections of government to alter existing laws to allow homosexuals the same privacy in their personal relations as heterosexuals and be subject to no more control under the law’. Also in 1973, it moved a motion at the Labor Party State Conference calling for legalisation of homosexual relationships and an end to discrimination.44 The National Homosexual Conference in August 1975 cited the ‘direct material support to NSW Gay Lib. by the then progressive leadership and rank and file BLs’ as an example of why homosexual women and men should support unions seeking social change.45

The union demonstrated support for women’s liberation in numerous ways, such as marching on International Women’s Day and donating money for an abortion rights advertisement.46 Its most spectacular support occurred in June 1973 when the Professorial Board at the University of Sydney vetoed the proposed women’s studies course in the philosophy department. Mundey deemed the decision ‘sexist’ and, following an approach from concerned students, announced a ban on all further construction at the university, including a medical faculty building and a theatre complex. Mundey explained the union had a social conscience— and considered that universities should reveal theirs:

‘In these days of social enlightenment and reform, the wiping out of these discriminations should start at the universities. Now we find that discrimination is being promoted at the universities. The ban will stay on all further construction until the decisions are reversed’.47

Mundey affirmed this ban to a 2500-­strong meeting of students striking in support of the proposed course on 29 June. Since the university urgently required the completion of certain buildings, the dispute was resolved internally and the ban lifted.48 The course commenced in 1974 as one of the first in this field of study that is now commonplace at universities around the world.

A determination to embrace the diversity of the working class to overcome its fragmentation

Social-­movement unionism, according to Moody, understands the need to counteract the way capitalism fragments workers along lines of nationality, race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and disability and utilises prejudice to increase profits.49 In November 1971 the NSWBLF noted in a motion to the BLF Federal Conference that some trade union officials during past periods of unemployment had been ‘conned into supporting right wing policies of assisting capitalism in its own crisis, by restricting women workers’ right to work, especially married women; sharing the job at reduced wages; and fostering anti-­migrant and racial attitudes towards other workers’.50

The union significantly improved the participation of labourers from non-­ English speaking backgrounds by providing interpreters at meetings, translating union publications into various languages, and encouraging recent immigrants to run for office and act as job delegates. Similarly, the NSWBLF supported its Aboriginal members. One of the union’s organisers, Kevin Cook, was a well-­respected leader in the local black movement, which facilitated the union’s ability to establish non-­racial structures within the union, encourage anti-­racist attitudes at membership level, and maintain meaningful links with the Sydney black community.51

Most unusually, the NSWBLF promoted the right of women to work in the industry as builders labourers on an equal basis with men. As harbinger of social-­movement unionism it sought, from within the all-­male bastion of the Australian building industry, to overcome the fragmentation of the working class along gendered lines. By the end of 1971 the BLF had nine female members.52 In 1972 several strikes occurred to force bosses to accept female labour. The women’s rights issue became inextricably linked to that of job-­ control; and this was to be a recurring motif. Strikes and work-­ins in support of the right of women to work as labourers confronted employers’ sexist discrimination, and were an indication of the genuinely egalitarian atmosphere generated within the union.53 Many of the incidents received press coverage, so it became widely known that builders labouring was a new option open to women who did not wish to be ‘cooped up in an office’, as many female BLs explained it—and one that paid better wages than other women received for manual labour.54

By 1974 the union had eighty female members and it actively encouraged women to take official union positions.55 The 1973 Rank and File Committee’s election policy statement demanded ‘not only the right of women to work as builders labourers but giving maximum assistance to women’s struggle for complete political and social liberation in our society’. At the 1973 Federal Conference of the BLF, the NSWBLF called on each State to ‘take immediate action to establish the rights of women to work in the industry’. By 1974, its agenda items included abortion leave as well as paternity and maternity leave. Also during 1974 the branch sought to achieve a national industrial court ruling ‘that the right of women to work in the building industry be recognised without discrimination’. A 1974 issue of On Site, published by BLs, noted: ‘The Builders Labourers Federation has taken a principled stand on the question of women in the building industry. Bitter struggles have been fought by rank and file workers to get women on job sites, and they are an example to all.’56

A capacity to appeal beyond memberships to lead community struggles

Moody describes the way social-­movement unionism increases class-­ consciousness as it extends working-­class power. The ability of social-­movement unionism to arouse broad constituencies to radical action is facilitated by its ‘class vision and content’.57 The union’s ‘green bans’ from 1971 to 1975 clearly demonstrated the union’s capacity to appeal beyond its membership to lead a community struggle. Based on its commitment to the social responsibility of labour, NSWBLF members refused to work on environmentally or socially undesirable construction. Bans were placed at the request of resident action groups or the National Trust; and a significant social movement developed in support of these bans, which saved Sydney from much of the devastation that would otherwise have been wreaked by developers.

Owens argued that unions had the ability to restrain corporations and prompt governments to reconsider foolish decisions, so had to concern themselves with ‘important social issues’ and ‘become more active in opposing pollution and despoliation of natural resources’.58 Mundey stressed that working-­class people had a particular interest in environmental protection, because they suffered most from environmental problems. Unions had to become involved with environmental issues, because ‘too few people question the products we make’.59 In February 1973, Mundey coined the term ‘green bans’ to distinguish them from traditional black bans. He claimed the use of ‘green’ expressed the union’s determination to save open space or valued buildings and to ensure people in any community had some say in what affected their lives. As the first such action in the world, the bans and the ‘green’ terminology had international ramifications.60 Petra Kelly’s naming of the German Greens was motivated by her experience of these bans when she visited Australia in the mid-­1970s and became inspired by the way they brought together residents, environmentalists and unionists.61

The green bans were of three main kinds: to defend open spaces from various types of development; to protect existing housing from demolition to make way for freeways or high-­rise development; and to preserve older-­style buildings of historic, architectural and cultural significance from replacement by office-­blocks or shopping precincts. Environment, heritage and social issues were intertwined, as gentrification of inner-­Sydney suburbs threatened low-­income residents with displacement by developers keen to exploit more affluent markets. For instance, The Rocks was both a working-­class residential area and site of the first British settlement. Despite its historical significance, only a green ban prevented these oldest buildings in the country being replaced by high-­rise office blocks and luxury apartments. In other instances, the green bans’ defence of working-­class residential areas was linked with union’s opposition to freeway construction and diversion of funding from public transport.

By 1975, more than forty green bans had stalled five billion dollars worth of development at mid-­1970s prices. About half of these prevented the destruction of individual buildings or green areas; the other half thwarted development projects affecting much larger areas. Mundey maintains that the political significance of the green bans movement was that it forged a ‘winning alliance’ between environmentalists and unionists.62 The bans had a significant long-­term impact on environmental legislation, town planning and public attitudes. Because of the industrial power wielded by the BLs and the popularity of the green bans, governments were obliged to respond to the union’s challenge. At both State and federal levels, governments initiated or improved legislation to ensure more socially responsive and ecologically responsible planning and development.63

*               *            *

The scholarship on social-­movement unionism highlights the capacity of the labour movement to effect social change, precisely because of its power at the point of production— the distinguishing attribute of the ‘old’ social movement. It also depicts social-­movement unionism as an aspect of labour movement revitalisation, confounding the stereotype of unions constructed in new social-­ movement theory. It is identified clearly as a turn-­of-­the-­millennium phenomenon: a moment as well as a movement. In celebrating the fortieth anniversary of its famous green bans, it is worth noting that the NSWBLF was in all its aspects a quarter of a century ahead of its time.


1   Meredith Burgmann, `A New Concept of Unionism: the New South Wales Builders Labourers’ Federation 1970-­1974’ (PhD thesis, Macquarie University, 1981).
2   Manuel Castells, The Power of Identity, vol. II, The Information Age. Economy, Society and Culture (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 1997), 354.
3   For example, Richard Hyman, ‘Imagined Solidarities: Can Trade Unions Resist Globalization?’, in Peter Leisink, (ed.), Globalization and Labour Relations (Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 1999), 98; John Kelly, Rethinking Industrial Relations (London: Routledge, 1998), 1.
4   Beverly Silver, Forces of Labor: Workers’ Movements and Globalization since the 1870s (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 1.
5   Ellen Meiksins Wood et al (eds), Rising From the Ashes? Labor in the Age of ‘Global’ Capitalism (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1998).
6   Ronaldo Munck, ‘Labour in the Global. Challenges and Prospects’, in Robin Cohen and Shirin M. Rai (eds), Global Social Movements (London/New Brunswick: Athlone Press, 2000), 90.
7   European Journal of Industrial Relations, vol. 9, no. 1, 2003.
8   Peter Waterman, ‘Social Movement Unionism: A New Model for a New World Order’, Review, vol. 16, no. 3, 1993, 245-­78.
 9   Kim Moody, Workers in a Lean World: Unions in the International Economy (London and New York: Verso, 1997), 269, 271.
10   Moody, Workers in a Lean World, 269, 271, 290, 309.
11   Waterman, ‘Social Movement Unionism’; R. D. G. Kelley, ‘The New Urban Working Class and Organized Labor’, New Labor Forum, vol. 1, no. 1, 1997, 6-­18; Sam Gindin, The Canadian Auto Workers: The Birth and Transformation of a Union (Toronto: J. Lorimer, 1995); Gay Seidman, Manufacturing Militance: Workers’ Movements in Brazil and South Africa (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994); Andrew Vandenberg, ‘Social-­Movement Unionism in Theory and in Sweden’, Social Movement Studies vol. 5, no. 2, September 2006, 182-­84; Lowell Turner, ‘Building social movement unionism’, in L. Turner, R. Hurd and H. Katz (eds), Rekindling the Movement. Labor’s Quest for Relevance in the 21st Century (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2001).
12   Lowell Turner, ‘Introduction: An Urban Resurgence of Social Unionism’, in Lowell Turner and Daniel B. Cornfield (eds), Labor in the New Urban Battle Grounds. Local Solidarity in a Global Economy (Ithaca and London: ILR Press, 2007), 15-­6.
13   Meredith Burgmann and Verity Burgmann, Green Bans, Red Union: Environmental Activism and the New South Wales Builders Labourers’ Federation (Sydney: UNSW Press, 1998), 81-­90.
14   NSWBLF, ‘Handy Guide for State and Job Organisers’, 7 June 1974, Leaflet, 2pp.
15   Burgmann and Burgmann, Green Bans, Red Union, 106-­8.
16   Reported in Daily Telegraph, 28 September 1971;? Sydney Morning Herald, 28 September 1971.
17   Jack Mundey, ‘Towards new union militancy’, Australian Left Review, no. 26, August-­ September 1970, 3, 4-­5.
18   Reported in Sydney Morning Herald, 11 December 1972.
19   Jack Mundey, Interview with Meredith Burgmann, 30 March 1978.
20   Sydney Morning Herald, 28 May 1970.
21   Tom Hogan, Interview with Meredith Burgmann, 28 October 1977.
22   Burgmann and Burgmann, Green Bans, Red Union, 67-­8.
23   Pete Thomas, Taming the Concrete Jungle: The Builders Laborers’ Story (Sydney: NSWBLF, 1973), 133.
24   John Wallace and Joe Owens, Workers Call the Tune at Opera House, National Workers Control Conference, Sydney, 1973, 6.
25   Wallace and Owens, Workers Call the Tune at Opera House, 18.
26   Newcastle Morning Herald, 6 September 1973.
27   Jack Mundey, ‘Our strike proves they fear workers’ action most’, Builders Labourer, July 1970, 3.
28   Jack Mundey, ‘Job Activity the Key’, Builders Labourer, December 1968, 7.
29   Hogan Interview.
30   NSWBLF, ‘Minutes’, Executive Meeting, 16 June 1970.
31   Bob Pringle and Joe Owens, ‘Rank and File Decision-­making in the Builders Labourers’, n.d.[mid-­1973], Leaflet, 3pp.
32   Mundey Interview.
33   ‘Monday Conference’, ABC Television, reported in Tribune, 6 October 1971.
34   Australian, 2 February 1974;? Sydney Morning Herald, 5 February 1974.
35   Moody, Workers in a Lean World, 276.
36   Quoted in Anne Coombs, Sex and Anarchy. The Life and Death of the Sydney Push (Melbourne: Viking, 1996), 292.
37 Builders Labourer, n.d. [c. mid-­1972], 1.
38   Joe Owens, Interview with Meredith Burgmann, 29 September 1977.
39   Tribune, 20 June 1972;? JD Martin, exec. director, MBA to the Industrial Registrar, 27 June 1972 and various attachments; Bob Pringle, ‘The Black Awakening’, Builders Labourer, 1972 [also in leaflet form, 2pp.].
40   NSWBLF, Disputes Book, June and July 1972;? Pringle, ‘The Black Awakening’, 31–2; Lyn Thompson to Bob Pringle, n.d. [late 1972]; ‘Black Moratorium: Thousands Act For Black Rights’,Tribune, 18–24 July 1972; ‘Black Embassy defenders tell story’, Tribune, 25–31 July 1972; ‘Wee Waa Appeal’, attached to ‘Circular to Job Organisers’, 1/73, 24 January 1973, 2 pp. roneod; Lyn Thompson to Joe Owens, 16 August 1972.
41   Wollongong Mercury, 30 December 1972; Grafton Examiner, 30 December 1972; Daily Mirror, 21 March 1973; Builders Labourer, 1973, 33-­5; Tom Hogan, ‘Strengthen that grip’, Mereki, vol. 1, no. 1, 15 November 1974, 13.
42   Sydney Morning Herald, 21 June 1973; Herald (Melbourne), 20 June 1973; Sun (Melbourne), 20 June 1973; Telegraph (Brisbane), 20 June 1973; Age, 28 June 1973; Daily Mirror, 3 July 1973; Denise Thompson, Flaws in the Social Fabric. Homosexuals and Society in Sydney (Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 1985), 50.
43   ‘blf on women & gays’, Gay Liberation Press, no. 3, September 1974, 13.; Terry Batterham & Graeme Tubbenhauer, ‘Interview with Bob Pringle’, Gay Liberation Press, no. 3 September 1974, 14.
44   NSWBLF, ‘Agenda Items for Federal Conference, 1973’, Item 33; Batterham & Tubbenhauer, ‘Interview with Bob Pringle’, 14; ‘blf on women & gays’, 13.
45   ‘Homosexuals Report Back Mailing List’, Cross+Section Papers, cited in Graham Willett, ‘The Gay and Lesbian Movement and Australian Society, 1969-­1978’ (PhD thesis, University of Melbourne, 1998), 35; Tribune, 26 August 1975.
46   Caroline Graham, `Anatomy of a Revolutionary Union: A Post Mortem on the BLF 1968-­1975’ (BA Hons thesis, University of Sydney, 1975), 2.
47   Age, 28 June 1973.
48   Grafton Examiner, 29 June 1973; Walter Crouch, ‘Some black among the BLF green’, Sydney Morning Herald, 2 November 1974; Jack Mundey, Green Bans & Beyond (Sydney: Angus & Robertson, 1981), 106.
49   Moody, Workers in a Lean World, 269, 271, 290, 309.
50   Tribune, 1 September 1971, 8 September 1971; ‘The Right to Work’ in NSW Branch, ‘Agenda Item for Federal Conference, November 1971’, 2pp roneod.
51   Sun, 13 November 1973, 7;? Hogan, ‘Strengthen that grip’, 13; Aboriginal Mission Canberra to Bob Pringle, Builders Labourers Union, [telegram], 1 November 1974.
52   Builders Labourer,1972, 7.
53   ‘Dillinghams Discriminate Against Women’, n.d. [Feb. 1974], Leaflet, 1p., authorised by the BLF Women’s Collective; ‘Dillingham Clarence Street Dispute’, 5 February 1974, Leaflet, 1p., authorised by Tom Hogan on behalf of the NSWBLF; NSWBLF, ‘Dillingham Clarence St Dispute’, n.d., Leaflet, 2pp.; NSWBLF, ‘Support the Right of Women to Work’, n.d., Leaflet, 1p.; Don Crotty to R. Cram, secretary Miners’ Federation, 18 February 1974; Helmet, March 1974; Mabel, no. 2, n.d; Viewpoint, January 1972, 10; Don Crotty, Interview with Meredith Burgmann, 13 March 1978.
54   Sun, 23 May 1972; Daily Telegraph, 10 November 1972; Newcastle Morning Herald, 6 November 1972, 11 November 1972, 14 November 1972; Sun-­Herald, 19 December 1971, 23 May 1972; Glenys Page, Interview with Meredith Burgmann, 24 January 1978; Wendy Stringer, Interview with Meredith Burgmann, 5 March 1978; Robyn Williams, Interview with Meredith Burgmann, 20 April 1978; Thomas, Taming the Concrete Jungle, 73.
55   Sydney Morning Herald, 20 June 1974; Hobart Mercury, 20 June 1974.
56   Tribune, 1 October 1974; Age, 23 May 1974; Builders Labourer, August 1973; On Site, n.d. [1974], 2.
57   Moody, Workers in a Lean World, 309.
58   Canberra Times, 2 March 1973.
59   Jack Mundey, ‘Preventing the Plunder’, in Verity Burgmann and Jenny Lee (eds), Staining the Wattle (Melbourne: McPhee Gribble/ Penguin, 1988), 179-­80.
60   Michael Allaby, Macmillan Dictionary of the Environment (London: Macmillan, 1983), 234.
61   Mundey, Green Bans & Beyond, 105.
62   Mundey, Green Bans & Beyond, 148.
63   Burgmann and Burgmann, Green Bans, Red Union, 278-­86.