(The Queensland Journal of Labour History, 11 September 2010, pp. 24-31.)
The Queensland branch the Australian Builders’ Labourers’ Federation (ABLF) is unique in keeping the BLF name alive for the Federation’s centenary on 9 September 2010. Continue reading
Speech to Wikileaks rally, Garema Place, Canberra, 16 December 2010
By what right are we here today? Why are we confident that we can protest and not be shot at by the political police on the fringes of this crowd? We take it granted that we won’t be arrested as we leave. We do not expect to lose our jobs by speaking out for Wikileaks. Continue reading
By Humphrey McQueen
A talk given at the Katoomba section of the Sydney Writers’ Festival, 17 May 2011 to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the Varuna Writers’ Centre. Continue reading
Navvies rocked this city
Canberra Historical Journal, New Series, 67, December 2011, pp. 17-24.
For the Federal Area to become a Federal Capital on the ground as well as in law, hundreds of navvies had to construct before tradesmen and other labourers could build. Continue reading
Humphrey McQueen (2012)
Media coverage of the ALP’s deal with Rinehart to import 1,715 skilled and semi-skilled construction workers for Roy Hill has been as intense as it has been shallow. These notes place the 457 visas and Enterprise Migration Agreements (EMAs) in larger contexts – industrial, economic, political and social-cultural. Continue reading
November 13th, 2013, Wheeler Centre, Melbourne.
Sponsored by Spirit of Eureka, Victorian Trades Hall and Liberty Victoria Continue reading
3CR, ‘Solidarity Breakfast’, 14 December 2013
Seventy-five yeas ago, the wharfies at Port Kembla were in the middle of a two-month strike. They were not out over wages or working conditions, crook though both were. They were in a political strike to stop the export of pig iron to Japan. Continue reading
Seeing Red, 2003 (slightly updated)
The current campaigns to defend and extend Medicare offer the opportunity to diagnose the commodification of life, both by merchandisers and by corporatised medicine. Whether health care is treated as a human right or as a commodity will always be the outcome of social action. Human rights are brought into existence through imagination and struggle. Continue reading
Towards a new Australia, Cheshire, Melbourne, 1972, John McLean (ed)
Reviewed in Arena, 30, 1972, pp. 8-12
In the decade following the defeat of the Labor governments in post-war Britain and Australia there developed the notion that political ideology was exhausted. In the context of the ALP, this assumption meant that nationalisation was no longer accepted as an intrinsic component of the party’s “democratic socialism”. Continue reading
Art, Transfield and Refugees
A Russian doll of inhumanities
Humphrey McQueen – 18 March 2014
Sometimes you may need to bribe, to be tough, even to be inhuman, to reach your target. Every contract is a battle. What counts in the final victory. Continue reading
History, both modern and ancient, is strewn with examples of conflicts between Christendom and Islam. The 1571 Battle of Lepanto is one of them. In this detailed article, Canberra historian Humphrey McQueen takes a closer look. (Ed) Continue reading
Defending Australia from the Pink Peril
From a lecture given in Australian History III, Australian National University, July 1972.
Printed in Woroni and then in National U.
In this lecture I want to lead you away from the notion of the Aborigine as a passive recipient of history, as no more than a victim. Instead, we shall recognise the Aborigine as an active agent in European history since first contact. Continue reading
Extract from Framework of Flesh, Builders Labourers Battle for Health and Safety, Ginninderra Press, Port Adelaide, 2009, pp. 134-40
Between 1945 and 1955, Australian production of fibro sheeting from asbestos cement trebled from 8 to 23 million square metres. By 1961, one house in six was fibro. The self-builder favoured this material because it was cheap, easy to apply and available. The advertising said nothing about harms. Continue reading
Following are three pieces for the Bulletin in 1999-2000.
Rumours no longer exaggerated: an obit for Gough
The Bulletin commissioned and paid for this obituary in 2,000 but it died first.
The passing of Edward Gough Whitlam signifies more than the death of one man. Whitlam is the only Labor prime minister whose name became an –ism, an endowment which continues to evoke veneration and loathing. He will wish to be remember for his policies, the theme of this reflection. Continue reading
Imagine for a minute or two that we have been transported from the AEU offices, past South Terrace to the Adelaide Club on North Terrace. Continue reading
If any question why we died,
Tell them because our fathers lied.
Rudyard Kipling (1919).
Did Melbourne’s Roman Catholic Archbishop Daniel Mannix allege, early in 1917, that the Great War was ‘simply a sordid trade war’, or did he but repeat as ‘a truism that the war was a trade war’? Continue reading
The death of cricketer Phillip Hughes on 27 November was one of several hundred workplace fatalities during 2014. Continue reading