Category Archives: Article

‘…with love and fury’ – The centenary of Judith Wright, 31 May 1915

 

 Humphrey McQueen

18 May 2015

I think poetry should be treated, not as a lofty art separated from life, but as a way of seeing and expressing not just the personal view, but the whole context of the writer’s times. For me, it has been a way of searching for understanding of my own life and of what was happening to me and around me.
Judith Wright, ‘Foreword’, A Human Pattern (1989)

 ‘… with love and fury’ is how the environmentalist, feminist, historian, literary critic, poet and secretary of the Treaty Committee, Judith Wright, often signed off her letters to friends. Continue reading

The fight for jobs. Social Security 1981

 

 Grey Collar

Published by Public Servants Action Group

The dispute in the Department of Social Security which exploded in the last two months of 1981 was an important turning point for ACOA. Hundreds of members were stood down for up to 6 weeks, large chunks of the Department were paralysed and the industrial action peaked with a 3 day strike of the entire union in NSW. Continue reading

An Australian Newspaper in Paraguay 1894–1904

 by Victor Isaacs

THE AUSTRALIAN SETTLEMENT IN PARAGUAY

Following the failures of the maritime dispute in 1890, the shearers’ dispute in 1891 and the great economic depression of the early 1890s, many in the Australian working class came to the conclusion that Australia would not become a workingman’s paradise. Some sought other solutions, such as starting anew elsewhere. Continue reading

Labour Dailies

 

by Victor Isaacs

Introduction

This is not an article based on deep research – it is more in the nature of a survey of already published information, with a bit added by me. It surveys labour daily newspapers in Australia, that is, newspapers controlled by the labour movement, which attempted or claimed to provide a comprehensive daily news service. Continue reading

A Centenary of the Queensland BLF (1910-2010)

 Humphrey McQueen

(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

Navvies rocked this city – Canberra 1911-16

Navvies rocked this city
Canberra 1911-16[1]

 Humphrey McQueen

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.[2] Continue reading

Foreign workers

  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

The ideological war over our first MP

Stephen Holt

February 5, 2013

Labor’s first federal preselection contest in the ACT was conducted after the Chifley government awarded Canberrans parliamentary representation. The resulting preselection turned out to be a fraught affair indeed, replete with chicanery and religious sectarianism. Continue reading

Billy Hughes’ Canberra Son

Stephen Holt

William Morris Hughes remains the archetypal Judas-figure in the demonology of the Australian Labor Party.  He was a leading figure in the early party but split from it in 1916 over the issue of military conscription and threw in his lot with the anti-Labor forces in federal politics.  There was no reconciliation with his former comrades. 

What is still vaguely remembered, though, is that Billy Hughes had a son who in the grim years of the 1930s was involved in organised agitation in support of unemployed workers thereby creating a piquant contrast with his father’s act of desertionThis latter-day embrace of the labour cause within the Hughes family took place in Canberra and forms a significant episode in its local political history. Continue reading

Beyond Medicare—Towards Wellness

Humphrey McQueen
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

Equality – 1972

 

Book Review

Towards a new Australia, Cheshire, Melbourne, 1972, John McLean (ed)
Reviewed in Arena, 30, 1972, pp. 8-12

Humphrey McQueen

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

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