2019 Conference

Activism, Struggle and Labour History

16th Biennial Conference of the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History

3-5 October, 2019
Perth Trades Hall building (now CFMEU Offices)
80 Beaufort Street, Perth, WA

We welcome abstracts on any of the following themes:

  • The labour movement after the Armistice (1919)
  • New directions in labour history (work in prospect/progress papers; new projects)
  • Insecure work — historicising the ‘gig’ economy
  • Radical Culture
  • Labour in Politics
  • Strikes and Struggles
  • Regionalism in Labour History
  • Or any other topics relevant to labour history

Deadline for Abstracts (Refereed and Non-Refereed):  31 May 2019

Non-Refereed Abstracts should be about 200 words, outlining the central argument of the paper and including brief biographical details of the author. Format in Microsoft Word (not PDF) using Times New Roman 12-point font, single line spacing. Please ensure that your contact details are included. Abstracts should be sent as an attachment (not part of the message) to: Bobbie.Oliver@uwa.edu.au 

Written versions of non-refereed papers presented at the conference may be submitted for publication in the 2020 issue of Western Worker the journal of Perth Branch, ASSLH. Please note that these papers will be accepted on merit and will not be subject to blind peer review. They should not exceed 2,500 words in length.

Please Note: Presenters are not required to submit their paper for refereeing. Those who wish to do so are asked to follow the guidelines below.

Refereed Abstracts that could later be shaped into an article for publication should be a maximum of 1,000 words (not including footnotes). When submitting an abstract for refereeing, please include an unidentified copy and a separate document with author’s name, contact details, brief bio and paper title. Please email these two documents as attachments to: Bobbie.Oliver@uwa.edu.au

The conference will not be publishing refereed conference proceedings. Presenters who want to submit their papers for refereeing and publication in an academic journal are encouraged to submit written papers to Labour History or another relevant journal such as the Journal of Australian Studies, Economic and Labour Relations Review or History Australia (the journal of the Australian Historical Association).

Spoken papers (including group presentations) must not exceed 20 minutes in length. Ten minutes will be allotted at the end of each paper for questions.

For further information, please contact the Conference Convenor:
Associate Professor Bobbie Oliver, Bobbie.Oliver@uwa.edu.au

Keynote Speakers

Ralph Darlington is Emeritus Professor of Employment Relations at Salford Business School, University of Salford, UK: He is the author/editor of six books, including The Dynamics of Workplace Unionism (1991; What’s the Point of Industrial Relations? In Defence of Critical Social Science (2009); and Radical Unionism (2013), as well as numerous journal articles on historical and contemporary features of industrial relations and trade unionism. He is currently researching and writing a book on The Great Unrest 1910-1914 to be published by Pluto Press. Ralph is an editorial advisory board member of Employee Relations, executive board member of the International Association of Strikes and Social Conflicts, honorary member of the British Universities Industrial Relations Association, and council member of the Manchester Industrial Relations Society.

Profile: https://www.salford.ac.uk/business-school/our-staff/business-academics/ralph-darlington

Latest Publication: Ralph Darlington, “The Leadership Component of Kelly’s Mobilisation Theory: Contribution, Tensions, Limitations and Further Development,” Economic and Industrial Democracy 39, no. 4 (2018), http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0143831X18777609


Diane Kirkby FASSA, FAHA: is Professor of Law & Humanities, UTS, and Research Professor (Emeritus) at La Trobe University. She has written extensively on women’s labour history in both the US and Australia, and has edited or authored nine books, including Barmaids: A History of Women’s Work in Pubs (Cambridge, 1997) and most recently, Labour History and the Coolie Question  with Sophie Loy Wilson. She won the W. K. Hancock Prize for her biography of Australia’s first trained woman journalist Alice Henry  (Cambridge, 1991) and was short-listed for the Frank Broeze Prize in Maritime History for her study of the Seamen’s Union of Australia, Voices from the Ships (UNSW, 2008). She currently holds an Australian Research Council Linkage Project grant with the Maritime Union of Australia tracing their international connections with countries of the Asia-Pacific region, most notably India and Japan. And with Emma Robertson and Lee-Ann Monk is working on an Australian Research Council-funded project on women in non-traditional employment. Since 2016 she has been the editor of Labour History.


Sally McManus, Secretary Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU): Sally McManus is the 10th elected ACTU Secretary in the organisation’s 90-year history and the first woman to hold the position. Sally was previously an ACTU Vice President directing the ACTU’s campaigns. Prior to joining the ACTU, Sally was the Branch Secretary and an Organiser with the ASU in NSW and ACT for 22 years. During Sally’s time as ASU Secretary their membership grew and she led many successful campaigns such as the Equal Pay Campaign for community workers.

Fees for the 2019 conference:

  Full Fee Early Bird (closes 1 August) One Day
Waged $400 $350 $150
Retired Professional $300 $250 $100
Unwaged/low income/students $100 $70 $30

 ***Conference Dinner ($60) – includes drinks***

Please register for the conference here.

Accommodation in Perth

There is a wide range of accommodation available in the Perth CBD within easy walking distance of the conference venue. Two companies have made special offers available for delegates as below.  There are free Central Area Transport (CAT) buses that run past these hotels. Click here for the routes.


Pensione Hotel Perth

70 Pier Street  |  PERTH  |  WA  6000

+61 (0)8 9325 2133 |  www.pensione.com.au

The hotel has discounted rates for ASSLH conference delegates. Use this link to book with the discounted rate.



60 Royal Street |  EAST PERTH  | WA 6004

+61 (08) 9223 2500  |  https://www.thesebel.com/western-australia/the-sebel-east-perth/

Room rates for conference delegates, subject to availability, from 1-7 October 2019:

Studio City View:                         $189.00

Studio River View Room:        $209.00

One-bedroom Apartment:     $229.00

One-bedroom River View:      $249.00.

Delegates should quote “ASSLH Conference” to obtain these rates. You will need to contact the Hotel directly on h8810@accor.com or +61 (08) 9223 2500.