This issue of The Hummer is devoted primarily to articles on the Trade Union Training Authority. TUTA was established in 1975. The prime mover for the legislation was Clyde Cameron, Minister for Labour and Immigration in the Whitlam government, but it had a considerable – perhaps surprising – level of support from the conservative parties, particularly from Leader of the Opposition Malcolm Fraser. TUTA was abolished in 1996 by the Howard government.
In slightly over twenty years, TUTA provided training and education for large numbers of paid and honorary union officials, in state centres and at the national college at Albury-Wodonga. TUTA made a substantial contribution to the union movement during its existence, but to date, relatively little has been published on its activities. Hummer is pleased to be able to remedy this by publishing an issue featuring articles by five people who played an active role in the establishment and development of TUTA (see the Contributors page for details).
The first item is an introduction by Michael Johnston. This is followed by an article by Des Hanlon and Warwick McDonald, who were “there at the beginning”, outlining the early activities of TUTA, including its pedagogy and the important “trigger films” that were made. Award-winning trainer and author Mike Newman follows with an article that provides a good “feel” for classroom practice.
Phil Drew details the background to the legislation establishing TUTA, and the issues raised in parliamentary debates. It is interesting to note the tensions within the conservative side of politics, as well as issues whose significance became clearer some years later, including union amalgamations and the role of the federal and state industrial tribunals.
An anecdotal contribution from Mike Newman follows. Having spent my career as a teacher, I wish I could have seen him in action in the classroom! The final TUTA piece is another by Des Hanlon and Warwick McDonald. Des was instrumental in the development of the TUTA training films. Des relates his experiences helping to bring these to fruition. The second half of this article is a tribute to film director Keith Gow, who played a prominent role in the production of TUTA and labour movement films, and was also a giant of Australian cinema more generally. A list of his film credits is included.
We include former Senator Doug Cameron’s tribute to the late Laurie Carmichael of the Amalgamated Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU), a man of formidable determination and intellect, with a passionate commitment to trade union training. The issue concludes with songs and a Bulletin Board.
My thanks to Lisa Milner and to Jamie McMechan (MUA) for their help and to Danny Blackman, Margaret Walters and Lance Wright for their invaluable assistance in bringing this issue to you.
Editor, The Hummer