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Masterclass for Activists

Sep 24, 2020

Before 1983 no woman had ever been elected to the Executive of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU). In 1995, Jennie George became the first woman ACTU President and was followed by Sharan Burrow, Ged Kearney and Michelle O’Neil.

In Episode 3 Strategy for Success, Sally McManus and Bill Kelty, the current and former ACTU secretaries, joined union elder Tom McDonald and our host Emeritus Professor Ed Davis to discuss how to design and execute winning campaigns. They discussed how strategy is the art of building power and tactics the stepping-stones to success.

In this bonus episode Women Leading the ACTU we share more of our conversation from Episode 3 and hear about what it took to win equal representation for women on the ACTU Executive. While, as Sally says, there remains more to be done in improving women’s representation in leadership across the union movement, the achievement of equal male and female representation on the ACTU Executive, won more than two decades ago, demonstrates the power of values, strategy and tactics in making change for the better.

This episode also stars Chloe and Jason Roweth performing Don’t Be Too Polite Girls (words by Glen Tomasetti to the traditional tune of Flash Jack from Gundagai). Find out more about the Roweths’ music here.

Learn more about many of the great struggles of the Australian labour and women’s movements and what it took to win in Dare to Dream, the memoirs of Tom and Audrey McDonald, whose inspiration is behind the creation of this Masterclass series.

This podcast series has been produced by Deliberately Engaging in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals to build the capabilities of civil society and give people a greater voice. Discover our podcasts here.

This podcast has been made possible by the support of the Committee to Defend Trade Unions Rights, Tony and Nina Bleasdale, our discussants and musicians, and the ACTU.