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Vale Tom

Gonna go out walking
Get some fresh air and sunshine
One foot in front of the other
Taking one step at a time
Looking over my shoulder
At that black dog following me
Gotta keep on walking
Lest he catches up with me
             — from 'Black Dog' by Michael Tully [1]

Tom Middleton
Tom, who grew up in Texas Queensland, was a building worker and strong rank-and-file unionist.

His funeral today (1 May 2013) was packed with family, friends and workmates who turned up in numbers to say goodbye. Paula gave a fitting farewell to to her best friend quoting the motto of the Builders Labourers Federation, ‘Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win’ .

Tom was a loving father to his two girls, Tess and Kate.

I remember seeing Tom at a rally against the Howard government’s WorkChoices laws in 2005.

Tom, with typical candour,  told me this:

“I know that we are shitkickers but we can put up a high rise building faster than any construction workers in the rest of the world.

Yes we get good money but only got that because of our union, the Builders Labourers Federation.

Now the government and the bosses don’t want shitkickers like us to get decent money.

They want to pay us shit money again.

Why should doctors and lawyers get more money than us?[2]

We will miss Tom’s good humour, wit and honesty.
My condolences to Alma, Paula, Tess and Kate.

Take in a breath of fresh air  	
Look back down the track
A lot of problems down there
But I'm never going back
            — Michael Tully

Ian Curr
May Day 2013

[1] Black Dog is on  ‘3 miles from texas’ CD

[2] Page 22 – ‘After the Waterfront – the workers are quiet

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