Left loses key union election

We publish below Bob Carnegie’s last words as Qld Branch Secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia. Paul Petersen remains as assistant branch secretary having won the ballot for that position. Bob Carnegie has served the trade union movement well.

I remember Bob Carnegie’s words when he was savagely beaten and arrested by Queensland police during the SEQEB dispute in 1985 after the state government sacked 1001 electrical trade union members :

“You bastards will never defeat the trade union movement”.

Recently Bob Carnegie came out against the Labor Party’s approval of the Adani Coal Mine in central Queensland with these words:

“We stand by our mining brothers and sisters in the CFMEU mining division but as Queensland state (MUA) branch secretary I do not stand by the fact that another coal mine is going to be built to further enrich the world’s CO2 emissions. The world doesn’t need another thermal coal mine.”

This may have been a factor in Bob Carnegie’s defeat but these branch elections have been made close by Bob Carnegie in an open contest with Labor Party candidates. It is a key union election for the environment movement because Carnegie was the state’s most senior union official to oppose the Adani Mine in Central Queensland. His defeat makes it less likely that coal ships will be stopped by union action. This becomes a clear weakness in the Stop Adani campaign having been defeated electorally, in the courts, the campaign has moved to mass mobilisation and protest as its main strategy in defeating state and federal government approvals of the thermal coal mines in the Galillee Basin in Queensland.

Here is Bob Carnegie’s final report to Martitime Union of Australia (MUA) members as their Branch Secretary:

THIS WILL BE the last Branch News under my leadership as no doubt the newly elected Branch Secretary will have his own ideas of how information will be put to members attention. The break-up of the election will be sent to members. The Branch Secretary’s position was decided by 16 votes in favour of Steve Cumberlidge.

Bob Carnegie speaks our against sacking of 14,000 public servants at Rally in Brisbane Square on 22 Sept 2012

I wish the incoming elected officials all the best. Over the last 4 years I have tried my very best,often to the detriment of my health. My style of leadership was different than most and I’m happy in myself that I continued to be myself and did not turn myself inside out and become a ‘false face’ in the name of popularity.

For me,the highlights of the last 4 years were:

  1. Our Branch affiliating with the International Dockworkers’ Council (IDC)

2. Two outstanding, internationally recognised, educative Branch Conferences

3. Having Turner Freeman become the Branch preferred personal injury and compensation lawyers. Their work has been simply outstanding

4. Lobbying and fighting to get a Parliamentary Inquiry into Coastal Shipping

5. Playing the leading role (along with Jason) in preventing the spread of partnerships in towage

6. Getting the Peter Frawley Cycleway named in the honour of a terrific member.

7. Being the first union in the country to have a 2 day workshop on the struggles of our First Nation’s People

8. Creating a political and industrial pact with the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) which has repaid itself in bucket loads for our Branch

9. Fighting for members jobs and saving members livelihoods in difficult situations where even lead delegates have said it was not possible to save members.

10. Making sure the Branch’s funds were well looked after and I leave the Branch with our accounts in their best ever shape

11. Our award winning Branch News, with all its quirks, created a following all over the world.

12. The creation of a Legal/ Industrial Officers position. Our new legal officer will start on 9 July 2019.

13. Being on the cusp of winning extra tonnage with Rio Tinto, an area I have worked night and day on

14. Leading the 136 day Hutchison dispute in Brisbane and along with the Sydney Branch and National Office we got a decent settlement to a very difficult dispute There are certain rank and filers who have given me a huge amount of moral support. Men like Ciaran McLennan, Anthony Crookall, Mike Barber, Chris Hoyland and Bill Hughes. Men who went out of their way to help the Branch whenever needed.

I will always carry a special place in my heart for our members in QUBE in Brisbane. Men like Noel, Wayne, Boppa, Cummo, Jorgo and others always made me fell welcomed and, together with Paul Petersen, we created many permanent jobs.

A good thing to do. I’ve been very blessed particularly over this term and especially the last year to work with our wonderful administration staff of Carol, Kerri and Hannah. They work hard above and beyond for us, but we still managed a few laughs.

I could go on about the savage character assassination campaign I’ve been subjected to since coming to office.

The lies were unsubstantiated and just plain horrible. Those responsible should hang their heads in shame.

I don’t know what life holds for me on the employment front, but I’ll think about that after a break.

As this is my last Branch News, I thought it appropriate that one of the Western World’s great and heroic organisers Caesar Chavez is paid tribute to in these pages.

I guess I could go on all day, but I’ll stop now. I hope I touched and made a few working people’s lives better. If I have achieved that, the last 4 years has not been a failure.

To my darling Melissa, thanks for standing by me and tolerating the incessant travel and odd hours.

Good luck to all of you.

Bob Carnegie
Branch Secretary’s Report
Queensland Branch News No 184
21 June 2019

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