Unionist | Campaigner | Strategist


Member retention is a long road

Member recruitment or retention: what’s more important?

Without recruiting members, you don’t have a union. Without retaining existing members, you don’t have a union for very long. Here’s the challenge: signing up new members is easier to understand and to act upon. It’s easy for the union leadership (and in fact, anyone) …

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Dalfram Dispute 1938

Dalfram Dispute (Manning Clark House)

The following are speaking notes for my speech at the Manning Clark House showing of the documentary “Dalfram Dispute 1938: Pig Iron Bob” (directed by Sandra Pires and the Why Documentaries Team in 2015). Thank you for the invitation today. Firstly, let me acknowledge the …

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Future of Work (ALERA Conference)

The following are the speaking notes for a speech given at the Australian Labour and Employment Relations Association conference in Canberra in March 2018. Thank you for the invitation today. Firstly, let me acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet, and pay my …

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Advance Australia Where?

These are the speaking notes of a speech given to Manning Clark House in September 2016. Thank you for the invitation today. Firstly, let me acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet, and pay my respects to their elders both past …

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The dirty secret of opponents of penalty rates

With thanks to Rob Corr Recently, there has been a rush of business lobby groups from the retail and hospitality sectors talking about the terrible evils of weekend penalty rates. Not, let’s be clear, the penalty rates received by paramedics, nurses or fire fighters. No, …

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Criminal charge unprecedented attack on workplace safety

The trade union royal commission, in just three weeks, has attempted to unwind over a decade of work to improve the culture of safety at construction sites. Three years ago, the ACT Government released the Getting Home Safely report. The report was in the wake …

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Australia and sales of uranium to India

This article was first published on The Guardian. At the height of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, Japanese prime minister Nato Kan was faced with a decision: would he have to order the evacuation of Tokyo. “Three of the reactors also experienced hydrogen explosions, …

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Sorry policy-makers, the two-degrees warming policy is a road to disaster

Originally posted on my Guardian blog. Global consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers has released a timely analysis on economic growth and carbon emissions, which makes the point that there is a “disconnect between the global climate negotiations aiming for a 2°C limit on global warming, but national …

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Bangladeshi workers are particularly vulnerable to climate change

Global labour’s challenge to climate change

I originally published this on The Guardian and am republishing it here. At the end November 2013, Philip Jennings, the general secretary for the global union federation UNI Global Union spoke at a climate conference in Toronto. His message was simple: “there is nothing more important …

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Clicktivism or Slacktivism? Stop Coal Mining

Activism or “Slacktivism”? Are we a nation of online slackers?

Sunday Style had a feature article by freelance journalist Sarah Ayoub, looking at online activism, an article for which I was interviewed a few months ago. Last month it was Facebook friends urging me to sign a petition to save Meriam Ibrahim, who was sentenced …

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Digital leadership for unions

Does your union leadership “get” digital?

Research undertaken in 2012 by pro-union academic Panos Panagiotopoulos found that globally, unions are increasingly viewing digital tools as essential to improving communications and member engagement. Over 61% of unions said that digital was considered a “priority” given budget and time constraints. Since then, it’s clear that …

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Best practice digital campaigning

What is best practice online campaigning (and why is it so difficult)?

A week ago, The Guardian’s Global Development Professionals Network held a live-chat with a panel of global digital campaigners to talk about “best practice”. On the panel included campaigners from highly regarded outfits like Avaaz, Change.org and Kony 2012 creators Invisible Children. The entire article …

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Alex's STORY

Campaigner, strategist, author

Alex has spent his entire career working in the union and climate movements to build a better future for all. He is a committed unionist and activist, and has written on how progressive movements can win.


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