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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1959.3/148223
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- Brian Boyd: a biography of a trade unionist
- McCaskie, Gordon
- The project proposes to explore the interplay between the public and private life of a senior Victorian Trade Union official, Brian Boyd, and the profound changes that the union movement has undergone during the last fifty years. The child of working class immigrants, he grew up in the industrial area of the La Trobe Valley before undertaking higher education in Melbourne. As an undergraduate he became involved radical student politics, specifically opposition to the Vietnam War and conscription. As a 'draft dodger', he moved to Queensland to avoid arrest and returned to Melbourne after the Whitlam government abolished conscription. There, at La Trobe University, he became a leading activist in the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) inspired, Students for Australian Independence. After the successful completion of the BA and Diploma of Education qualifications he joined the Builders’ Labourers Federation as a rank-and-file activist on building sites. He later became a full-time official of the Victorian Branch of the BLF. In 1988 he was elected an Industrial Officer at the Victorian Trades Hall, a position he held until 2005 when he was elected to the role of Secretary of the Victorian Trades Hall, and has been re-elected since. He has published numerous works, most notably Inside the BLF, a controversial account of internal corruption in a militant trade union. Boyd is currently a prominent figure in both the industrial and political wings of the Victorian and national labour movement. The project will focus on significant public events interpreted through the private experiences of this prominent labour activist. These will include declining trade union density and influence and Boyd's struggle against the trade union movement’s decreasing relevance in contemporary Australia, reactions against increasingly radical right-wing challenges to industrial tripartism and the dilemmas currently facing the left as it confronts political survival and industrial militancy. As a biography the project will also examine the private impact on a life dedicated to an increasingly marginalised political philosophy and the accommodations made to retain an ongoing viability for the core values of the labour movement. The study proposes to be emblematic of the wider issues confronting Australia's trade union movement from the Cold War period of Boyd's arrival in Australia to his prominence as a public figure at time of the lowest trade union density in seventy years and the growing dual labour market.
- Publication type
- Thesis (Masters)
- Research centre
- Swinburne University of Technology. Faculty of Life and Social Sciences
- Publication year
- Australasian Digital Theses collection
- Copyright © 2010 Gordon McCaskie.