AWU National Election Results
Congratulations to all of the newly elected and re-elected AWU Officials and Representatives from our National and State teams.
Today marks a moment of renewal for the AWU. A number of leaders who have been instrumental in building our union are moving on, and a new generation is stepping up to take the AWU forward.
I want to firstly pay tribute to Bill Ludwig OAM, our long-standing National President who is standing down after an incredible innings with the AWU.
Bill began his working life as a shearer in the 1950s, before becoming an AWU organiser in 1971. Since then he has been a driving force within our union and, indeed, across the entire Australian labour movement.
Bill has personified the very soul of the AWU, with his steadfast belief that workers should exert influence just as strong as bosses, and politicians.
Our union owes a tremendous debt to Bill and his life’s work pursuing our members’ interests. I am sure you will all join me in wishing him the very best for his retirement.
A silver lining of Bill’s departure is that it opens up a historic opportunity for the AWU — the election of our first woman president in Marina Chambers. Marina is a terrific longstanding official of the Union who is stepping up into the role of National President in addition to her duties as QLD Branch President. I have no doubt that Marina will serve our Union with distinction.
In New South Wales, we also have a chance to pay tribute to another great veteran of our union, Russ Collison, who is stepping down as Branch Secretary after starting as an AWU member 60 years ago.
Russ was a titan of the Greater NSW branch for decades, and a terrific champion of workers and their rights. As his final act he has been instrumental in the challenging job of uniting our NSW-based branches into a single state branch. It is a tremendous legacy that he leaves.
Staying with NSW for a moment, I am pleased to report we have also created a proud moment there with our first woman president of the new NSW branch in Lorna Fairless, a Qantas Aviation worker from Sydney Airport.
On a personal note, I want to thank AWU members from across the nation for the support and endorsement I have received to be elected National Secretary. I also want to thank NSW-based members who have supported me to become Secretary of our newly-unified NSW Branch.
Taking on both these roles is a huge responsibility and one I take incredibly seriously. Our union is blessed with abundant talent at both the national, and state branch level, and I know I will receive the most dedicated and professional support to carry out my work in both positions.
I am hugely excited about the potential of our union to seize the challenges before us — to find new ways to support our members, to modernise our practices, to build our strength, and to grow.
Many of these new ideas will be put forward at our National Conference next month, and I look forward to updating you about them then.
In the meantime, I simply want to take this opportunity once again to thank Bill, Russ, and the other terrific officials across the country who are taking this moment to retire or move on.
On behalf of the current generation of leaders I want to say we will be standing on your shoulders, and guided by your example, as we look to guide our great union into the future.
Yours in Unity