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Laurie Carmichael

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Laurie Carmichael was a prominent Australian working class and trade union leader throughout the second half of the twentieth century. He was born in Coburg, (Melbourne, Victoria) 1925[1] and died on August 18th, 2018. (See also: and here:

His participation in the Australian working class movement divides into 5 primary periods: first, his activity in the 1940s as a fitter and turner apprentice and political activist in the Eureka Youth League, Young Engineers, and Communist Party[2]; then his role from 1948 < insert reference> as a shop steward representing fitters and turners and other metal workers at the Williamstown Naval Dockyard in Melbourne, Victoria; third, his role as an elected Melbourne District Secretary of the Amalgamated Engineer's Union; fourth his contribution as the Assistant National Secretary of the Amalgamated Metal Workers Union, and in other roles; and finally his role as the Assistant Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions.

Throughout his decades of union and political activism Carmichael was also a prominent member of the Communist Party of Australia, acting as its National President from 1978–81.

Carmichael started his union activism as an apprentice fitter and turner and continued as a shop steward and then the Convenor of the shop stewards' committee at the Williamstown Naval Dockyard. From there he was elected by the members of the union to be the Secretary of the Melbourne District of the Amalgamated Engineering Union, and later the Assistant National Secretary of the Amalgamated Metal Workers Union. At the end of his union years he was the Assistant Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions. During that time he led a major national government review of the Australian vocational education system.[3][4][5][6]

Carmichael was the classic, self-taught working class intellectual. He read very widely for pleasure, for the sake of learning, and to inform his practical activity. His reading ranged broadly from the Marxist classics, non Marxist political and economic commentary, classical and modern history, technology and computerization and classical music. <insert link to LC Jr's obituary.)

From 1983 to 1993 the Australian Labor government operated a method of consultation with big business and Australian unions, commonly known as the Accord(s). Carmichael was a "linchpin" of the union team that represented workers in the consultations between the government, employers, and unions.[7]


  1. Reeves, Andrew (2013). Organise, Educate, Control. Melbourne: Monash University. p. 173. ISBN 9781922235008. Search this book on
  2. Reeves, Andrew; Dettmer (2013). Organise, Educate, Control. Monash University Publishing. pp. 71–83. Search this book on
  3. Mansfield, Bill (26 March 2001). "Lifelong Learning".
  4. Mansfied, Bill (5 September 1994). "Training and Work Organisation". Australian Council of Trade Unions.
  5. Carmichael, Laurie (25 October 1989). "Award Restructuring - Implications For Skill Formation And Training". Australian Council of Trade Unions.
  6. ACTU, Various. "References regarding Laurie Carmichael". Australian Council of Trade Unions.
  7. Aarons, Brian (1989). "Labor's Five Years: COUNSEL FOR THE DEFENCE, An Interview with Laurie Carmichael". Australian Left Review.

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