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Workshop and Symposia


  • Has ‘class warfare’ always featured in the history of Australia?
    3rd Jun 2016 Room 5040, Level 5, Abercrombie Building H70

    Some sporadic evidence gleaned from 19th and 20th century contests between businesses, between governments and public servants, and between industry and academe.

    Abstract: Australia’s only bloody revolution at Eureka in 1854 was over before lunch time, so evidence of our ‘class warfare’ has to be sought elsewhere. Conflict has by no means been confined to capital and labour. Fierce battles have been fought between members of different belief systems, religious and secular, between politicians and public servants, and between business and academe. This talk offers 20th century snippets of a merger/suicide in the insurance industry, the unlikely passing in Macquarie Street of cultural legislation as World War II begins, and a no-holds-barred stoush between a famous economist and a Sydney solicitor for the soul of Australia’s first business school.

    Bio: Carmel Maguire began her career as a special librarian in Canberra and then spent more than 10 years at the National Library of Australia. In 1969, she jumped at the chance to teach and research Librarianship and Information Studies at the university of New South. Thirty-five years later, she retired as an Associate Professor, having created opportunities for many librarians to obtain higher degrees and having pursued research particularly in the role of information services in innovation. In retirement, she was awarded a doctorate for her biography of Geoffrey Remington.

    Date: Friday 3 June 2016

    Time: 1:00pm-2:30pm

    Venue: Room 5040 Level 5
    Abercrombie Building H70 (Corner of Codrington & Abercrombie Street)
    Darlington, The University of Sydney

  • Book Launch and Discussion
    24th Aug 2016 The Refectory, Level 5, Abercrombie Building (H70)

    The Business and Labour History Group invites you to the book launch and discussion event:

    'Worker Voice: Employee Representation in the Workplace in Australia, Canada, Germany, the UK and the US 1914–1939'
    Greg Patmore, Liverpool University Press

    Launched by Emeritus Professor Russell Lansbury

    This book informs debates about worker participation in the workplace or worker voice by analysing comparative historical data relating to these ideas during the inter-war period in Australia, Canada, Germany, the UK and the US. The issue is topical because of the contemporary shift to a workplace focus in many countries without a corresponding development of infrastructure at the workplace level, and because of the growing ‘representation gap’ as union membership declines. Some commentators have called for the introduction of works councils to address these issues. Other scholars have gone back and examined the experiences with the non-union Employee Representation Plans (ERPs) in Canada and the US. This book will test these claims through examining and comparing the historical record of previous efforts of five countries during a rich period of experimentation between the Wars. In addition to ERPs, the book expands the debate will by examining union-management co-operation, Whitley works committees and German works councils.

    The Co-op Bookshop will have copies of the book available for purchase at the launch event.

  • 'Alternative Business Histories' - 8th Annual AAHANZBS Conference
    3rd Nov 2016

    Macquarie University, Australia

    The Department of Marketing and Management, Macquarie University, is hosting the 8th Annual Conference of AAHANZBS on 3-4 November 2016. Presenters will explore a range of topics related to the conference theme of “Alternative Business Histories” including alternative business models, fresh and novel methodological approaches, cross-disciplinary studies and new directions for research. The Plenary Speaker is Cheryl S. McWatters, Father Edgar Thivierge Chair in Business History and Professor of Accounting, University of Ottawa.

    The second day of the conference will incorporate a symposium on “Co-operatives, Mutuals and Labour” sponsored by the Business and Labour History Group, The University of Sydney. If you wish attend this event and not the whole conference you can register for Friday only on the conference website.

    The details for the conference can be found at the AAHANZBS Conference website.

  • Documenting the struggle: The National Pay Equity Coalition 1988-2010
    12th Dec 2016 Room 5070, Level 5, Abercrombie Building (H70)


    This talk arises from the collaboration between the Chambers Research Collection at Burren Street and activists from the National Pay Equity Coalition in a project to conserve the archives of this very significant group in the fight for women’s wage equality. The talk will reflect on the history of the Coalition and the issues involved in preserving the records.


    Dr Meredith Burgmann is a long time feminist and political activist. She was a Politics academic at Macquarie University for 18 years and President of the Academics’ Union. Then she was a Labor MP and President of the NSW Legislative Council. Later she was elected President of ACFID – the peak body for Australia’s Aid Agencies. She has co-founded Emily’s List, the National Pay Equity Coalition and the Annual Ernie Awards for Sexist Remarks and has written or edited three books on environmentalism, misogyny and secret police.

    Fran Hayes graduated from the University of Sydney in 1976. Since that time she has worked as a community worker, a trade union official and organiser, a union educator and in State Government policy roles related to equal employment opportunity and all aspects of women’s lives. She set up her consultancy, Fran Hayes Workplace Solutions in 1996, after the Howard Government abolished the Trade Union Training Authority (TUTA) where she was working at the time. She offers a diverse range of services to clients in the union movement and to large and small community organisations, public sector bodies and private sector businesses. Fran recalls holding the first meeting of the National Pay Equity Coalition (NPEC) in her home when she was eight months pregnant with her daughter, who recently turned 28. Since the gradual fading away of NPEC, Fran has channelled her feminist activism into the Coalition for Women’s Refuges and the SEARCH Foundation’s Feminist Network.

    Anne Junor has worked as a public school teacher, NSW Teachers Federation Research Officer, unpaid carer and academic. She was a member of NPEC in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Her academic roles span casual, part-time, full-time work and honorary appointments; she has been a Senior Research Fellow in the Industrial Relations Research Centre at UNSW since 2010. She has been involved in 3 ARC Linkage projects — on precarious education work, on identifying skills in ‘low-skilled’ work and on the future of Australian aircraft maintenance (with Sarah Gregson and others). She was part of a Discovery Project that resulted in a book comparing neoliberal public sector management in Australia and the UK, and is currently part of a UTS-based team working on an Office for Learning and Teaching grant to study the implementation of the Scholarly Teaching fellow initiative (a measure designed to mitigate university casualization). Anne was privileged to work under the oversight of Philippa Hall in an independent NZ Department of Labour-funded project to develop a taxonomy of under codified service skills. She subsequently worked with various teams applying this job analysis technique in independent projects funded by the then EOWA (2011), the UNSW Department of Finance and Operations (2012-13), a large NGO (2014), and United Voice (2016). She used the taxonomy as an expert witness in the SACS Equal Remuneration application and was member of the Standards Australia working group led by Philippa Hall to develop the Australian Gender Inclusive Job Evaluation Standard. Anne is currently Editor in Chief of The Economic and Labour Relations Review.