Biographies of Guests

Guy Ryder

Guy Ryder is the General Secretary of the International Confederation of Trade Unions.

Guy is a former senior official for the British Trade Union Congress and prior to taking up his current position at the ICFTU was a worker representative and Director at the International Labour Organisation.

Guy has been at the forefront of many international campaigns for workers rights and against child labour and has lead the call for effective governance of globalisation through global institutions.

Linda Chavez-Thompson

Linda Chavez-Thompson was elected Executive Vice President of the AFL-CIO on October 25, 1995 at the federation's convention in New York, part of an insurgent campaign to reinvigorate the American labor movement. She was re-elected on September 30, 1997 to a four-year term.

A second-generation American of Mexican descent, Linda has thirty years of experience in the labor movement. She rose from the organizing ranks of her union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, to become the first person of color elected to an executive office of the AFL-CIO. She is the highest ranking woman in the American labor movement.

Born to sharecropper parents in Lubbock, Texas, Linda began her trade union career as union secretary for the Laborers' International Union from December 1967 through June 1971. She became an International Union Representative of the AFSCME from 1971-1973. She also served in several positions with both the San Antonio Local and Texas Council of AFSCME from 1973 through 1995. In her capacity she was responsible for advancing legislative, political action, and education programs, as well as conducting every level of grievance procedures for membership representation.

She directed the union's efforts in a seven-state district – Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah - an area that is widely recognized as unfriendly to labor. Prior to her election as Executive Vice President, Linda served as a Vice-President of the AFL-CIO since August 3, 1993. She also served as a National Vice-President of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement from 1986 through 1996.

Since her election, Linda has become active in many national organizations, as part of AFL-CIO's program to work with other community groups.

Ross Wilson

Ross Wilson was elected president of the NZCTU in 1999. Prior to that he was vice president of the NZCTU for 8 years.

Ross is qualified as a barrister and solicitor. His first union job was assistant general secretary of the National Union of Railway Workers. He went on to be national secretary of the Harbour Workers' Union and the first national secretary of the Rail and Maritime Transport Union.

Ross is a strong advocate for workers' health and safety. He has campaigned hard for improved health and safety and ACC legislation. Ross is a former deputy chair of the Accident Compensation corporation and is a leader of COAC (Coalition on Accident Compensation).

Willie Madisha

Willie Madisha was elected at a Special Congress in 1999 as President of COSATU. Willie grew up in the Atteridgeville Township of Pretoria. There he participated in the activities of the United Democratic Front. He completed his high school education in Attridgeville and read teaching at the Transvaal College of Education in Soshanguve - Pretoria North. Willie moved to the Northern Province district of Zebediela after battling (without success) to find a job in the Pretoria area.

After the unbanning of the ANC, Willie became the first chair of the ANC in the Zebediela area. He served as the Lebowakgomo branch secretary of the SACP between 1992 and 1993. Between 1993 and 1996, he served as a member of the Provincial Executive Committee of the SACP in the Northern Province.

Willie became the chairperson of the Northern Transvaal Teachers' Union (the forerunner to SADTU) in Zebediela. He joined SADTU at its inception and was elected SADTU Deputy President in 1995, rising to the position of President in 1996. He was re-elected to the position last year.

Barbara Pocock

Dr Barbara Pocock is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Social Inquiry – Gender Studies and Labour at the University of Adelaide.

Barbara has authored many works in the area of labour studies including Fifty Families - a study into the effects of long hours of work on Australian families.

Barbara spent a year as an industrial adviser to the then Leader of the Australian Democrats, Senator Natasha Stott-Despoja.

Recently Barbara has just published The Work\Life Collision.

Margaret Jackson AC

Margaret Jackson is one of Australia’s foremost women in business. She currently holds appointments as:

  • Chairman of Qantas Airways Limited since 2000 (Director since 1992)
  • Director, ANZ Banking Group Limited since 1994
  • Director, Billabong International Limited since 2000
  • Deputy Chairman, People Telecom Limited
  • Director, Howard Florey Institute of Experimental Physiology and Medicine
  • Deputy Chairman, Baker Capital Campaign Task Force, Baker Medical
  • Research Institute
  • Director, Brain Imaging Research Institute
  • Chairman, Methodist Ladies College
  • Member, The Walter & Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research
  • Patron, Salvation Army Capital Appeal for Homeless Youth in Victoria
  • Member, Melbourne University Business School Association
  • Board Member, Australia Foundation for Culture and the Humanities Ltd
  • Fellow, Australian Institute of Company Directors

Simon Crean MP

Simon was born in Melbourne and educated at Melbourne High School and Monash University where he obtained degrees in economics and law. In 1985, he was elected President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) having been ACTU Junior Vice-President (1981-83) and ACTU Senior Vice-President (1983-85). He was a member of the governing body of the International Labor Organisation, the Economic Planning and Advisory Council, the Board of Qantas, the Board of the AIDC and the Transport Industry Advisory Council.

Following his election to Federal Parliament in 1990, Simon was appointed Minister for Science and Technology. He was also Minister Assisting the Treasurer with responsibility for the Prices Surveillance Authority, the Foreign Investment Review Board and the Australian Bureau of Statistics. From June 1991 until December 1993, Simon was Minister for Primary Industries and Energy. He was then appointed Minister for Employment, Education and Training.

From March 1996, he was Shadow Minister for Industry and Regional Development and Manager of Opposition Business and in October 1998, he was elected Deputy Opposition Leader and appointed Shadow Treasurer.

Following the 2001 federal election, Simon was elected unopposed as Leader of the Opposition on 22 November 2001.

Pru Goward

Journalist, broadcaster and commentator Pru Goward was appointed Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner for a five-year term from 30 July 2001.

Pru has worked closely on issues of women's rights for several years, heading the Federal women's policy advisory unit, the Office of the Status of Women, from 1997 to 1999. She was appointed First Assistant Secretary of the Office, which reports directly to the office of Prime Minister and Cabinet, after working as a national affairs journalist and political commentator for 19 years.

At OSW, Pru presided over the introduction of the first national programme for the prevention of domestic violence - the largest program run by OSW with a budget of $50 million. She also oversaw the introduction of reform to superannuation laws for divorced couples. Pru also played a pivotal role in the promotion of the Sydney 2000 Games as the Commonwealth spokesperson for the Games in the year leading up to and during the event.

Pru completed an Economics degree with Honours from the University of Adelaide while teaching high school in Adelaide during the 1970s. She later tutored at the University while conducting Masters research. Over the past 10 years she has also run her own media management company, was a freelance newspaper and magazine columnist and a part-time lecturer in Broadcast Journalism at the University of Canberra.

Just prior to taking up the role of Sex Discrimination Commissioner, she was National Director of the Australian Property Institute. Pru is also on the boards of the John Curtin School of Medical Research and the Neuroscience Institute for Schizophrenia and Allied Disorders. She is Official Patron of the ANU Australian Rules Football Club.

Cheryl Woollard

Cheryl is the General Manager Human Resources for Autoliv Australia and has regional responsibility for Human Resources in Asia Pacific. As part of the Executive Management team for Autoliv Australia, Cheryl's role is to participate in setting the strategic direction of a thriving business in the automotive components industry as well as providing the full range of HR services. She is a member of the Autoliv Global HR Council.

Starting out as a primary school teacher, Cheryl moved into lecturing at Deakin University in the school of Education. Building on this education background, she made the move into Human Resources starting out with the Textile Clothing and Footwear Industry National Training Board, developing one of the first sets of National Competency Standards registered with ANTA.

Since then she has held a variety of senior HR roles with a focus on industrial relations. Her previous role was as Human Resource Manager at the City of Greater Geelong. Cheryl's job at Autoliv is a move back to the Broadmeadows area where she grew up. She loves the opportunity to contribute to the City of Hume and to work with and lead a very culturally diverse workforce.

Carmen Lawrence MP

Carmen was born in a wheatbelt town north of Perth. Her parliamentary career began in 1986 when she was elected to the WA Parliament. She became Premier of Western Australia in February 1990, making her Australia's first woman Premier.

Carmen was elected Federal Member for Fremantle in March 1994. She was appointed Minister for Human Services and Health and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women in March 1994 until March 1996. She joined the Shadow Ministry in September 2000 and served as the Shadow Minister for Industry, Innovation and Technology and the Status of Women.

Carmen was re-elected to the Shadow Ministry on 22 November 2001 and resigned on 5 December 2002.

Pat Dodson

Pat Dodson was born in Broome in 1948.

The Dodsons were Yawuru people from the Kimberley. His mother was brought up in Broome but had grown up under the influence of the Beagle Bay Mission to the north of Broome. Later, however, the family moved to Katherine in the Northern Territory where they were among the few indigenous Catholics in that town.

In his late teens, in the 1960s, Pat worked with a team of Aboriginal drovers.

Concern for economic and social justice for his own people, together with this strong sense of the value of their culture were two influences that impelled Pat to train for the priesthood.

He was ordained in Broome in May 1975 and shortly afterwards went to work as a parish priest at Wadeye near Port Keats in the Northern Territory.

Pat spent six years as the Chairperson of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, leaving that post in 1997.

Pat is one of Australia’s foremost indigenous leaders. In 1998 the National Trust named Pat as one of Australia’s 100 National Living Treasures.

(Bill Bunbury from Radio Nationals’ Encounter program is acknowledged in the preparation of this biography.)

Annette Ellis MP

Annette was born in Melbourne. She worked first in the private sector, before spending eight years in the Victorian public service and then joining the Commonwealth public service in Canberra in 1974. Annette was elected to the ACT Legislative Assembly in 1992 and as the Federal Member for Namadgi in 1996. Following a redistribution, Annette was elected as the Federal Member for Canberra in 1998. Annette is currently deputy chair of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Family and Community Affairs, a member of the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories and deputy chair of the Caucus Social Policy and Community Development Committee.

Annette has a long association with the Canberra community and is patron of many local organisations including the Tuggeranong Community Festival, the Tuggeranong Cowboys Football Club, Buffaloes Football Club, Bulldogs Junior AFL Club, Tuggeranong United Junior Soccer Club, Tuggeranong United Women's Soccer Club, Macarthur Scout Group, Isabella Plains Scout Group, Tuggeranong Dog Training Club and the Arthritis Foundation of the ACT. Annette was elected to the Shadow Ministry on 23 August 2002.

Professor Sol Encel

Emeritus Professor of Sociology, UNSW, Sol Encel is a renowned scholar and researcher. He is currently an Honorary Research Associate of the Social Policy Research Centre. He has written and lectured extensively on Jewish topics, where his publications include “The NSW Jewish Community“(1978), and “The Arab- Israel Conflict“ (with Ian Lacey, 1989). He is presently co-editing a forthcoming book on Jewish communities in the Diaspora.

Sol authored “Age Can Work” a publication jointly sponsored by the ACTU and the BCA.

Premier Bob Carr

Bob Carr entered parliament as a member of the NSW Legislative Assembly in 1983. During the Wran and Unsworth Governments Bob Carr was Minister for Heritage, Minister for Consumer Affairs, and Minister for Planning and Environment. In 1988 Bob Carr was elected Leader of the Opposition, a position he held until his elevation to being the Premier. In 1995 with the election of the Carr Labor Government, Bob Carr became Premier of New South Wales and the Minister for the Arts. For four years he was also the Minister for Ethnic Affairs. Bob Carr has led the Parliamentary Labor Party in NSW for 15 years.

Premier Steve Bracks

Steve Bracks was born on the 15th of October 1954 in Ballarat, Victoria. Steve was educated at St Patrick’s' College in Ballarat and then Ballarat University where he achieved a Diploma of Business Studies (Accounting) and a Graduate Diploma of Education (Economics).

In 1976 Steve became a secondary commerce teacher, a position he held for five years. Steve then moved on to be an Employment Project Worker and Municipal Recreation Officer a position he held until 1985. After this Steve then became the Executive Director of the Ballarat Education Centre until 1989. Steve was the Statewide Manager of Victoria's Employment Programs before becoming the Executive Director of the Victorian Printing Industry Training Board from 1993 to 1994.

In 1994 Steve was elected to represent the people of Williamstown in the Victorian Legislative Assembly. In March of 1999 he was elected as the leader of the Parliamentary Labor Party and then led Labor to an historic victory against the Kennett Government in September of the same year. On 20 October 1999 Steve was sworn in as Premier of Victoria.

The Bracks Government was re-elected with a record majority in November 2002.

Throughout his time as Premier, Steve has also been Minister for Multicultural Affairs and he briefly held the position of the Treasurer of Victoria.

Tom Woodruff

Tom Woodruff was elected Executive Vice President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in June 2001. He works with local unions in the Central Region and oversees the International Union's organising program.

Tom began work in the labor movement as an organiser in West Virginia in 1974 for 1199, the National Health Care Workers Union. He became president of District 1199 West Virginia, Kentucky, and Ohio in 1980 and a vice president of the national union. In 1980, 1199/WV/KY/OH had 1,000 members, but by 1996 it had grown to more than 13,000. The union affiliated with SEIU in 1989 and Tom was elected to the International Union Executive Board in 1992.

Following John Sweeney’s election as President of the AFL-CIO in 1996, SEIU elected a new leadership team headed by President Andrew L. Stern. At Stern’s request, Tom left his local union and became the assistant to the president for organising at SEIU.

From 1996 to 2001, SEIU had its most successful organising period ever, uniting more than 400,000 new workers. Tom is leading a ground-breaking effort to increase vastly the number of workers in SEIU’s key industries who are represented by SEIU local unions. This effort is a linchpin of the bold program known as “New Strength Unity” that SEIU delegates overwhelmingly approved at the 2000 SEIU International Convention.

Ken Georgetti

Ken Georgetti was elected President of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) at its 22nd Convention, held in Toronto in May of 1999. He became the youngest-ever CLC president. While representing a generational change in leadership, Ken's background and experience well prepared him for the issues facing Canadian workers in the new century.

Ken arrived at the head of the CLC after a quarter century of union activism in British Columbia, home to this country's most polarized politics and of a vibrant labour movement. Born in Trail, in the southern interior of the province, Ken first worked as a hard-rock miner. Then, like his father, went to work in the giant Cominco smelter. He worked in most areas of the smelter and earned his trade ticket as a pipefitter. Following the family tradition, Ken became active in the United Steelworkers of America Local 480, rising through the ranks to President of the Local in 1981.

Elected Vice-President of the B.C. Federation of Labour in 1984, he became its youngest-ever President a short two years later. At the same time, he broadened his national labour involvement by becoming a Provincial Vice-President of the CLC. During his 13 years as President of the ‘B.C. Fed', he oversaw the Federation's rapid expansion, with membership growing from 218,000 to more than 450,000.

Ken has encouraged labour to take active control of union pension plans and began a number of successful, socially-responsible investment initiatives. Ken has used the traditional investor structure at annual general meetings to push corporations to assume social responsibility and implement codes of conduct based on respect for workers' rights and protection of the environment.

Ken is also involved in international issues, continuing a long CLC tradition. He is a Vice-President and member of the Executive Board of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), and a member of the ICFTU Human and Workers' Rights Committee. He is also an executive member of the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Ken has been recognized by various levels of government for his contributions to labour relations and the overall well-being of Canadian society. In 1998, he became the first union leader to receive the distinguished Order of British Columbia. In 2000, he received the Order of Canada – only the tenth labour leader to be so honoured.

Craig Emerson MP

Craig has been the Member for Rankin since 1998. Before being elected he ran an economic and environmental consulting business. He is a former head of the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage and the South East Queensland Transit Authority. Craig was a senior policy adviser to Bob Hawke and Wayne Goss. He was also economic adviser to Finance Minister Peter Walsh. Craig has a PhD in economics and has worked as an economist at the United Nations in Bangkok. Craig was elected to the Shadow Ministry on 22 November 2001.

Craig is currently the Labor spokesperson on workplace relations.

Senator Kerry Nettle

Kerry Nettle holds a science degree with honours from the University of New South Wales. Whilst at university she was the environment officer at the UNSW Student Guild in 1996. She coordinated the Public Transport Conference in 1997 and 1998. From 1998 to 1999 she was the Office coordinator at the NSW Greens. Kerry then worked as a youth worker from 1999 to 2000. In 2000 and 2001 Kerry was the campaign coordinator of Stop the Women's Jail.

In 2001 Kerry was elected to the Senate from New South Wales. She is currently the Greens spokesperson on workplace relations.

The Hon Bob Hawke AC

Bob Hawke was born on 9 December 1929 at Bordertown, South Australia. He was educated at Perth Modern School, the University of Western Australia, graduating LLB and BA (Economics), and Oxford University, which he attended from 1953 - 1955 as a Rhodes Scholar. At Oxford he gained the degree of Bachelor of Letters for his thesis on the role of the Australian Commonwealth Court of Conciliation and Arbitration and the development of the concept of the basic wage.

Bob’s long career in public life, as the President of the ACTU and the longest serving Labor Prime Minister, has been characterised by a commitment to the betterment of the lives of all Australians, and a faith in the future of Australia as an outward looking and independent nation, confident of its place in the world. As a leader, Bob identified with people of diverse backgrounds and interests. He earned a reputation as a skilled conciliator, building consensus by finding the common ground between opposing sides and reaching down to shared values and interests more fundamental than the sectional values and interests represented in conflict.

Bob was made a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in 1979. He is an Honorary Fellow at University College, Oxford and holds honorary doctorates from the University of Western Australia, Nanjing University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of New South Wales. Since leaving political life he has held visiting professorial positions in several academic institutions and has been active in a wide range of community projects.

John Monks

John Monks is the General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation.

Born in Manchester in 1945, John holds an Education Degree in Economic History from Nottingham University.

John joined the Trades Union Congress in the UK in 1969. In 1977 he became the head of the TUC's Organization and Industrial Relations Department. In 1987 John became the Deputy General Secretary of the TUC and rose to become the General Secretary in 1993.

Outside the trade union movement John is a member of the following bodies:

  • Council of Britain in Europe.
  • The Executive Committees of the European Trade Union Confederation and the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions.
  • earning and Skills Council and Chairman of its Adult Learning Committee.
  • The Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Standing Committee on European and Monetary.

John is also a Visiting Professor to the School of Management at UMIST, Manchester.

John was elected General Secretary of the ETUC at its congress in Prague May 2003.

Jenny Macklin MP

Jenny was born in Brisbane. She grew up in country Victoria before going to university in Melbourne. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce with Honours. Jenny was an adviser to the Victorian Minister for Health and from 1990 to 1993 she was responsible for the National Health Strategy, a national review of Australia's health system. From 1994 to 1996, Jenny was the director of another major policy review for the Federal Labor Government on urban and regional development. She was elected to Federal Parliament in 1996 and during her first term held the Shadow Ministerial portfolios of Social Security, the Aged, Family and Community Services and Status of Women. After re-election in 1998 she became the Shadow Minister for Health and the Status of Women. Jenny was elected to the ALP National Executive in 1998 and in 2000 was elected as the Senior Vice-President of the ALP. Following the 2001 federal election, Jenny was elected unopposed as Deputy Leader of the Opposition on 22 November 2001.

Rod Wilson

Rod Wilson is the spokesperson for the Victorian Medicare Action Group. Rod is also the CEO Inner East Community Health.

Alison McClelland

Alison McClelland is Associate Professor of Social Work and Social Policy at La Trobe University. She was previously a Director of the Brotherhood of St Laurence, responsible for Social Action and Research. Her main work has been directed to examining the impact of social and economic policies on the distribution of material wellbeing in Australia. This has included work on taxation, income security, unemployment, health and economic reform.

Wendy Caird (PSI)

Wendy Caird is the Quality Public Services Coordinator with Public Services International. She is a former National Secretary of the Community and Public Sector Union.