Statement from ACTU Secretary Jeff Lawrence and ACTU President Ged Kearney

The Australian union movement expresses its great sadness at the passing of Bill Mansfield.

Bill Mansfield was a stalwart of the union movement who had a lifelong commitment to working Australians.

He was an Assistant Secretary of the ACTU for 17 years and later distinguished himself as a Commissioner of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission.

Bill Mansfield spent 39 years as a full-time union official.

Raised in Yarrawonga in northern Victoria, he began his working life as a telecommunications technician for the government-owned forerunner of Telstra, and became National Secretary of the Australian Telecommunications Employees Association at the age of 36.

Within the union movement, his contributions and interests ranged from occupational health and safety issues, vocational education and training, and industrial advocacy.

He sat on the Australian National Training Authority Board and the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission.

He had a commitment to international institutions and as an elected member of the Governing Body of the International Labour Organisation for six years he developed conventions that help working people globally.

On the Australian Industrial Relations Commission between 2002 and 2007, he earned the respect of both unions and employer representatives for his integrity and impartiality.

After his retirement as a union official, Bill continued to serve in a voluntary capacity as the ACTU’s Returning Officer.

Bill was a popular colleague of ACTU staff both past and present and will be remembered fondly by all within the union movement for his generous nature and his passion to improve the lives of working people.

The ACTU extends its sincere condolences to Bill’s wife, Joyce, and his family.

Statement from ITUC General Secretary and former ACTU President Sharan Burrow

It is indeed a sad day. Bill Mansfield wore trade union commitment woven into the very fabric of his being – with a generosity of heart, an unwavering determination to achieve results for workers and a level of competence and efficiency that was an inspiration.

In his final role as a Commissioner in our labour tribunal both unions and employers would seek his help in conciliation and arbitration because his ethical compass was glued to the principle of a ‘fair go all round’ that sits at the heart of traditional industrial values in our nation. For me and for so many other he was always there – friend, mentor , comrade – it’s just seems wrong that he has gone.

Bill was also deeply in love with his wife Joyce and his family meant everything to him and my thoughts are with them.

Sadly we say farewell but with enormous gratitude and love for a trade union man.