Statement from ACTU Secretary Sally McManus:

The Australian Union Movement is deeply saddened and shocked by the sudden passing of David Smith, National Secretary of the Australian Services Union (ASU).

Our movement sends its deepest sympathies to David’s family and his colleagues.

David was a kind, compassionate and thoughtful man and we will remember him for his generosity and commitment to the labour movement.

He started his working life as a clerk at Queensland Rail and it was this formative experience that ingrained in him his desire to make life better for working people.

He would go on to serve his union for over 28 years standing up for working people as an official of the ASU including the last 8 years as its National Secretary.

David’s leadership was instrumental in the fight for equal pay. His achievements in the Queensland case would set the standard for the National Equal Pay case that resulted in life changing wage increases for social and community services workers.

David’s commitment to universal superannuation was also a highlight of his career having served on a number of superannuation funds, including Energy Super, and most recently HESTA.

His previous role as President of the Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) underscored his commitment to provide working people with dignity even after they have left the workforce David was a unifying force in the ASU and throughout our movement.

He brought people together and his advice and counsel was held in high regard and often sought by other unions leaders.

We will miss him dearly.