The Australian union movement is saddened by the passing today of former ACTU Assistant Secretary Laurie Carmichael.

Laurie dedicated his life to improving the living standards of working people and he shall be remembered as a giant of the Australian union movement.

After serving in World War II, in the fight to keep Australia free from fascism and Nazism, Laurie joined the Amalgamated Engineers Union (a forerunner to today’s Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, AMWU) while working on the Williamstown naval dockyards.

In 1958 Laurie became the state Secretary of the Amalgamated Engineers Union and in 1972 he became Assistant National Secretary of the Amalgamated Engineers Union.

In what would prove to be a boon for the working people of Australia Laurie was elected to the position of ACTU Assistant Secretary in 1987.

Working closely with ACTU Secretary Bill Kelty, Laurie was a pivotal part of the team that developed accord era improvements for working people.

Laurie shaped and advocated for universal superannuation, Medicare and the 38 hour working week.

His was a life of unrelenting advocacy which, coupled with his visionary and strategic mind, played a key role in some of the most pivotal economic and industrial reforms in Australian history.

The deepest sympathies and gratitude of the entire Australian union movement are extended to the Carmichael family, his son Laurie Carmichael Jnr and his step daughter Kerry.