Tas Bull, former general secretary of the Waterside Workers’ Federation, died in his Sydney home this afternoon.
A seafarer, waterside worker, socialist and union
activist, Tas was elected a WWF official in 1967, becoming general secretary in
1984, a position he held until his retirement in December, 1992. He was also
appointed vice president of the ACTU in 1987 and senior vice president in 1991
as well as representing the Asia Pacific region on the executive board of the
International Transport Workers’ Federation for 10 years.
While retiring from the union, Tas Bull did not retire
from the struggle, distinguishing himself as chairperson of the ACTU organising
works program, the ACTU overseas aid agency, Apheda, and as president of Cuban
Children’s Fund. He celebrated his 70th birthday in Havana, Cuba with friends
and comrades last year.
Tas Bull wrote two books – “On the Waterfront” released
during the Patrick dispute, and “Politics in the Union” on the 1950s Hursey
Born in Tasmania, Tas went to sea the age of 14 on
British and Scandinavian ships joining the Seamen’s Union in 1954 after his
return to Australia four years later.
His first industrial battles were fought during the
waterfront strikes of 1954 and 1956 when, as a seafarer, he assisted local WWF
strike activity in Port Pirie and Hobart. He then joined the waterfront and the
WWF in 1956.
Tas Bull was influential in the decision to amalgamate
the WWF and the Seamen’s Union of Australia into the Maritime Union of
He is survived by his wife Carmen and his two sons Peder
and Anders.
Contacts: Paddy Crumlin, MUA 0418 379
Greg Combet, ACTU, 0417 385 626