The IRSV Celebrates its 50th Anniversary

Australia’s longest-serving Labor Prime Minister Bob Hawke was the guest of honour at this historic event. ABC TV presenter Barrie Cassidy expertly moderated the discussion between Hawke and the IRSV’s members. The event was very well attended with members and their guests present from: unions, employers, companies, universities, the legal profession, consultants, the media and government agencies, including the Fair Work Commission and distinguished guests.

Emeritus Professor Joe Isaac AO of Melbourne and Monash universities had been one of the IRSV’s founders and the 1st president in 1963. Joe participated in the event, saying that he is still proud to be an IR Club member!  Joe received warm tributes from Hawke, Brian Lacy, president of the Australian Labour and Employment Relations Association (ALERA) and the IRSV’s president and Monash University’s Professor Greg Bamber.

Others present included Kate and Richard Barry – the daughter and grandson of the late Sir Richard Kirby. He was the long-serving President of a forerunner to the Fair Work Commission when the IRSV was born and when Hawkey was the ACTU’s IR
advocate at the Commission. (Another connection between the two men is that Blanche d'Alpuget wrote biographies of both of them!)

We are working on making the video from the event available  -this page will be updated once this has been successful. Among many other insightful comments at the Lunch discussion, Hawke observed that there has been a decline in union membership around the world. He said this reflects technological
change and the increased numbers of women in the workforce. According to the former PM, in the past women had been less likely to participate in unions, though he welcomed the increase of women in leading positions in unions. 

The IRSV gave a commemorative 50th Birthday mug to all guests at the event. The Society is run by volunteers and much appreciates those who participated, in particular, Bob Hawke, Barrie Cassidy, Brian Lacy and Greg Bamber. The IRSV is grateful to the many people who enthusiastically helped to organize this successful event.