Bob Henricks

Interviewed by
Sue Yarrow
Oct 09 2012
Bob Henricks
Time Summary Keywords

Sue Yarrow introduces Bob Henricks, outlining his union and political background and his current activities.


Bob Henricks discusses starting his electrical apprenticeship and his union involvement. He recalls that Col Emery in the ETU was one of his mentors. He discusses his involvement in campaigns, as the workplace ETU Shop Steward and then an organiser.

apprenticeships, Col Emery, ETU, union positions

Bob Henricks discusses the ETU's central involvement in the SEQEB dispute. He discusses his involvement as Assistant Secretary of the ETU and the impact that the strike had on the union and labour movement including subsequent financial troubles and his role to resolve them.

ETU, Joh Bjelke-Petersen, SEQEB dispute

Bob Henricks discusses Neal Kane who was the newly elected State Secretary when Henricks joined the ETU after Archie Dawson.

ETU, Neal Kane

Bob Henricks discusses the Vitenam War and the era of conscription during which he was a conscientious objector with very strongly held objections.

Vietnam War

Bob Henricks discusses personalities and events from the ETU including: Doug Sherrington MP (former ETU) for Archerfield, Jack Houston, in the ETU was later the MP for Bulimba, Tom Burns, Col Emery; and Neal Kane (ETU) and Jack Egerton from the TLC and 'Mickey Spillall' (the satirical pamphlet distributed anonymously in the ALP during the reform years). He discusses spending time with Rod Jones (Egerton's brother-in-law) from Arlington Park sheep station near Ilfracombe.

Col Emery, Doug Sherrington, ETU, Jack Houston, Mickey Spillall, Neal Kane, Tom Burns

Bob Henricks outlines his early history, joining the Inala Branch of the ALP where he knew Nic Bos and Kev Hooper.

Kevin Hooper, Nic Bos

Bob Henricks discusses the ALP factions before the (1957) split including the AWU and Trades Hall Group (THG) and reflects on the general involvement needed to win government, including the rural workers and general unions, and the role of leaders.

AWU, factions, leadership, Trades Hall Group

Bob Henricks discusses Jack Egerton and his weakness in taking the knighthood and Fred Whitby's predecessor, Alex Macdonald.

Alex Macdonald, Fred Whitby, Jack Egerton, Trades and Labor Council

Bob Henricks discusses members of the THG: Neal Kane (ETU), Harry Hauenschild (Metals Union), Archie Bevis (TWU), Tom Burton (Printing Union), Fred Whitby (FMWU then became TLC Secretary), and Jack Egerton (TLC), and Tom Burns.

Amalgamated Metal Workers Union, Archie Bevis, ETU, Fred Whitby, Harry Hauenschild, Jack Egerton, Neal Kane, Tom Burns, Trades Hall Group, Transport Workers Union

Bob Henricks discusses the THG and the function of plebiscites in selecting candidates.

Trades Hall Group

Bob Henricks discusses his time as the President of Arana Hills Branch of the ALP and approaches from people for him to run as a candidate in elections.

Joy Guyatt

Bob Henricks discusses the issues of 1960s and 1970s including anti-uranium, Springboks, Vietnam moratorium, street march bans, and opposition to Bjelke-Petersen. He describes hiding incendiary bombs for the Springbok game. 

Joh Bjelke-Petersen, protest, Springboks Rugby tour 1971, uranium mining, Vietnam War

Bob Henricks discusses the TLC and union involvement in protest action. He states that Ken McGrath from the TWU was the first Secretary of the Unions Conservation Committee and Henricks the second. He discusses his involvement in stopping drilling oil on the Barrier Reef, Fraser Island campaigns and his membership of the Fraser Island Defenders Organisation (FIDO) including injuries sustained in a clash with AWU mine workers, his arrest during the SEQEB strike and police harassment.

AWU, Communist Party, environment issues, Fraser Island, Great Barrier Reef, Ken McGrath, oil, sand mining, SEQEB dispute, Transport Workers Union

Bob Henricks recalls attending anti-nuclear rallies and Hiroshima Day functions as well as organising the biggest union supported rally in King George Square, Brisbane, calling for the banning of mining on Fraser Island with Jim Cairns, John Sinclair and Pat Mackie among the speakers and 5000 people.

environment issues, Fraser Island, Jim Cairns, John Sinclair, Pat Mackie, protest, sand mining, uranium mining

Bob Henricks discusses support within the union over conservation issues.

environment issues

Bob Henricks discusses progressive movements in the ETU and draws parallels with the 2012 privatisation issue.

ETU, privatisation

Bob Henricks recalls the Whitlam era and the divide between young people either trained in a trade or with academic qualifications as the underpinning to some factional divisions. 


Bob Henricks reflects on the reactions to Jack Egerton's knighthood.

Jack Egerton

Bob Henricks discusses unrest among ALP members in his Arana Hills Branch, the labelling of 'groupers' and the distribution of Mickey Spillall publications.

Mickey Spillall, Ray Dempsey

Bob Henricks discusses the reformers and the Old Guard in the ALP.


Bob Henricks discusses the main ALP reformers including: Bill Hayden, Denis Murphy, George Georges and Peter Beattie.

Bill Hayden, Denis Murphy, George Georges, Peter Beattie

Bob Henricks discusses 'traitors' to the Labor cause, the makeup of the Old Guard and Peter Beattie's relationship with the media.

media, Peter Beattie

Bob Henricks outlines his views on plebiscites and proportional representation.


Bob Henricks discusses the Queensland Branch Committee of Enquiry in 1978.


Bob Henricks discusses the relationship between Neal Kane and BIll Hayden.

Bill Hayden, Neal Kane

Bob Henricks discusses the 1979 ALP Rockhampton Conference.


Bob Henricks discusses the relationship between the THG and Jack Egerton.

Harry Hauenschild, Jack Egerton, Neal Kane, Trades Hall Group

Bob Henricks reflects on his involvement with Nic Bos and the ALP Old Guard at Breakfast Creek with security provided by the Painters and Dockers.

Nic Bos, unions

Bob Henricks discusses the ALP splitters including Gerry Jones, Clem Jones, Harry Hauenschild, Neal Kane, Fred Whitby and Tom Burton with support from Ron McLean, Secretary of the 'Wharfies'.

Clem Jones, Fred Whitby, Gerry Jones, Harry Hauenschild, Neal Kane, Ron McLean, Waterside Workers Federation

Bob Henricks recalls joining the ALP Old Guard faction and the emergence of factions after federal intervention took place.

ETU, factions, John Ducker

Bob Henricks discusses the ALP Old Guard positions in both New South Wales and Queensland, and the support he needed to become ETU National President.

ETU, John Ducker

Bob Henricks reflects on the causes of the ALP intervention.


Bob Henricks discusses the influence of the AWU within the ALP.


Bob Henricks calls the ALP intervention a 'disaster'.


Bob Henricks reflects on the legacy of the ALP intervention.


Interview ends