Bob Anderson

Interviewed by
Robin Sullivan and Rodney Sullivan
Dec 12 2013
Bob Anderson, 2013
Time Summary Keywords

Bob Anderson speaks about his family history in terms of where they were from and the sort of schooling they had. He speaks of his Indigenous ties, and the ties 'to country' in regards to Moreton Island (Mulgumpin) and Stradbroke Island (Minjerribah).

Indigenous issues, Moreton Island

Bob Anderson speaks about his early experiences growing up in regards to his early schooling, the working roles of the adults and the industries on Stradbroke Island at that time, and his early sense of identity. He also talks of the transition experienced by the locals going from using a barter system to a cash economy.

dairy industry, Stradbroke Island

Bob Anderson speaks of his community and family involvement with trade unions, including men he grew up with who were members of the Australian Workers Union, and an uncle, Paul Tripcony, who was vice-president of the Federated Liquor Trade Employees Union during the mid-1930s.

Aboriginal Affairs, AWU, Health Department, Paul Tripcony, Sandgate

Bob Anderson discusses his later schooling at Fortitude Valley and East Brisbane and his early days in the workforce.

education, Stradbroke Island

Bob Anderson discusses his early awareness of trade unions, why and when he first joined a union and how he became involved as a union official.

BWIU, Collinsville, industrial disputes, Miscellaneous Workers Union, Paul Tripcony, South Brisbane, union positions, unions

Bob Anderson speaks about who influenced and inspired him during the earlier times doing union work. He talks of an experience involving the apparent price fixing of household gas, and how one of the people who influenced him, Gerry Dawson, approached the situation.

Gerry Dawson

Bob Anderson gives examples of how being forthright or showing 'audacity' became a key feature of his union activities. This was of particular use when he went over to the Bougainville Copper Mine, northern Papua New Guinea as part of a group of union officials to investigate pay and working conditions, at the company's request.

ACTU, Amalgamated Metal Workers Union, Bjelke-Petersen Government 1968-87, Bougainville Copper, Cloncurry Mining, Mount Isa Mines, Papua New Guinea, Pat Mackie, Special Branch, Transport Workers Union

Bob Anderson speaks of criticism of unions during the Mount Isa mining disputes, in particular the Australian Workers Union, claiming that for a time it was considered a 'company union', in that it was viewed as working more for the interests of the company than the workers.

AWU, Dunstan House, Edgar Williams, Geoff Wills, Mount Isa Mines, unions

Bob Anderson discusses demarcation disputes and his experience of them.

BWIU, demarcation disputes

Bob Anderson talks of social and political campaigns and organisations he has been involved in, including branches of the Labor Party, the Communist Party, the Queensland Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders (QCAATI). He also talks of the activities of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) during his involvement with these organisations.

ASIO, Communism, Indigenous issues, Kath Walker, QCAATSI

Bob Anderson talks of his and his union's stance on the environment.

environment issues, union campaigns

Bob Anderson discusses the impact of Indigenous perspectives, values and descent. He discusses social causes involving Indigenous people, and his union activity and working as a union official.

Bessie Point, Indigenous issues, Reconciliation, Townsville, union campaigns, union positions, Yarrabah

Bob Anderson talks of his union peak body affiliations. He discusses the popularity and high membership numbers during a period of time of his involvement.

Communism, Gerry Dawson, peak bodies, Queensland Council of Unions, Trades and Labor Council, union solidarity

Bob Anderson discusses the reasoning behind his change of political party membership from the Labor Party to the Communist Party. He discusses information kept on him by ASIO.

Albert Namatjira, ASIO, Communism, Eureka Youth League, Reedy River, Shearers dispute

Bob Anderson talks about the changing strategies and issues faced by the trade union movement. He discusses the issue of Work Choices.

AWAs, Howard Government 1996-2007, unions, Work Choices

Bob Anderson talks about the decline in union membership numbers, his move from the Building Workers Industrial Union to the Federated Ship Painters and Dockers Union, and the different tactics this now defunct union had in comparison to his first union.

BWIU, declining union membership, ship building, technology, union positions

Bob Anderson discusses his philosophy regarding any regrets relating to his time involved with trade union activity, as well as what he saw as highlights. He discusses involvement in situations relating to the South African Springboks rugby team visiting Brisbane and Apartheid issues as memorable events in his career.

civil disobedience, Courier mail, Hugh Hamilton, Springboks Rugby tour 1971, unions

Bob Anderson discusses the invitation given to him and a number of other Indigenous Australians to meet Nelson Mandela in 1990 in Sydney.

Indigenous issues, Nelson Mandela

Bob Anderson discusses some of the highlights from his career, such as meeting well known personalities including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mikhail Gorbachev and Gerry Adams. He talks a little about both sides of his own heritage, the Aboriginal Australian and the Irish.

Griffith University, Indigenous issues

Interview ends