Wilf Ardill

Interviewed by
Sue Yarrow
May 16 2011
Wilf Ardill
Time Summary Keywords
00:00:00 Wilf Ardill discusses his first contact with the union movement while working for the Postmaster General's Department. unions
00:01:37 Wilf Ardill describes the various unions he was a member of during his working life. He relates how he became a member of the Australian Labor Party and describes the formation of the Coolangatta and Burleigh Heads branches of the party. Gold Coast, Queensland Rail, Tom Burns
00:04:17 Wilf Ardill recalls his early experiences as a member of the ALP and discusses the basis of factions in the ALP. factions, Gold Coast, Jack Egerton, Tom Burns
00:05:27 Wilf Ardill outlines his early contact with socialism and the influence of the 1930s Economic Depression and World War II on Australian politics.
00:07:48 Wilf Ardill relates his views on the 1957 split in the Queensland ALP and describes the different motivating factors for the splits in Queensland and Victoria. Jack Egerton, Vincent Gair
00:09:20 Wilf Ardill discusses ideological differences in the trade union movement. unions
00:10:36 Wilf Ardill discusses the impacts of the split on the Queensland ALP. Jack Egerton
00:12:39 Wilf Ardill comments on the role of Jack Egerton in the Queensland ALP. He comments on attempts to democratise Labour Day celebrations. Jack Egerton, unions, women
00:15:05 Wilf Ardill discusses the election of Russell Hinze who won his seat on Labor preferences. electoral redistribution, Jack Egerton, Joh Bjelke-Petersen, Russ Hinze
00:17:55 Wilf Ardill discusses the electability of the Labor Party in the period after the 1957 split.
00:18:46 Wilf Ardill comments on the desire for greater internal democracy in the ALP.
00:19:40 Wilf Ardill outlines his involvement in a Federal Labor Party conference in the 1970s and other party functions during the Whitlam years. Gough Whitlam, Jack Egerton
00:22:31 Wilf Ardill comments on his involvement in several social movements and the lack of support such movements generally received from the Queensland ALP hierarchy. Bob Hawke, Springboks Rugby tour 1971
00:23:56 Wilf Ardill recalls the role of unions in the major social movements during the 1960s and 1970s. unions
00:24:32 Wilf Ardill discusses the difficulties unions faced during the Bjelke-Petersen era. Bjelke-Petersen Government 1968-87, unions
00:25:20 Wilf Ardill discusses the poor electoral showing of the ALP in Queensland during the Whitlam years. Whitlam Government 1972-75
00:26:00 Wilf Ardill outlines the lead up to intervention. He shares his memories of the Rockhampton conference and recalls the support within unions for party reform, but states that there were internal divisions within unions over the issue. He states that his union decided to disaffiliate from the ALP to avoid splitting the union. Bill Hayden, George Georges, Joe Harris, unions
00:28:07 Wilf Ardill relates the origins of the Reform Group and the Socialist Left faction which was formed in the wake of the emergence of the Reform Group. He discusses the divide between unions and branch members. Denis Murphy, factions, Peter Beattie, unions
00:30:22 Wilf Ardill discusses the Rockhampton conference and the internal divisions within the party.
00:31:22 Wilf Ardill outlines the attitude of some in the party who prioritised having the numbers over the party rules.
00:32:51 Wilf Ardill outlines the growing involvement of women in unions. He states that some unions had few women representatives even though a large proportion of the general membership were women. unions, women
00:33:55 Wilf Ardill discusses the intervention into the Queensland branch of the ALP. He describes the push for intervention as coming from the general membership as opposed to single individuals.  Denis Murphy, Peter Beattie, unions
00:37:07 Wilf Ardill comments on the factional alliances of unions and the importance of personalities. He discusses the importance of societal changes in the formation of factions. factions, unions
00:39:25 Wilf Ardill discusses the formation of the Socialist Left faction. factions
00:40:22 Wilf Ardill speculates on what he might do differently if he had the time over again and suggests that some of the confrontations could have been avoided but stresses the electability of the ALP after the intervention. 1989 election
00:41:25 Wilf Ardill examines the impacts of the Fraser Government's Trade Practices Act and the banning of sympatric action from other unions. Trades and Labor Council, unions
00:43:33 Wilf Ardill recalls some of the major industrial disputes of the 1980s, including the SEQEB strike and the 38 hour week dispute. 1989 election, Joh Bjelke-Petersen, SEQEB dispute, strikes
00:46:56 Wilf Ardill describes the evolution of the union movement. unions
00:47:26 Wilf Ardill outlines the reaffiliation of the AWU to the ALP. He discusses the differences between craft and general unions. unions
00:49:11 Wilf Ardill outlines the benefits and outcomes of the intervention. He argues that without intervention the party would not have returned to electoral dominance.   Fitzgerald Inquiry, Peter Beattie
00:50:12 Wilf Ardill addresses factions. Catholics, factions
00:50:46 Wilf Ardill discusses the lessons of intervention and the importance of internal democracy.
00:51:33 Wilf Ardill stresses the importance of having an effective opposition as a check on the executive. He suggests that had the ALP been a more effective opposition the corruption exposed in the Fitzgerald Inquiry may not have taken place.    Fitzgerald Inquiry, Opposition

Interview ends.