Laurie Short

Laurie Short’s death attracted some media coverage. It was curious that little reference was made to the role that the Communists’ recourse to whole-scale ballot rigging played in his rise. Even the official statement by the AWU did not mention this. Also however were rank and file iron workers served by Short’s leadership? They were unskilled workers who confronted some of the most authoritarian employers in Australia. Was Short’s pacific style of union leadership ultimately as unrealistic as his early Trotskyism? There is a large literature on employment relations in the steel industry (for an example see here) but it would be too much for journalists to show any awareness of this. Still the biography of Short by his daughter reveals someone of the highest honesty, later defectors from left to right such as the ghastly Michael Costa could learn from this example.

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