The ‘Shop Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association’ (SDA), aka “the Shoppies”.
One of the handful of unions who can legitimately challenge the AWU for the title of ‘Australia’s Worst Union’.
The SDA, which claims to have 230,000 members, is notable for: unwittingly employing fascist symbology in its promo vids; being the largest trade union affiliated to the ALP; doing nothing for its members and; saving The Silver Bodgie’s arse back in the ’80s.
Over 20 years later, the Oxford-educated pisspot is returning the favour, agreeing to preside over the launch of a new hagiography (Tomato wars recalled as union marks century, Ian Munro, The Age, November 30, 2009).
Mind you, Hawke has supported other bizarros in the past, not least The Murderous Burmese Regime Formerly Known As SLORC:
…SLORC was genuinely committed to improving the economic well being of the people and was responsible for many “good things”, Hawke told a national parliamentary inquiry.
“We have been uniformly impressed by the competence and knowledge and commitment of these ministers and their associates to the economic development of Myanmar as a basis for national and political advancement of the people of their country”, Hawke said.
~ ‘Australia raises prospect of ASEAN snub for Burma’, Mark Bendeich (Reuters), February 24, 1995.
As for the SDA, it — along with three other ‘Groupers’ unions’ (the Federated Clerks’ Union, the Ironworkers’ Union and the Carpenters’ and Joiners’ Union) — was re-admitted to the ALP in 1984:
Crikey readers would be aware that [the SDA’s] predecessor disaffiliated from the ALP in the wake of the 1955 DLP split. For the next 30 years, it functioned as the industrial base of conservative Catholicism until finally re-admitted to the party to shore-up Bob Hawke’s base in 1984. However, its legacy remains for the most part undimmed.
~ Shop assistants sidelined as Vic ALP turns corner, Andrew Crook, Crikey, February 2, 2009.
(NB. ‘Grouper’ is a term that evolved in the 1940s, being used to describe members and supporters of the reactionary ‘Industrial Groups’ established within the labour movement in order to oppose the influence of the Communist Party.)
See also : Communists, Conservatives and Continuity: The Democratic Labor Party and its Legacy, Michael Lyons (ASSLH, 2007) | Return to a secret country, John Pilger, New Statesman, November 27, 2009.