Australian Unemployed Workers' Union

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Full nameAustralian Unemployed Workers' Union
Key peopleOwen Bennett, President
Office locationMelbourne, Victoria

The Australian Unemployed Workers' Union (AUWU) is a national volunteer organisation founded in 2014.


The AUWU was founded in 2014.[1]

Australian forerunners to the AUWU include the Victorian Unemployed Workers' Union (UWU) circa 1977-1990, the Wollongong Out of Workers Union (WOW), and the depression-era organisations of the 1930s [2]


Membership is open to all (however, voting rights are limited to unemployed and under-employed members).


The AUWU operates a national hotline, and publishes a rights booklet and quarterly newsletter.

In 2015, the AUWU made a submission to the Senate Committee, in connection with the Social Security Legislation Amendment (Further Strengthening Job Seeker Compliance) Bill 2015.[3][4]

In the Media[edit]

In a June 2017 interview with the Courier-Mail, Greens senator Lee Rhiannon expressed support for the AUWU, and revealed she has donated $300 to the union.[5]

2GB broadcaster Ben Fordham has publicly criticised the union, claiming it 'coaches people how to dodge responsibilities when it comes to work for the dole or finding a job...' AUWU member Ewen Kloas's response to this criticism was published by[6]

In a statement to, Liberal senator and Minister for Employment Michaelia Cash opined that, 'Australian taxpayers and indeed those looking for work would be offended by a "union" whose sole purpose appears to be keeping members out of gainful employment and encouraging them to shirk their responsibilities,' and added that the organisation needs to 'take a good hard look at itself.' [6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Schneiders, Ben (18 October 2014). "Australian unemployment union wants to represent the out of work". Retrieved 14 July 2017 – via The Sydney Morning Herald.
  2. ^ Fox, C 2000, Fighting Back : the politics of the unemployed in Victoria in the Great Depression, Melbourne University Press, Carlton South, VIC.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Australian Unemployed Workers Union (14 May 2016). "AUWU President Owen Bennett at the Australian Senate". Retrieved 14 July 2017 – via YouTube.
  5. ^ ace6688b1e8a3b501efc09c816dcc05b
  6. ^ a b "Unemployed workers union hits back at 'bludgers' club' claims". Retrieved 14 July 2017.

External links[edit]