Electrical Trades Union of Australia

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Electrical Trades Union of Australia (logo).svg
Full nameElectrical Trades Union of Australia
Founded24 December 1919
AffiliationACTU Australian Labor Party
Key peopleAllen Hicks, National Secretary
Office locationRosebery, New South Wales

The Electrical Trades Union of Australia (ETU) is a trade union in Australia which has a history stretching back over 100 years. In its modern form the ETU is a division of the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU), although it is possibly the most well known of the three divisions. At a state registered level, the union often exists as a separately registered union as for example it does in Queensland.

On 24 December 1919 Electrical Trades Union of Australia federally re-registered under the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Act 1904 as an association of employees. This date is now taken as the official registration date of the Federal Union.

Whilst being a part of the CEPU the union has carved out for itself a unique identity. It is well known for its militant attitude. Its members have long memories and openly berated Peter Beattie for giving former Queensland premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen a state funeral. The Bjelke-Petersen government had sacked ETU members working at SEQEB in 1985 during a bitter dispute over the privatization of work normally done by SEQEB employees. Like other trade unions of the left in Australia it has adopted the Eureka Flag as one of its logos.

In the lead-up to the 2010 federal election, the Victorian ETU withdrew its support for the Labor Party, citing Labor's refusal to scrap laws restricting union action on building sites.[1] However, since then it has rejoined in the Australian Capital Territory and Victoria.[2][3] Traditionally the ETU has sided with the Labor Left or equivalent faction in the state branches of the ALP with the notable exception of the ACT and NSW, where it aligns with the respective Centre Coalition and Centre Unity (Labor Right) factions. It enjoys a close relationship there with the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA) and the Australian Workers Union (AWU). Despite reaffiliating with Victorian Labor, in the leadup to the 2018 Victorian Election the ETU donated $50,000 towards a competing party, the Victorian Socialists.[4]


  1. ^ ABC news "Victorian ETU cuts ties with Labor" Retrieved on 17 August 2010.
  2. ^ The Australian "Victoria ETU moves to reaffiliate with Labor" Retrieved on 21 August 2018.
  3. ^ The Canberra Times [https://www.canberratimes.com.au/politics/act/etu-to-stick-with-right-faction-as-fallout-from-pettersson-defection-continues-20180813-p4zx65.html "ETU to stick with right faction as fallout from Pettersson defection continues "] Retrieved on 21 August 2018.
  4. ^ "Unions back Victorian Socialists' campaign". www.theaustralian.com.au. Retrieved 16 October 2018.

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