Transport Workers Act 1928

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A license or 'dog collar' issued to a waterfront worker under the Transport Workers Act in 1929

The Transport Workers Act 1928,[1] more widely known as the Dog Collar Act,[2] was a law passed by the Australian Parliament and assent to on 24 September 1928 ostensibly "relating to employment in relation to trade and commerce with other countries and among the states", which mirrors the wording of Section 51(i) of the Constitution of Australia. It was instigated by the Nationalist Government of Stanley Bruce.

The Act required all waterfront workers to hold federal licences, or "dog collars" as they were derisively known, to work.[3] The Act allowed the Commonwealth government, by regulation, to effectively control who worked on the docks and nearly destroyed the Waterside Workers Federation. The government favoured employment of non-union labour and members of the Permanent & Casual Wharf Labourers Union of Australia.

The Act was amended in 1929 and in 1937.[4]

The Chifley Labor Government replaced the Act on 22 December 1947 with the Stevedoring Industry Act 1947,[4] which was itself amended in 1948 and replaced with the Stevedoring Industry Act 1949, which was in turn amended in 1954 and replaced by the Stevedoring Industry Act 1956.[5] All Acts in this series were repealed in 1977.


  1. ^ Transport Workers Act 1928
  2. ^ Parliament: The Vision in Hindsight, Geoffrey Lindell, R. L. Bennett, [1]
  3. ^ Lee, David (2010). Stanley Melbourne Bruce : Australian Internationalist. London: Continuum Press. p. 79. ISBN 0-8264-4566-7. 
  4. ^ a b Federal Register of Legislation
  5. ^ Federal Register of Legislation

Further reading[edit]