Membership Card for the Federated Clerk’s of Australia Union that belonged to Arthur Calwell #2010-0282
Small pink membership card with inscription ‘Federated Clerk’s Union of Australia’ in a brown leather pouch.
This membership card for the Federated Clerk’s Union of Australia is part of a collection of objects that belonged to Arthur Calwell, Australia’s first Minister for Immigration (1945-49) that were donated to the museum by his daughter, Dr Mary Elizabeth Calwell.
This membership card was for the Federated Clerks’ Union which formed in 1911, and in 1993 amalgamated with other unions to become the body known today as the Australian Services Union. Calwell’s primary trade union affiliation was with the Victorian State Service Clerical Association (prior to 1924), and he then served as President of the Clerical Division of the Australian Public Service Association (Victorian Branch) 1925-31. This latter body had absorbed the VSSCA in 1925. The FCU was the federal body to which these unions affiliated, and was for many years a union influenced by the Industrial Groups, which made it the prize of savage factional disputes within the Australian Labor Party, both in the 1950s and later. It is possible that Calwell’s membership of the FCU also resulted from the events when he was President of the Victorian ALP in 1931, when the party expelled the Labor Premier of the day, E.J. Hogan. The FCU was affiliated with the ALP at the time.