Industrial Relations Exhibition

Ceremonial mace from Papua New Guinea

Ceremonial mace given to Hawke from Papua New Guinea, from the Bob Hawke Collection

The legacy of former Prime Minister Bob Hawke is tied to his work campaigning for Australian workers and for improved industrial relations legislation. This online exhibition commemorates the history of industrial relations in Australia and Hawke’s contributions to this history.

The exhibition spans from the mid-19th century and the origins of Labour Day to the 21st century and the introduction of the Fair Work Act 2009. It explores Hawke's role in the ACTU, his advocacy work in Papua New Guinea, campaigns for the 35-hour week and equal pay for women, the Accord agreements established by the Hawke government, as well as the legislation of successive governments, and the response of workers' unions to these developments.

The Commonwealth Arbitration Court – Legal Tribunal or Economic Legislature?

Hawke's (1956) paper on the Commonwealth Arbitration Court, from the Bob Hawke Collection, RH37

This exhibition showcases some of the material held in the Bob Hawke Collection at the Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Library, located at the University of South Australia City West campus. Additional information about the Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Library and Collection can be found on the Bob Hawke page of the University of South Australia’s Special Collections Guide.

This online exhibition has been adapted from the physical exhibition 'History of Australian Industrial Relations' that was held at the Kerry Packer Civic Gallery in Adelaide, South Australia in 2020. 

For information on the library's collection, visit the Bob Hawke Collection Guide or explore the Bob Hawke Collection.

Introduction