Queensland Council of Unions General Secretary Ron Monaghan today finally clocks off after a distinguished career in the demanding world of unions and politics.
Mr Monaghan, 62, was at the head of the Queensland union movement as it campaigned strongly to retain public ownership of revenue-generating state assets, ensuring a pivotal role in the past two state elections.
During his eight years as general secretary, Mr Monaghan has overseen a major change in direction for the QCU, with a focus on campaigning to ensure decent wages and better conditions for all 2.2 million Queensland workers.
He has also been a vocal supporter of the indigenous community in their decades-long fight for Stolen Wages. This issue is now closer to resolution following the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s decision to ensure fair reparation for wages stolen from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers for many decades.
Mr Monaghan was optimistic about the future of the union movement in Queensland and Australia.
“Unions share the values of Australian society – we value a fair go for everyone in the\ community – and that’s why unions will continue to grow and make a strong and beneficial contribution to this country,” he said.
“Unions will always stand up for things that we – and the community – believe in no matter which side of politics is in power. That’s why we spoke out against selling off public assets in 2012 and in 2015.
“These assets belong to the people of Queensland and the ongoing revenue they generate should be used to build a better future for the state.”
QCU President John Battams praised Ron’s resilience through dealing with good governments and difficult governments for Queensland workers.
“He has always kept the faith and he has been delighted to see the Palaszczuk Labor
government elected in Queensland this year.”
Mr Monaghan started in the union movement in NSW in 1979 but ten years later moved north as an organiser with what is now United Voice.
His hard work there contributed to improved outcomes for workers, particularly in the cleaning and brewing industries, and he was branch secretary by 1999.
He was elected QCU General Secretary in 2007 as the Your Rights At Work campaign brought down the Howard federal government, and oversaw a change in the strategic direction of the Council.
A particular highlight during his tenure has been the renewed popularity of Labour Day, with annual celebrations attracting record numbers around the state.
He admitted his biggest disappointment as General Secretary was having to wait seven years before NSW finally won a state of origin rugby league series in 2014.
Mr Monaghan is looking forward to well-earned time with his wife, Vicki, their eight children and two grand-children.
QCU Assistant General Secretary Ros McLennan moves into the role of General Secretary.