BLF - THE 1986 DE-RECOGNITION OF THE ABCE and BLF IN AN ERA OF FINANCIAL DEREGULATION
1986 de-recognition of the ABCE & BLF in an era of financial
The 1986 de-recognition of the ABCE & BLF in an era of financial deregulation
deregulation could not produce de-recognition and deregistration without
interventions by historical actors. For the purposes of this study, the
principal agents of capital are found in the officers of BOMA. They
needed support from agents of the state, other strata of capital and
from the rival unions.
that iron ring cracked, the BLF survived with its State registration
intact, as in Western Australia where Kevin Reynolds had close relations
with Premier Brian Burke.
If reducing de-recognition to personalities is naive, it is simplistic
to treat that process as a disembodied instance of global financial
deregulation. That equation is the crudest of economic determinisms. Not
to seek connections, however, is to abandon historical materialism for
anecdotes. The hindsight of this article is also a call to view the
present as history. Why is Gillard keeping a Construction Stasi with
coercive powers of interrogation? Which needs of capital does this
policy attempt to serve?
crucial element came from demarcation disputes around concrete since the
1962 ABLF Federal Award as labourers challenged carpenters over formwork
and plasterers for spraying and finishing-off.
Re-skilling came through changes in the materials, from timber and brick
to concrete. The degradation of labour debate had relevance to the 1986
de-registration and de-recognition of the BLF. BWIU members were being
deskilled while the BLs were upgrading themselves. The BWIU leadership
joined forces with the employers and the state partly to preserve
tradesmen against the transformation of their work practices.
the twenty years of struggle against the BLF before 1986, employers,
politicians, civil servants, lawyers and judges had to learn by doing.
The agents of capital had conflicting objectives in eliminating the
union. None knew in detail how to achieve that common aim, or how best
to promote their particular interests in the process. The BLF activists
were blessed with no greater insight. The employers’ organisations and
the state apparatuses, however, had learnt from their failures to
contain the BLF in the mid-Seventies, and again in the early 1980s. A
key difference between 1974 and 1986 was that the forces pressing for
deregistration/de-recognition had forged a ring of steel around the BLF.
The state kept the other unions and the employers in line.
the era of the Accords, many of the once left-leaning unions had signed
up to a wages policy that had no place for the militancy of the BLF as a
pace-setter. This time, the BWIU agreed to take coverage of labourers’
jobs; the state financed and protected BWIU organisers on the jobs.
the Master Builders and the Employers’ Federation had never lost their
enthusiasm for destroying the BLF, governments had to strong-arm some
developers, such as Grocon, by threatening to cut them off from
government contracts if they allowed Gallagher another escape route.
BOMA had its own channels into the state, by leasing properties to
governments and representing their superannuation funds. It seems likely
that BOMA let it be known that its members would not fund projects for
any contractor who broke ranks?
Geddes 1978 Geddes was frank when he addressed the NSW division of BOMA in October 1978 on ‘property versus shares as institutional investments’:
assumption had been plausible at the time. Since then, ‘disenchantment
with ordinary shares’ had become ‘world-wide’:
these disincentives, institutions had to place ever larger sums in the
categories of assets on offer. Among the non-physical ones were
government securities, mortgages and debentures with fixed interest,
shares and property trusts:
advantage of shares is that you can sell part of a holding of shares in
a company whereas you can’t sell part of a property, unless you go to
the trouble and expense of forming a company to own the property and
sell part of the shareholding.
remained steadier than shares: ‘In recessions, shares had fallen more
than properties’. The problem with buildings was that during a
downturn almost no one wanted to buy them. Geddes summed up his
experience with advice which become several times more pertinent after
1978: ‘when you buy property, your first question should be what
return can I get from it, compared with the return I could get from
maelstrom of money
insurance industry, for instance, was a major investor in other
peoples’ building projects in addition to the construction of office
blocks for itself and to lease. The insurers had been in turmoil from
the late 1960s as scamsters milked cash flows until a 1973 Act
stabilised the sector by halving competition. The survivors were then
thrown by soaring inflation, which actuaries had not anticipated.
Monetarism gained converts as a nostrum against inflation which peaked
at 17% in early 1975, returning to 10% in 1980.
day, SFIT had to ‘find a home for $1,000,000 of new money.’ By 1983,
its managers held two billions.
tax-free status prevented it from investing in the running of a
business. Hence, it ‘had virtually been restricted to the Trustee-type
fixed-interest area … We had lots of money and not much else’.
Hammond knew that the Kern Corporation had a plethora of building
proposals but ‘always seemed to be short of money’. He extracted a
ruling from the Attorney-General that a Joint Venture in property
development was possible if SFIT signed up as Tenants in Common and not
as Joint Tenants. The result was a $400m investment in Grosvenor Place,
National Partner with the UK-based provider of real-estate services,
Hillier, Parker May and Rowden, James Wiseman, warned the NSW Master
Builders in 1983 that they could not expect to find many benefactors
in 1984, the CEO at Leighton Holdings, Stewart Wallis, pointed to the
reluctance of trading banks ‘to provide long-term fixed-rate
financing’. They now preferred rollovers. The shrinkage of the
long-term mortgage market left ‘the developer far more exposed to
interest-rate fluctuations’. Merchant
banks stepped in with complicated packages. They structured their
innovations ‘to produce capital gain, rather than development profit;
deferred distribution of income; leveraged leasing and so on’.
R. J. Hawke set up the Martin Review of the Campbell Report, he proved
to be far more crash-through than E. G. Whitlam, completing the float of
the dollar in December 1983. A mouthpiece for those who stood to gain
most from de-regulation, Euromoney, named Treasurer Paul Keating as ‘Finance Minister of
The exchange rate against the US dollar collapsed from parity late in
1982 towards banana republic status by mid-1986.
prospect of the entry of foreign banks encouraged the local ones towards
monopolising and to go global themselves. The Bank of New South Wales
captured the mood by re-branding itself as Westpac for the Western
Pacific at the same time as it outbid ANZ for the Commercial Bank of
Australia in 1981.
ANZ had already taken in the Bank of Adelaide after its subsidiary
Finance Corporation of Australia wrote down the value of its property
from $80m. to $30m.
rise in nominal interest rates widened the gap between the returns on
deposits and those from other instruments or institutions. Hence,
investors stampeded into cash management trusts; their holdings in
Australia went from $200m in June 1981 to over $2bn eighteen months
During 1983, the differential between interest on cash management trusts
and property trusts shrank from an advantage of 8% to 3%. That
contraction initiated a spurt towards the latter.
Hence, capital-switching occurred between segments of the building and
construction industry, and not from
production to construction. Capital also switched from resources to
property because manufacturing was on its way down and out.
Demand for office space in the CBDs grew with the rise of Sydney to the
status of global financial centre until vacancy rates in Sydney and
Melbourne by February 1988 were, in effect, zero.
and construction was only one of the sectors seeking funds. Corporate
raiders stoked up on debt stirred the financial flux. A flood of foreign
funds serviced a surge in local borrowers as Elders IXL, Bond
Corporation, Bell Resources and IEL went on takeover sprees.
IEL raided Lend Lease via MLC’s holding, a move which provoked the
target to buy up all of the insurer by late 1985.
1993, Moss at the Macquarie Bank, accepted that the present had become
unpredictable, though its uncertainty offered opportunities. Since
de-regulation, the property market had been more erratic than ever, with
record rises and falls on every measure: ‘Perhaps the Australian
commercial office market was the first casualty of the world
de-regulation of capital flows’.
had not let Moss comprehend the forces that had brought the Macquarie
Bank into being in 1985.
He wondered whether a multi-factorial pattern could be discerned. Before
1983, investment in property had been decided by yield, location, demand
and supply. These elements remained after deregulation but were now
buffeted by ‘exchange relativity, international interest rates and the
availability of debt from foreign banks’. The rules for investing in
property that Geddes had spelt out with confidence in 1978 had become
complicated by ‘the debt-to-equity flows influenced by exchange and
interest-rate speculations, particularly by foreign investors’. Hence,
the market in properties became more volatile. To cope, investors
demanded liquidity. If they did not get it, they priced down assets. To
maintain liquidity, investors needed financial instruments which allowed
prompt, preferably instant conversion to cash. How to buy and sell
pre-cast concrete slabs as if they were bits of paper? According to
Moss, the objective of making ‘super profits’ from deregulation had
not been matched by the knowledge needed to realise that aim. The
mechanisms remained rudimentary:
il-logic of capital is subject to the learning by doing which is the
essence of historical materialism. Foreknowledge is impossible.
absence of the appropriate means for conversion later resulted in what a
senior lecturer in building science called ‘The disaster’.
One example illustrates how the promise of big profits went awry. If a
Japanese bank in 1988 had spent one dollar on Australian property, five
years later it ‘would be lucky to repatriate 20 cents’. That loss
had three causes: one, a 38 percent devaluation of the Australian
dollar; two, a 50 percent drop in property prices; and, three, taxes
(stamp duties) and transaction costs.
to the CEO at BOMA, Peter Verwer, the message was clear: ‘listed
property is neither property nor equities. It is in a class of its
How ‘clear’ was the new status of listed property if it had to be
defined by what it was not? Its elevation to ‘a class of its own’
looked like a confession that the managers had lost track of what they
were marketing. At least, Verwer realised that: ‘[i]f the eighties
reinforced one home truth it’s that cash flow is sovereign.’
Investors’ insistence on liquidity had spurred BOMA officials to go
beyond lobbying and into political activism. At this time, BOMA revived
the emphasis on training with which it had started life in 1966-9. Now,
its members had to become adept at managing construction contractors,
not just the finished properties.
the US of A during 1969, contractors and their clients, confronted by a
wave of strikes and wage rises, set up the Construction Users
Anti-Inflation Roundtable, soon known as the Business Roundtable. In
waging their war of attrition against the construction unions, the
employers had an uneasy alliance with the Nixon administration, despite
its courting the hard-hats against anti-war and anti-segregation
BLF flourished after de-registration in 1974 by playing employers off
against each other, primarily, the Master Builders against developers
such as the Grollosl Lend Lease and Herscu. From the late 1970s, the
losers talked about unifying their representative bodies. Bouyed by the
coming de-recognition/deregistration of the BLF, the various Master
Builders’ Associations revived proposals to restructure their
organisation on a national basis and merge with the Australian
Federation of Construction Contractors.
never intended to serve on the front line against construction workers.
Its members owned or managed buildings. They did make them. They
accepted the advice of Lord McAlpine in his address to their 1978
Conference: a client who intervenes in the hourly practices at work
makes everything worse. Yet, that hand-to-hand combat could not be
entrusted to the developers, specialist contractors, or the subbies.
BOMA’s strategy was to stop the builders’ retreating at the BOMA’s
expense of the providers of money-capital.
weeks before de-recognition, BOMA members in Melbourne geared themselves
up with an harangue from a gladiator for the New Right, Andrew Hay.
Under the title, ‘Australia needs radical change’, he opposed
compulsory superannuation because it would give power to unions; called
for the removal of the annual-leave loading; insisted on a longer
working week, and spurned affirmative action.
welcomed de-recognition of the BLF as ‘Sanity at last’. This victory
at law had ‘been one way of finding the [BLF’s] Achilles heel –
its estimated $5 million purse.’ Henceforth, labourers would pay their
membership dues to other unions: ‘the BLF itself will therefore run
out of money and eventually disappear from the labour market’. That
loss of oxygen would take time. Meanwhile, BOMA’s executives remained
clear-headed about how much more needed to be done if victory in the
courts and parliaments were
not to be whittled away, as in 1974: ‘Deregistration will not ensure
success. Deregistration is part of a more important strategy’.
BOMA stressed that the state must to continue to marshall the forces of capital: ‘No use to remove the BLF if 10 clones spring up to take its place’. First, governments had to make sure that the militants remained a minority in which ever union they joined. To cement victory, the authorities ‘will have to go one step further and thwart all moves afoot to amalgamate’ the BWIU, the FEDFA, the Plasterers, the Water Board Employees and the miners. Were such a combination to come into being,
a year, and in light of the BWIU’s grinding up of the BLF around the
jobs, BOMA had changed its mind and favoured a single construction
This conversion did not survive campaigns for wages and conditions by
the enlarged BWIU with the result that all strata in Messrs Construction
Capital supported the appointment of the NSW Royal Commission into
Productivity in the Building Industry from 1990.
BOMA strategy had involved fighting on two fronts. One was against the
BLF. The other was against building employers. In the eyes of BOMA, the
contractors had sold the pass by doing deals with Gallagher that sent up
Melbourne On-Site Loaded Building Wage by 45% between 1980-81 and
When contractors and developers cut each others’ throats, BOMA’s
members were the ones to bleed:
represented the bearers of ‘the final cost’. As the lobby for the
capitalists who contracted the builders, BOMA recognising that its
hands-on contribution was to make its members pull the builders into
line, realising them from
April 1986, BOMA’s eye was not only on the BLF. Now, its targets
included the contractors and subbies who had passed costs along the line
to the owners. BOMA had no illusions about their fellow capitalists:
years later, the Gyles Royal Commission documented the validity of
BOMA’s fear about the contractors.
that NSW investigation had been aimed at the BWIU-FEDFA, the
Commissioners soon found themselves deep in the kind of corruption
through which contractors had been lining their pockets long before
there were unions. Leighton’s CEO, Wal King, justified his company’s
use of fale invoices to conceal price-fixing as ‘the culture … and
custom that had been long-standing in the industry that had been handed
on for years’. Exposure of collusive tendering, price-fixing and
swindles of every order made members of BOMA the beneficiaries of Gyles.
clean up the mess, the specialist contractors had to be represented in
negotiations for the Awards and decisions. BOMA supported
sub-contracting and rejected the unionisation of subbies as an attack on
incentives among the workers. Its policy deplored ‘treating all
workers as equally valuable regardless of skills or application’, but
did not mention piece-rates.
‘costs of time’
Time is no abstraction for the capitalist who is obsessed with the turnover time of investments, and with disciplining labour-times to boost the rate of exploitation. Henry Ford’s particularisation of labour was profitable because the production line allowed the continuous flow of components. The discipline inherent in process work assured the degradation that Harry Braveman identified with the separation of planning from execution. That degree of control at the point of the production of surplus value does not apply to building and construction.
production of windows, cupboards and doors, pre-cast concrete brought
two benefits to the disciplining of time. First, factory conditions
allowed for mass production and continuous flows. Those workplaces were
often outside the BLF Award coverage
Secondly, on-time delivery of components or semi-finished
materials reduced delays at site. Workers did not have to wait for each
tradesman to produce fittings, or labourers to mix a batch of mortar.
Yet subbies were still getting in each others’ way, causing traffic
jams around sites. Dogmen made or broke projects by their control over
the flow of men and materials.
of time depend on the quality of management. The building trades had
relied on architects and quantity surveyors to estimate the labour and
materials needed to complete a contract in the stipulated time. With
that data, a contractor should have make a bid which would return an
average rate of profit and not incur a penalty for lateness. However,
quantity surveying remained rough and ready.
Engineers like Arup, Belgionro-Nettis and Dusseldorp took over from
architects in managing labour-time and material flows.
to a contract employed specifiers to clarity responsibilities. Sloppy
Grosvenor Place highlighted what could go wrong. With the project nearly
eighteen months overtime, Bob Hammond from SFIT confessed in 1988:
appearance in 1982 of a new learned journal, Building and Construction Law, demonstrated how deep the quadmire
if a quantity surveyor or specifier managed to save a general contractor
from under-bidding, the sub-contractors were still in the lap of the
architect and the clerk-of-works – if any - once a project got
underway. In the 1910s, a U. S. engineer, Henry Laurence Gannt,
developed a visual tool to alert the builder to time and cost over-runs.
A Gannt Chart showed the actual progress against that scheduled. The
Charts are still in use, with
computerised versions for larger scale projects.
plenitude of devices designed to manage labour-time indicated how much
of it was being lost, and with it the chance to profit out of surplus
value. When CSIRO studied 329 projects completed during the three years
to June 1967, its researchers found that only forty-one had come in on
time: ‘The average extra time taken was more than 40%’. Most delays
did not result from industrial disputes or acts of god:
managers attempted to overcome their own failings by sweating their
workforce. When this slave-driving provoked strikes, the overseers
blamed the unions for their own incompetence.
1987 survey showed some improvement. During the ten years to 1986, the
average delay in completion on non-government projects had come down by
20 percent. However, the fraction late to any extent had fallen only
slightly. Fixed-price contracts came in on time more often than those
that allowed for rises and falls.
response to these numbers, an ex-General-Manager of Leightons, Graham
French, acknowledged that ‘many delays … [were] caused by the
contractors themselves’ through ‘indecision, poor pre-planning’.
For instance, to win a contract, the principal bidder priced one or more
component too low. In addition, he based the total price on guesstimates
of the time needed to perform the operations. That main contractor then
wasted time in trying to sub-contract that section to ‘the greater
fool’. The eventual taker caused further delays because he cut costs
by under-resourcing his crew. This shortage of cash and the pressure to
rush provoked industrial disputes, leading to further hold-ups.
of sub-contractors in the early 1980s showed that a general
contractor’s reputation for falling behind schedule was the major
cause of subbies’ lifting the price of their bids. The other two
determinants were variants on that concern – previous experience with
that general contractor, and his record of prompt payment for work done.
management, sloppy contracts and inadequate specifications continued to
impede the accumulation of capital by the developers, clients and
owners. A year after de-recognition, French lamented the impasse:
the men who controlled the money had seen that something more must be
done, they concentrated on demolishing the BLF.
buildings are financed with borrowed money. Any delay to the circuit of
capital adds several charges. Interest payments pile up. Worse still,
interest rates may rise. Meanwhile, rents are foregone. The general
contractor incurs penalties. In addition, movements in the exchange rate
bankrupted Australian developers who borrowed overseas. Protection
through a futures market was less appropriate for long-term undertakings
such as commercial buildings.
spun his case around working time. By tallying the days-off to which
building workers were entitled, he computed that they worked only 37.6
weeks a year. Excited by that decimal place, he turned to the other
benefits and obligations that employers had to carry: annual-leave
loading, long-service leave, payroll tax, workers’ compensation, and
bereavement and jury leave. Calculating their cost in terms of working
time, Jones arrived at the equivalent deduction of 19.82 weeks. He
declared that ‘one worker really costs 184.6% of his own productive
arithmetic of this school-master turned broadcaster need not detain us.
We can also pass over his failure to deduct over-time. Some of us,
however, will pause to marvel at the rate of exploitation that must
operate elsewhere in an economy to allow building workers to be paid
almost double their contribution to the store of wealth. As significant
as these doubts are, Jones deserves praise for giving more recognition
to labour-time than does many a union official. His treatment was
rhetorical yet his focus was not aberrant.
and his employers had reason to be alarmed. In 1982, and despite a
recession, NSW BLs had won a 38-hour week, with the guarantee of 35
hours next year. Capitalists could not ignore this loss of labour-time.
Those five hours represented a fair slice of the labour time that added
surplus value. The managers had to find ways to add the same value in a
shorter time. The militancy that had won the reduction in hours for the
BLs meant that any attempt to impose piece-rates, speedups or other
overt intensification would provoke disputes, and hence further delay
completion. Few employers were capable of lifting their own performance
as supervisors. Some clients and general contractors sought, therefore,
to maintain the rate of exploitation through changes to design and the
choice of materials, for example, the decision to go with concrete or
proved a two-edged sword. Clients for commercial ‘landmark’ projects
demanded treatments which were ‘imaginative’ so as to attract higher
rents. At the same time, they insisted that any unique or novel features
be ‘risk free’.
Clients put their faith in the most time-efficient materials. Some went
for concrete, others for steel. Again, the absence of a simple answer
can be shown by case studies of each material from the years following
advantages also applied to the laying of concrete slabs on which to
erect suburban houses. A CSIRO survey of cottage work found that 78% of
the labour time went on direct working 17% in getting ready, packing up
or consulting the supervisor. The remaining 5 % was lost waiting for
concrete to arrive, or rectifying bad work. The aim was to eliminate
that 5% loss of time. One way was to begin adjacent sites with the
operation at a different stage on each block. If concreting were held up
by the weather, supervisors prepared other allotments so that ‘when
the weather finally clears several slabs can be poured sequentially, on
the same day’.
High-rise projects sought the same end, though by different means.
for the 53-level Bourke Place, in Melbourne, began in March 1987. Its
owners were being pressed by the concomitant erection of rival
high-rises at the zenith of the city’s biggest ever boom in commercial
properties. Therefore, the general contractors needed to secure access
to labour and materials. Failure to guarantee either resource presaged
peril. The clients had to get into the market first to sign on prestige
tenants at premium rents. At the outset, the design team decided on a
concrete core but were uncertain whether to use concrete or steel for
the floors and perimeter columns: ‘The length of construction time for
both operations was our next consideration’. The designers consulted
the Bureau of Meteorology for wind patterns that might delay hoisting
the steel. The two significant factors were the variation in Net
Rentable Areas (NRA) and the ‘cost of time’. Although steel offered
the greater NRA, the ‘cost of time’ tipped the decision towards
the builders of Melbourne Central expected to reduce their ‘cost of
time’ with high-strength concrete:
concrete demanded the strictest quality control and supervision. Failure
to achieve the required strength would ‘hold construction up
That delay could have been catastrophic.
costs to building owners from the poor supervision of concreting were
chronic. A survey of concrete cancer revealed that, only 40% of the
buildings studied had the requisite depth of cover, with 5mm of concrete
instead of the necessary 30mm. Half of these problems from concrete
cancer resulted from failures by designers or on-site supervisors. In
addition, steel-fixers needed more training. Many of the problems
resulted from ‘a lack of attention to detail in the design or the lack
of supervision on site [which is] the worst place to decide on
specifications because everyone is too busy’.
The incompetence in concreting added to the maintenance costs for BOMA
only did it take less time to shift the smaller crews, but there was
less likelihood of stragglers so that the crew could begin together. For
safety reasons, work could not start until everyone was in place.
claims about the advantages from steel highlight how aware managers are
of their need to discipline labour time. The example also illustrates
the indirect methods adopted in pursuit of that outcome.
was the only option for the Governor Phillip Tower, the second tallest
building in Sydney’s CBD when it opened in 1993. The legacy of Green
bans meant that the NSW government dared not ignore the uncovering in
1982 of the foundations of the original 1788 government house. The
pressure from urban environmentalists cornered the government into
providing a plaza for the display of colonial stonework. The campaign
also led to the preservation two rows of terrace houses. As a result,
the land available on which to build provided next-to-no Net Rentable
Area. The design solution was as striking as it was demanding. Sixty
upper floors were cantilevered on three steel trusses, each weighing 250
The detailing involved in this concept eliminated all possibility of
design changes on site. The ‘pre-assembly of essential building
elements’ contributed to ‘continuity in construction’. Moreover,
those methods allowed ‘concurrent site assembly with core
The trusses were moved into position as soon as the core was clear of
the gantries. The builders started work on the higher floors without
delay. The excavation went on while the office levels were being put in
place, some twenty floors above: ‘This jump-start technique saved
fifteen weeks construction time’.
The central core with the lift shafts was in place before the concrete
walls. Elevators were installed while the building was under
 BOMA grew out of a luncheon club in 1966 before incorporating during 1969, to be renamed the Property Council of Australia in 1996; for a brief account see my website www.alphalink.com.au/~loge27 BLF
James Wordhuysen and Ian Abley, Why
is Construction so Backward?, Wiley,
David Harvey, The Limits to
 K. Marx and F. Engels, The Holy Family, or The Critique of Critical Critique, Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1956, p. 125; Karl Marx, Capital, I, Foreign Languages Publishing House, Moscow, 1958, pp. 162, 309 and 403; the wage-slave as the embodiment of labour-time, p. 243.
Marx, Capital, I, p. 594.
For two enterprises in the mould of Transfield see Lindie Clark, Finding a Common Interest, The Story of Dick Dusseldorp and Lend Lease, Cambridge University Press, Port Melbourne, 2002, and Henry Pollack, The Accidental Developer, The Fascinating Rise to the Top of Mirvac Founder Henry Pollack, ABC Books, Sydney, 2005.
 Rose Anne Graham, ‘The Consensus Legacy: The Burke Government and the Trade Union Movement: 1983-1987’, Papers in Labour History, 17, December 1986, pp. 78-79; Quentin Beresford, The godfather, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 2008, p. 61.
 Liz Ross, Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win, Builders Labourers fight deregistration, 1981-94, Vulgar Books, Melbourne, 2005.
Brian Boyd, Inside the BLF,
A Union Self-Destructs,
 Gallagher summed up his strategy and tactics as the obverse of Mundey’s: ‘the building industry would support guerrilla tactics: hit and run, more harm to the boss and less harm to the worker, not getting yourself into a blocked position’, The General, authorised biography of Norm Gallagher, unpublished, pp. 9-10. In the 1980s, Gallagher put the union in a ‘blocked position’ by getting the Federation expelled from the Trades Hall Council over the scissors lift dispute which isolated the BLF from even its closest allies such as the plumbers and the painters, see George Crawford, George Crawford Papers, 1940-1990, No. 2, p.p., Beaumaris, 2004, pp. 4-5; and John Spierings, A Brush with History, Hyland House, Melbourne, 1994, pp. 120-21.
 Glenn Mitchell, On Strong Foundations, The BWIU and Industrial Relations in the Australian Construction Industry 1942-1992, Harcourt Brace, Sydney, 1996, chapter 6; Tom and Audrey McDonald. Intimate Union, Sharing a revolutionary life, Pluto Press, Sydney, 1998, pp. 295-313; for instances of the plasterers’ dispute, Carpenter and Joiner and Building Worker, December 1964, p. 15; ABCF Federal Conference, 1964, Noel Butlin Archvies Centre, ANU, N130/9, pp. 10-12, and 1968 Conference, N130/13, p. 14; South Australia Industrial Record, v. 34, 1967, pp. 356-61; for instances of demarcation disputes, Building Worker (NSW), August 1983, p. 8, July 1985, pp. 1-2 and April 1986, pp. 6-7.
 BWIU Secretary Clancy forgot his Marx to assert that years of training entitled his tradesmen members to higher rates of pay than labourers. Messrs Construction Capital replied as Marx had about growers’ bringing stale fruit and flowers to market, K. Marx, Capital, Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1957, II, pp. 127 and 145.
 BOMA national News, February 1979, pp. 4-6.
State of Play, The Indecs
Economics Special Reports, George Allen & Unwin
 Laton McCartney, Friends in High Places, The Corporation that Engineered the World, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1989; Dan Briody, The Halliburton Agenda, The Politics of Oil and Money, John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ, 2004.
 A. C. Gray, Life Insurance in Australia, An Historical and Descriptive Account, McCarron Bird: Melbourne, 1977, chapter 15; Australian Insurance Industry Journal, August 1977, pp. 24-28, May 1981, pp. 68-72.
 Building Economist, March 1988, pp. 15-16.
 Building Economist, March 1988, pp. 15-16.
Builder NSW, May 1983, p.
238; for average profits see Karl Marx, Capital,
III, Progress Publishers,
BOMA, November 1984, pp.
 Edna Carew, ‘Sir Keith Campbell’, R T Appleyard and C B Schevin (eds), Australian Financiers, Biographical Essays, Macmillan, Melbourne, 1988, pp. 427-47; Stephen Bell, Australia’s Money Mandarins, The Reserve Bank and the Politics of Money, Cambridge University Press, Melbourne, 2004, chapters 1 and 2.
 T. M. Fitzgerald, ‘Ian Jacoby’, Appleyard and Schevin (eds), Australian Financiers, pp. 364-87; Edna Carew, Westpac, The Bank That Broke the Bank, Doubleday, Sydney, 1997, pp. 40-79.
 T. M. Fitzgerald, ‘The haves and have-nots of home ownership’, Bowyang, 6, 1981, pp. 6-9; Fred Brenchley and P. P. McGuiness (eds), The New Money Jigsaw, Management Productions, Sydney, 1981.
John Edwards, Keating, The
Inside Story, Viking, Ringwood, 1996, chapter 7; Edna Carew, Keating,
Bob White, Cheques and
Balances, Memoirs of a Banker, Viking, Ringwood, 1995, chapters
8-10; Carew, Westpac, pp.
8-39; Gideon Haigh, One of a
kind, The Story of Bankers
Trust Australia 1969-1999, Text: Melbourne, 1999; an early mark
of the interlocks appeared in 1983 when Tricon lent $4.3m. to George
Herscu to takeover Property Trusts of Australia, Hugo Armstrong and
Dick Gross, Tricontinental:
the rise and fall of a merchant bank, MUP,
 National Times, weeks ending 15 and 22 December 1979, pp. 9-10, 53.
 The Valuer, April 1985, p. 518.
 The Valuer, July 1987, p. 523.
See my Gone Tomorrow,
 The Valuer, April 1989, p. 329.
R. H.Fagan, ‘The Restructuring of Elders IXL Ltd: Finance and
Global Shift’, Australian
Geographer, 21 (1), May 1990, pp. 90-92; Paul Barry, The
Rise and Fall of Alan Bond, Bantham,
 The Valuer, April 1985, pp. 517 -
 BO&M, November 1993, pp. 14-15.
 In 1985, Macquarie Finance took over from Hill Samuel Property Services which for ten years had ‘secured loans by registered first mortgages over income-producing real estate’, Macquarie Bank Prospectus, p. 12; for a later look at the money factory, Chris Jefferis and Frank Stilwell, ‘Macquarie Bank’, Australian Journal of Political Economy, 58, December 2006, pp. 44-61.
 BO&M, November 1993, pp. 14-15.
 Building Economist, September 1987, p. 11.
 BO&M, November 1993, p. 15.
 Fixed Trusts had been around in the US from 1923, and Great Britain in 1931; three-quarters of the 140 US Trusts went bust in the 1930s crash, Alan D. Aiken, ‘Unit Trusts in Australia – Their Influence on the Investment Market’, Blennerhassett, 1937, pp. 18-20. The first unlisted trust here was in 1936, Australian Fixed Trust Group, which launched the first property trust in 1959, followed by L J Hooker Ltd. By 1986, thirty-five managers controlled $3bn. Lend Lease initiated Listed Trusts with its General Property Trust early in 1971, Clark, Finding a Common Interest, pp. 100-5; by 1986, twenty-four Listed Trusts controlled $2.13bn.
 BO&M, March 1994, p. 2.
 BO&M, March 1994, p. 2.
 BO&M, Editorial, March 1994, p. 4.
Marc Linder, Wars of Attrition,
 AFCC Annual Report, 1986-87, p. 5.
 BOMA, May 1986, p. 11.
 BOMA, May 1986, pp. 12-21.
 BOMA, May 1986, p. 11.
 BOMA, May 1986, p. 11.
 BOMA, May 1986, p. 11.
 BO&M, May 1987, p. 13.
 Building Economist, December 1984, p. 24.
 BOMA national News, August 1977, p. 14.
 BOMA, May 1986, p. 11; T. E. Uher. ‘Australian Subcontracting Practice’, Australian Institute of Building, 3, 1888/9, pp.
 Report of NSW Royal Commission on Building Productivity, NSW Parliamentary Papers, Second Session, 1992-93, volume VIII, Appendix 1.12, p. 3; see also my ‘Settlement or struggle’ www.alphalink.com.au/~loge27 Aust Hist
 For Wal King see NSW Casino Control Authority, Report of Public Inquiry, 1994, p. 32; for Leighton’s collusive tendering, see Report of NSW Royal Commission on Building Productivity, NSW Parliamentary Papers, Second Session, 1992-93, volume XXII, Paper 273, pp. 99 and 130.
was being honest in claiming that his behaviour was time-honoured.
The NSW Master Builders’ Association, Annual Report, 1911, no pagination; Report of the Royal Commission
of inquiry into certain matters relating to the Department of Works,
NSW Parliamentary Papers,
1911,volume 1, pp. 681-926; discussing the cartels among suppliers,
the architect Cyril Blackett acknowledged ‘that the supply of
building material is largely controlled by combines, and that the
prices paid by our
clients, as compared with those paid for the raw material,
frequently give rise to comment, yet we quietly acquiesce whilst our
clients pay the entire increase, which we know and believe to be
unfair,’ Architecture, June 1921, pp. 180-1; The NSW MBA asked for the
abolition of the 25% tariff on tiles to break the octopus, Architectural and Building Journal of Queensland, 7 July 1923, p.
29; Brisbane’s Archbishop Duhig denounced the brick ring, ABJQ, September 1935, pp. 17-19 & 35-36. At a national
conference of builders, one contractor declared: ‘Combines had run
 BO&M, October 1988, p. 10.
 BO&M, May 1987, p. 15.
Karel Williams, et al., ‘The Myth of the Line: Ford’s Production of the Model-T
at Highland Park, 1910-19’, Business
History, 35 (3), July 1993, pp. 66-87.
One custom of the trade had been to add or subtract ten percent,
just to be sure. Such guesstimates persisted into the 1950s. A
Melbourne firm had avoided becoming the subject of legal action for
presenting underestimates ‘by converting square feet to square
yards by dividing by eight instead of nine and cubic feet to cubic
yards by dividing by 25 instead of 27’, Wexler,
Building Economist, March 1992, pp. 15-17.
Ross Gardner, Building Science
Forum of Australia (BSFA),
 Building Economist, December 1985, p. 16.
 BO&M, May 1987, p. 15.
Frank Bromilow, Martin Hinds and Norman Moody, The
Time and Cost Performance of Building Contracts, 1976-1986, AIQS,
Graham French, ‘Delays in Construction – Implications and
Avoidance, A Stitch in Time’, BSFA,
 T. E. Uher, ‘Australian Subcontracting Practice’, Building Economist, December 1990, pp. 27-31.
Douglas S. Jones, ‘How the Construction Contract can Protect Those in the Construction Industry from the Effects of Insolvency’, Building and Construction Law (BCL), 8 (4), December 1992, 246-69; Peter Meritz, ‘Paradise Postponed: a history of attempts to ensure payment in the building and construction industry in New South Wales’, BCL, 18 (3), June 2002, pp. 169-79; Keith Redenbach, ‘Getting paid in the Construction Industry’, BCL, 23 (2), April 2007, pp. 92-110.
Marx, Capital, II, Part
II, and Capital, III,
 Employers’ Review, July 1973, p. 127, November 1973, pp. 217-21 and November 1974, p. 160; Bryan M. Noakes, ‘Industrial Relations in the Building Industry – The History – The Last 10 Years’, Building Economist, September 1981, pp. 66-68.
 The Valuer, April 1985, pp. 487-6.
Builder NSW, March 1991,
 Builder (SA), July 1989, p. 12.
 BO&M, July 1989, p. 10.
 BO&M, July 1989, p. 4.
D. J. Broad, BSFA,
Tim Strahan, BSFA,
The contractor for the multi-storey Australia Hotel in
 BO&M, March 1994, p. 51; Specifier, 3 (1), February 1994, p. 116.
Peter Jones, Ove Arup:
masterbuilder of the twentieth century, Yale University Press,
 See my Gone Tomorrow which posed the alternative of de-labourisation.
 see my ‘What happened in Globalisation?’, Journal of Australian Political Economy, 51, June 2003, pp. 110-15. .
 Mark Erlich and Jeff Grabelsky, ‘Standing at a Crossroads: The Building Trades in the Twenty-First Century’, Labor History (US), 46 (4), November 2005, pp. 421-2.