Norm with one of our A.B.E.U honour boards, which are kept in the National Office
Our current campaigns to protect members' wages and conditions brings to mind some of the FSU people who’ve made their mark in our union and the labour movement, such as Victoria’s Norm Bristow and South Australia’s Karen Aldridge. Both today recall for us some of the memorable moments.
The Great Victorian March
Norm Bristow, Former State President, Victoria
There were strong rumours in the late 1980s/early 1990s that the State Government was about to sell off the State Bank.
The lead up to the protest march on 24 August 1990 was very powerful and emotional.
Forget marching. Over 6500 State Bank Victoria members of the ABEU stormed up Collins Street that day! We wanted to demand a meeting with the Victorian State Treasurer, the Minister responsible for the bank.
It was so overwhelming that the Police Commander in charge of the march who could be clearly seen at the front, turned around to me and said, “Norm, get them to slow down: it has more of a visual impact”. Even the police were on our side!
We did get our meeting two days later but unfortunately the Victorian Treasurer did announce the sale of the Bank to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia. It has forever remained a black day.
The memory of that march and so many of our members coming together is an everlasting one for me. I’ll never forget how proud I was that day.