Grace Grace speaks about her childhood growing up in Brisbane as the daughter of Italian migrants. She recalls her educational achievements.
|immigrant communities, women|
Grace Grace discusses her father's occupation and workplace injury.
|cane cutting, workplace safety|
Grace Grace speaks about her father's workplace injury and the support he received from the Miscellaneous Workers Union.
|Miscellaneous Workers Union, workplace safety|
Grace Grace recalls how she became interested in unionism.
Grace Grace discusses how she became an advisor to Gary Johns in the Keating government.
|Gary Johns, Industrial Relations, Keating Government, Workplace Relations legislation, workplace safety|
Grace Grace describes what she brought to her role as industrial relations advisor.
|ACTU, Bill Kelty, Keating Government, superannuation legislation|
Grace Grace discusses her working relationship with Gary Johns and her transition to the role of Assistant Secretary of the Queensland Council of Unions.
|Gary Johns, Queensland Council of Unions, union positions|
Grace Grace recalls the union positions she has held throughout her career.
|Bank Employees Union, Industrial Relations, Public Sector Union, Queensland Council of Unions, Trades and Labor Council, union positions|
Grace Grace speaks about her journey as a woman in the union movement.
Grace Grace describes the areas of industrial relations that she became particularly passionate about.
|casualisation, superannuation legislation, Workers Compensation legislation, workplace safety|
Grace Grace speaks about union links with employer organisations. She describes the agreements and disagreements that arose.
|employer organisations, Queensland Council of Unions, Ray Dempsey, smoking, Trades and Labor Council, workplace safety|
Grace Grace discusses the importance of Peak Bodies and what they provide to unions.
|peak bodies, Queensland Council of Unions, unions|
|00:19:11||casualisation, industrial disputes, maternity leave, MUA dispute, women, Your Rights at Work|
Grace Grace discusses her role in advancing the rights of women and the other personal contributions she made to the union movement.
|superannuation legislation, union campaigns, unions, women|
Grace Grace describes why the QCU became involved with the Indigenous Stolen Wages campaign. She recalls what the QCU offered to the campaign.
|Indigenous issues, Queensland Council of Unions, social justice, stolen wages|
Grace Grace discusses the groups who were particularly interested in the Stolen Wages campaign including blue collar unions and herself. She describes how the QCU became involved and the lack of opposition from affiliated unions.
|ETU, Queensland Council of Unions, stolen wages|
Grace Grace considers the most effective tactics that unions have used in industrial disputes.
|industrial disputes, union campaigns, Workers Compensation legislation|
Grace Grace discusses the process of dealing with various union officials and reaching consensus.
|Queensland Council of Unions, union solidarity|
Grace Grace describes the isolation of workers in North Queensland and the strategies she put in place to maintain links, including the opening of new TLC branches.
|North Queensland, Trades and Labor Council|
|00:35:34||Queensland Council of Unions|
Grace Grace speaks about her opinion of Peter Beattie and describes QCU's relationship with the Beattie government. She contrasts this with the QCU's relationship with conservative governments.
|Beattie Government 1998-2007, Howard Government 1996-2007, Peter Beattie, Queensland Council of Unions, Tony Abbott|
Grace Grace recalls the achievements unions made while the Beattie government was in power.
|Beattie Government 1998-2007, maternity leave, Queensland Council of Unions, Workers Compensation legislation, workplace safety|
Grace Grace explains her decision to go into state politics.
|Peter Beattie, women|
Grace Grace speaks about factions in the Labor Party and the process by which she was endorsed.
Grace Grace recalls her mentors in her union career.
|David Harrison, Dick Williams, Gay Hawksworth, John Battams, John Thompson, mentoring, Wallace Trohear|
Grace Grace discusses her involvement in Emily's List.
|Emily's List, women|
Grace Grace speaks about the circumstances resulting in losing her seat in 2012.
|2012 election, asset sales, health payroll dispute|
Grace Grace discusses her role in the Queensland Nurses Union (QNU) and the three reasons for the decline in unionism. She explains how the QNU has been able to avoid this trend.
|casualisation, declining union membership, Queensland Nurses Union|
Grace Grace describes how the QNU deals with it's varied membership base.
|Queensland Nurses Union, union membership|
Grace Grace considers her greatest regret from her union career. She expresses disappointment that the Your Rights at Work campaign did not continue after the 2007 federal election.
|Queensland Council of Unions, Your Rights at Work|
Grace Grace recalls the greatest achievements of her union career including improving conditions for workers in Queensland and working with workplace delegates.
|penalty rates, union delegate, union positions, women, workplace safety|
Unionist and State Labor politician Grace Grace was the first woman General Secretary of the Queensland Council of Unions, serving from 2000-07. Prior to working in this position, Grace served in several union positions as well as being an advisor to the Hon Gary Johns, Assistant Industrial Relations Minister in the Keating federal government. Following the retirement of Premier Peter Beattie in 2007, Grace campaigned for and won the State electorate of Brisbane Central in a by-election and held the seat for the ALP until 2012.
Ignazia Graziella (‘Grace’) Grace was born in Brisbane in 1958 to a family of Italian migrants. She was raised in the inner-city suburbs of Spring Hill and New Farm, attending St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Kangaroo Point and All Hallows’ Girls School before leaving after completing Grade 10. She later completed her senior schooling via correspondence, going on to complete degrees in Industrial Relations and Labour Studies at QUT and the University of Adelaide (externally), respectively.
After entering the public service Grace became a workplace delegate for the State Services Union in 1980 before moving on to the role of Industrial Officer at the Finance Sector Union. In 1990 she became Industrial Officer for the Australian Council of Trade Union's Queensland branch (ACTUQ, later QCU). From 1994-95, Grace served as an advisor to the Hon Gary Johns, at the time Assistant Industrial Relations Minister in Paul Keating’s government. Grace left this role in 1995 to accept the position of Assistant Secretary of the Queensland Council of Unions, and in 2000 became the QCU’s first woman General Secretary, a position she held until 2007.
Grace entered State politics in 2007 when she was pre-selected by the Labor Party to stand for Peter Beattie’s seat of Brisbane Central following his retirement. Grace won the October 2007 by-election and held the seat at the 2009 State election before losing to her LNP rival at the March 2012 State election. Following this loss Grace returned to the union movement, taking up the position of Director of Member Services at the Queensland Nurses’ Union. Throughout her career, Grace has maintained an ongoing interest in several industrial issues including occupational health and safety, workers’ compensation and superannuation.
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