CIA agent, Harry Goldberg, looks at Australia in 1960
1. Jim Kenny
Don’t have to say much here. The only value for me, right at the beginning, was to see the point to which ACTU top leadership had degenerated.
He is supposed to have a past record of strength and firm anti-communism. He’s a perfect specimen of lack of principle and complete gutlessness. We raised the commie issue of course and baited him about Monk, but no go. He just squirmed and was visibly quite embarrassed but no admission out of him at all. It was really pathetic, and we cut it short.
I told him I would like to see Monk, but he told me Monk was away in West Australia and wouldn’t be back before we left. Monk’s date out there, incidentally, was quite legitimate, I learned later. Too bad. It would have been good to bait him face to face.
This Lord Mayor of Sydney tried to impress upon me that he was one of the boys, that he was an old trade unionist, etc. The latter is true, but he’s a real opportunist, interested only in Jensen, who’s used his past labor record as a ladder to climb up on.
The conversation turned a good deal on one topic, which I raised very strongly with those present, the wages of union leaders and their union staffs. These are incredibly low, and I think that’s another illustration of the labor movement’s backwardness here. I was shocked to find out, for instance, that my secretary’s wages are as much as say Laurie gets as head of the Ironworkers’ Union! It’s incredible! Imagine then what the wages of his staff are.
It’s due chiefly to two causes: 1) the low contributions made by the workers and 2) the false proletarianism of the workers generally. The result is that unions are terrifically hampered in their work, considerably understaffed, etc. It also accounts for the generally low level of union staff men, for how can they get people of ability at such low wages. They simply go elsewhere.
A contribution is also made, I’d imagine, by the system of arbitration here. Workers have the feeling that a good deal of what they get (when and if they get it) comes from the working of the Tribunal Boards. They tend to look upon their union as a helpful middleman, as it were, rather than their exclusive, indispensable defender.
But whatever the cause, the situation is scandalous. I’d been hammering at Laurie, telling him its about time he educated his membership on the false proletarianism prevalent, it seems, in Australia, and I raised it again sharply at this Consul General’s luncheon with some of labor’s top leaders present.
There was general agreement with me, except for this hypocrite, Jensen (who I later learned had left the trade union movement because, as he said it didn’t pay high enough salaries) who said he opposed raising wages, that it would destroy the idealism (sic!) of equality characterising the Australian trade union movement and that he hoped things would not go as they had gone in America where materialism had sapped the idealism of trade unionism.
Well, you can imagine how I let this guy have it, straight between the eyes. The good thing was that everybody else there agreed with me.
Who’s Who (from Tribune article)
Oscar Rozenbess: Former secretary of the Melbourne Taxi Drivers Association. Former Labor Minister Cameron was probably referring to Rozenbess when he told parliament last Thursday about “a CIA operative who covered by working as a taxi driver”.
Richard Krygier: Sydney book importer who founded the CIA funded Australian Association for Cultural Freedom which published Quadrant. Named in parliament as a CIA agent by Cameron.
Laurie: Mr L Short, national secretary of the Federated Ironworkers Association (FIA). Former Trotskyist now on the ALP’s extreme right.
Harry Hurrell: FIA national president, regarded as the real power in the union until recently.
Joe Riordan: Former secretary of the NSW Clerks Union, a rightwinger who later fell out with Maynes. Elected ALP member for Phillip he became a minister in Whitlam’s cabinet but lost his seat in 1975.
Fred Campbell: Former NSW secretary of the Electrical Trades Union (ETU).
Harry Jensen: ETU official who became Lord Mayor of Sydney. Now Minster for Local Government in the Wran ministry.
Dr Evatt: Federal Labor leader after Chifley. Former High Court judge and brilliant lawyer, Evatt appeared before the Petrov Commission accusing Menzies and ASIO of securing Petrov’s defection as an anti-Labor stunt. This led to the 1955 ALP split.
Arthur Calwell: ALP leader after Evatt retired. A rightwing Catholic, he moved to a centre position and finally opposed the Vietnam war.
Bland: Sir Henry Bland, top public service bureaucrat (Holt’s secretary of Labor and National Service, then Defence Department secretary). Briefly chairman of the ABC under Fraser.
B.A.Santamaria: Director of the National Civic Council (NCC) and power behind the now almost defunct Democratic Labor Party (DLP).
Sir Wilfred Kent Hughes: Attorney-General and Minister for the Navy in the Menzies government.
Jim Kenny: Former rightwing secretary, NSW Labor Council.
Jack Maynes: Federal president, Federated Clerks Union, NCC supporter and DLP member.
Littleton: Probably Little, Victorian THC president.
Vic Stout: Secretary of the Victorian Trades Hall Council for many years who finally opposed the NCC.
Bill Evans: Federal secretary of the Federated Enginedrivers (FEDFA), ACTU and THC vice-president.
Albert Monk: ACTU president for many years and a “centre-right” force in the ALP.
Frank Knopfelmacher: A Sudeten German from Czechoslovakia, a notorious anti-communist academic.