Songs On The Waterfront

Australian Workers Film Guide


Produced by the Maritime Union of Australia, this grassroots documentary records events in April 1998 on the Brisbane picket line during the Patrick waterfront dispute, otherwise known as the 1998 Australian waterfront dispute.

Centered around picketers singing a song in a tent and accompanied by a guitar, the film includes picket line interviews, footage of police with cameras recording picketers, rowdy scenes and chanting on the picket line, a heavy police presence and picketers talking to truck drivers violating the picket line.

Standing in front of the picket line, MUA organiser Geoff Langdon talks about the tactics of Patrick Corporation, including the use of security guards and dogs, and how union members were marched off the site and then terminated, the protection of scabs by guards with dogs and Patrick Corporation’s sacking of union members. Later in the film, Langdon says that the scabs are now thinking of forming their own union as they are underpaid. Another interviewee accuses Patrick of breaching environmental laws by allowing oil to spill into the storm water drain.

Special Notes/Achievements

Author: J Bird, 2023

Duration: 18 mins

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