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Queensland cane-cutters and wharfies seemed more open to new ideas, and more attracted to communist ideology than labourers in other parts of rural Australia.
A tradition of union militancy meant that wharfies valued the power of organised labour and the strike weapon to gain and maintain working conditions.
Raymond Miller, a sociologist who has studied dockworker culture in a number of societies, argued that wharfies believed that others in the society considered them a low status group.
Miller has argued that this internationalism is a consequence of wharfies' contact with foreign goods, seamen and ideas, and has led to a sense of comradeship with wharfies throughout the world.
When they say if it starts to rain the wharfies stop work, they don't realise that the wharfies are walking around on slippery, dangerous decks and they need to stop work.
Moreover, the way in which the abolition of the bureau in Melbourne was won, less than a week after the end of the seamen's strike, is testament to the unparalleled strategic position of the wharfies in August 1919.
that he had taken the risk of going to that meeting as a representative of the COM of the WWF and that he did not believe in any Branch entering into agreements without first consulting the COM of the WWF and that the Federation would have been involved in the strike if he had not been present at that conference [of the Melbourne Wharfies and the Seamen's Union]'; 12 July 1919, 'Mr F.
Despite the lack of industrial action on the Sydney waterfront in 1919, there is evidence that the general political radicalisation had had an impact on the wharfies, quite apart from McCristal's rhetoric.
An untitled document recording history of award increases for waterfront workers, ANU, NBAC, WWF Papers, Z248/Box 120, provided the figures for the wharfies.
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