Despite Australia’s long history of immigration, its cultural diversity, and its commitment to multiculturalism since 1973, migrant workers, their work, and their struggles for rights and improved conditions have been marginalized and in some cases entirely overlooked as part of migration heritage and industrial heritage. This article examines how such neglect contributes to a collective forgetting that has implications for understandings of class politics in the past and also for class politics in the present. Through snapshots of industrially and politically active migrants who worked at one of Australia’s most significant industrial heritage sites, the article challenges myths about non–English-speaking migrant workers and distinctions between them and both Australian-born workers and English-speaking migrants. The paper suggests that the failure to incorporate the intangible cultural heritage associated with migrant labor as part of industrial heritage severs links between past and present struggles and contributes to anti-immigration and anti-immigrant politics in Australia today.
Remembering and Incorporating Migrant Workers in Australian Industrial Heritage
LUCY TAKSA is director of the Centre for Workforce Futures at Macquarie University in Sydney. She was president of the Australian Society for the Study of Labour History from 2006 to 2009 and chair of the NSW State Archives Board, 2007 to 2012. She has published on scientific management, gendered workplace cultures, and industrial heritage
Lucy Taksa; Remembering and Incorporating Migrant Workers in Australian Industrial Heritage. Labor 1 March 2019; 16 (1): 81–105. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/15476715-7269338
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