Australia’s Secret War: How Unions Sabotaged Our Troops in World War II

Australia’s Secret War: How Unions Sabotaged Our Troops in World War II, by Hal Colebatch.

Hal Colebatch’s new book, Australia’s Secret War, tells the shocking, true, but until now largely suppressed and hidden story of the war waged from 1939 to 1945 by a number of key Australian trade unions against their own society and against the men and women of their own country’s fighting forces at the time of its gravest peril. His conclusions are based on a broad range of sources, from letters and first-person interviews between the author and ex-servicemen to official and unofficial documents from the archives of World War II.

Between 1939 and 1945 virtually every major Australian warship, including at different times its entire force of cruisers, was targeted by strikes, go-slows and sabo­tage. Australian soldiers operating in New Guinea and the Pacific Islands went without food, radio equipment and munitions, and Aus­tralian warships sailed to and from combat zones without ammunition, because of strikes at home. Planned rescue missions for Australian prisoners-of-war in Borneo were abandoned because wharf strikes left rescuers without heavy weapons. Officers had to restrain Australian and American troops from killing striking trade unionists.

Hal Colebatch: Australia’s Secret War: How Unions Sabotaged Our Troops in World War II

Hal defends his book from an academic here. Academics, of course, lean left and hate to criticize either the unions or the communists. They are largely responsible for suppressing the story in the first place.

Commenter Padriac:

As a child after the war I used to hear my father and his mates who had been in New Guinea rail against the behaviour of the unpatriotic and gutless wharfies who used to go on strike for “danger money” and go home to their families each night, while they were up in New Guinea putting their lives on the line to protect their fellow Australians from a Japanese invasion. Many of these men had been unionists themselves before the war and when the war was over they became active in the movement to oust the communist cowards from the unions.

hat-tip Stephen Neil