The Transport Workers’ Union is grieving the sad passing of one of its greatest sons, Senator Alex Gallacher. We extend our deepest sympathies to Alex’s family during this incredibly difficult time.
As a dedicated TWU official, Branch Secretary and National President, and later a Senator serving in the nation’s Parliament, Alex never forgot where he came from. As a young man, Alex worked as a truck driver and aviation ramp operator, experiencing firsthand the unique challenges transport workers face every single day. It was clear that he never forgot this. His passionate advocacy for safety and fairness in transport rang around the Senate, and he did not hold back when calling out the appalling abuse of workers. We remember proudly his fervent challenge of the Federal Government’s silence on baggage handlers forced to sleep at airports between gruelling split shifts at Aerocare.
Alex was a staunch advocate for transport workers. He fought tirelessly for truck drivers to receive Safe Rates of pay and conditions, and was no doubt proud to have been part of the Senate’s landmark report into the road transport industry tabled only last week. Alex was dogged in his determination to see improvements to the industry that kept Australia moving.
Alex never shied away from a fight, particularly when he saw workers ripped off or mistreated by their employers. Even in poor health, Alex supported aviation workers in their fight against their deplorable treatment last year. Alex was a regular attendee at actions outside Parliament House and always welcomed workers into his office with open arms.
TWU National Secretary Michael Kaine said “Transport workers, the TWU and the Parliament have lost a giant. Senator Gallacher was a straight-talking, no-nonsense, and hardworking man prepared to speak truth to power to support workers. Alex was someone on whom workers could always rely and was resolute in his belief that no obstacle should prevent working people from achieving their best.
“We are all poorer for having lost Alex.
“We extend our deepest condolences to his widow Paola, children and grandchildren during this difficult time. Our thoughts are with all TWU members and parliamentarians grieving the loss of a close friend and ally.”
TWU SA/NT Secretary Ian Smith said: “This is a deep loss for all of us at the TWU after decades of rolling up our sleeves and getting stuck in to the important task of lifting standards in transport. Alex was a close personal friend. His beliefs will remain a driving force in our fight for transport workers’ rights. Today we make a promise to Alex, his family and friends to continue to fight on in his honour.”
May he rest in peace. Vale Senator Alex Gallacher.