A Tribute To MUA Legend Paul Summers

Vale Comrade 1928-2012

The funeral for Paul Summers will be held at 2.30pm at the East Chapel, Fremantle Cemetery Thursday 16th February 2012.

Paul Richard Summers was born in Newcastle in 1928 to Tom Summers, a pommie seafarer who jumped ship, and Mary Cambell, a Nurse.

His brothers Eddie, Chris, Bernie and Mike (deceased) were all seafarers and his sister Patsy was a Nurse.

He shipped out of Newcastle in 1943 - when he was 15 years old and joined "the Seaman's Union of Australasia".

He married Trudy in 1951 and moved to Fremantle soon after but Shipped out of all East coast ports until later in the 50s when he consolidated himself in Fremantle. He had 4 children Dave, Dean, Trudi and Glenn and his 3 sons all went to sea.

Sadly he lost his wife Trudy to cancer in 1989 but found a new love in Betty Liebeck in 1995 and they stayed together until the day he died.

He was asked by WA branch Terry Rawlings to move to Hedland to turn around the anti union movement and ensure the SUA held the tugs in 1978 and stayed 14 years until retirement.

He became the Hedland trade union council secretary and ALP secretary soon after arriving and was appointed to the Hedland Port Authority 1985-92. After this he was the caretaker for the SUA point Peron camps around 1996-2006

MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin paid tribute to Paul.

"Paul was a remarkable character, a working class man who dedicated his life to his beliefs and the ideals of a fairer and more just, peaceful and genuinely functional workplace, community, nation and world," Mr Crumlin said.

"The keel of his strong beliefs and lifelong commitment to unionism and progressive worker activism was laid in Newcastle as a deck-boy during the Second World War.

"There was no more dangerous place to sail out of then those steelmaking ports and nearly one in every eight Australian merchant seafarers died in that war against fascism.

"He was known as a hard and fair seaman, a leading delegate of the union and in fact a rank and file leader of the union who was central to not only our union organisation in later years but to the trade union movement, particularly in Western Australia.

"Paul lived a long life and a good one. He was graced with great good humour and wisdom, a strong belief in family and union and a record of extraordinary and admirable political and industrial achievements.

"He will be missed in the equal measure with which he was loved and respected.

"He was a great inspiration to all of us that were fortunate enough to have worked with, and known him as a friend and comrade."

Paul's life achievements included:

Life Member of the SUA

Life Member MUA

Director Port Hedland Port Authority 1989-1994

Life Member ALP

Loving husband of Trudy (39 years)

Loving partner Betty (17 years)

Port Hedland MUA /SUA Port Delegate (12 years)

Union Activist 1943-2012

Medal recipient: 

Australian Defence medal 1939-1945

Australian Campaign medal 1939-1945

Pacific Star

Australian Service Medal 1939-45

Centenary medal 2001

Merchant Navy Medal  - 15 years with 2 Seafarer clasps -30 years

Seafarer's Medal

We honour Paul and his contribution to the union movement and the SUA and MUA. He will be sadly missed by all who knew him and his legacy will live on in the strength of our union.