Vale Stan Sharkey

Published: 21 Jun 2024

In Memoriam: Stan Sharkey

The Maritime Union of Australia is saddened to hear of the passing of CFMEU leader and mentor, Stan Sharkey.

The Union extends its deepest sympathies and condolences and those of the officers, members and staff of the MUA to Stan's family, and to the members and retired members of the Construction Division and his legion of friends and comrades in Australia and internationally.

Stan was born and raised in Sydney during the tough years of the depression and Second World War. He served his apprenticeship and became a bricklayer, joining the union and the Communist Party – later the Socialist Party – in response to the injustice he saw in Australia and globally.

Stan was an outstanding trade union leader, communist and progressive activist that never left the boxing ring of class struggle through a lifetime of political and industrial attack and confrontation.

Fearless, committed, tough as teak and motivated by the needs of others before all else, his life was a celebration of the working class values of empathy, tenacity, dialogue and consensus within a genuine united front that permeated not only the Australian trade union and progressive movement but also the international movement for peace, social and economic justice and equity and political accountability.

He was the first joint National Secretary of the CFMEU after holding the roles of National Secretary, Assistant National Secretary and New South Wales Secretary of the Building Workers Industrial Union.

Along with Pat Clancy, Tom McDonald and Ernie Boatswain, Stan was part of the BWIU Federal leadership team which established many of the conditions which construction workers enjoy today, in particular Superannuation and Severance pay. He was also a strong internationalist and part of the union leadership that financially supported the formation of APHEDA, the trade union organisation that helps trade unionists overseas.

Stan was a serious sports lover, particularly Rugby League and the South Sydney Rabbitohs, and he was also an accomplished boxer, fighting 17 professional bouts in the light weight class, for 12 wins and a draw.

A man of family. A mighty working class and trade union advocate and leader. Humble, understated and ever reliable and greatly respected.

Now resting.

Vale Stan Sharkey.




Authorised by P Crumlin, Maritime Union of Australia, Sydney