The Maritime Union of Australia is in mourning for a wonderful comrade and former SUA and subsequently lifelong MUA member, Peter Close.
MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin said Peter’s was a great union story.
“Like many of his generation Peter as a young seafarer he witnessed first-hand the oppression that existed in many countries he traveled to and that helped politicise and shape his very progressive views and lifelong activity Mr Crumlin said. He was a barnacled on internationalist and had a deep understanding of class struggle
“He never lost that energy and that passion for the rest of his long years with the union. He was a strong advocate for a democratic and representative union and rank and file action.
“Peter was a staunch unionist, but just was universally respected for his commitment and consistency including as a delegate on the job and in wider union structures. His loss is extremely sad for all his comrades within the union. He didn't miss many monthly meetings and I was fortunate to have a long talk with him at the last AGM in Melbourne, and in our own way on reflection say our farewells, something I'm deeply appreciative of now ”
Peter was also an organiser for the 26 rebel unions in Melbourne in the 1960s that played a critical role in the successful 1968 Clarrie O'Shea strike.
He was also a strong supporter of many causes in Melbourne: the rights of first nations people, 3CR, international solidarity, refugees, and many more.
MUA Deputy National Secretary Mick Doleman said Peter was indefatigable.
“When it came to backing the MUA and the Australian Labour Movement more broadly, Peter would never fail to put his hand up,” Mr Doleman said.
“He could be relied upon to be there at every protest, every fundraiser, every meeting, and every campaign event.
“Even more impressively, Peter was never motivated by self-aggrandisement. He was always wholeheartedly of the belief that the point of unions were to be bigger than individuals, and that unity meant pushing for the support of all members.
“Peter was a true Australian unionist. He will be sorely missed.”