Australian Council of Trade Unions
The beginnings of the ACTU can be traced to a Trade Union Congress held in the Melbourne Trades Hall Council on 3 May 1927. The meeting was convened to 'consider the possibility of creating a representative body for the whole trade union movement in Australia'. The Congress elected a Committee of seven which produced a report including a proposed constitution for a new body named the Australasian Council of Trade Unions, which was accepted with two minor amendments on 7 May 1927. The name was changed to the Australian Council of Trade Unions at the 1947 Congress. The Australian Workers' Union joined the ACTU in 1967, and the ACTU's merger with two leading federations of white-collar unions, the Australian Council of Salaried and Professional Associations in 1979, and the Council of Australian Government Employee Organisations in 1981, gave it about 2,500,000 members, or more than three-quarters of trade union membership in Australia. The ACTU is the recognised representative of organised labour in centralised wage negotiations with business and the federal government. It has traditionally maintained a close association with the Australian Labor Party, though not actually affiliated to it. Robert Hawke, who was president of the ACTU from 1970 to 1980, went on to serve as Australian prime minister from 1983 to 1991 and later Presidents Simon Crean and Martin Ferguson became Federal ministers. The ACTU's policy-making body, a biennial congress, is made up of delegates from state branches of the federation (Trades and Labor Councils) and from affiliated trade unions.