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Vale John Hennessy
Former Federation General Secretary John Hennessy – remembered as a champion of workers’ rights as a fundamental human right – died at home late last week.
In a statement informing members, General Secretary John Dixon said: “His passing is a big loss to Federation and the wider union movement.”
John Hennessy was General Secretary from 1990 to 2002. He commenced his teaching career in the Riverina before moving to the NSW North Coast and in the late 1960s was elected as a North Coast Organiser for Federation.
“John was my Organiser in the Manly-Warringah TA from 1979,” Mr Dixon said. “He went on to be Assistant General Secretary (Campaigns) before becoming General Secretary in 1990 following Bob Sharkey.
“Teachers could not have asked for a more caring compassionate and committed union organiser – with an emphasis on union organising – for he believed strongly in that.
“John was a mentor to me throughout my entire career but especially when General Secretary. We would talk at times, and he was a good sounding board as he understood what it was like to be GS.
“’Henno’ was a consummate politician and that’s a compliment. It was possible to disagree with him vigorously, and often, but still like and admire him. He had the ability to pull together coalitions of disparate groups and individuals and deliver on a position.”
Details of a funeral service have yet to be confirmed but Federation will hold a commemoration event celebrating John’s contribution to Federation and the wider union movement at a date to be announced.
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