Legislative Council: Wednesday, October 19, 2022


Young, Mr G.T.

The Hon. I. PNEVMATIKOS (16:11): I move:

That this council expresses its sincere regret at the death of the unionist George Thomas Young and notes his impact on the lives of working South Australians through the union movement.

I rise to honour the memory of the late George Thomas Young, a respected trade unionist and a much loved husband, father and grandfather. George was born on 21 December 1933 and passed away on 9 August 2022. He was aged 88 and was surrounded by his family and loved ones.

He had spent the early part of his life in New South Wales. He was born in Bathurst and grew up in Sydney. As a young man, George took up boxing as a sport and he enjoyed playing chess. He was a bright student at school and understood the importance of education, in particular self-education, as a tool for personal growth. This keenness for learning and self-improvement persisted throughout his whole adult life.

When George moved to Adelaide, he began to work at the Royal Adelaide Hospital as an orderly. It was this role that led him to join the Australian Government Workers' Association, which he would later become president of. Through his work as an orderly and involvement in the union, George developed a keen interest and passion for workers' rights. This became his great purpose in life as he worked his way up the ranks of the union movement.

George's gift for public speaking allowed him to confidently and convincingly advocate for the workers he represented. Although he was steadfast in his values, he listened to others, even if they did not hold the same view as him. This meant that he often won his members favourable outcomes. His empathy and willingness to connect with people in a way that was personal and meaningful brought him great respect.

After his presidency of the Australian Government Workers' Association, George served as an assistant secretary of the Federated Miscellaneous Workers' Union when the two unions amalgamated. Following that, he became a senior official of the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers' Union following a further amalgamation. His big heart, passion and commitment to fairness did not wither, even towards the end of his life. Even in his final years, George was involved in the retired members division of United Voice and subsequently the renamed United Workers Union, of which he became a life member.

He continued to share his knowledge with others, actively participate in strike action and lend support to the fight for better working standards. This lifelong involvement in the union movement reflects George's undying commitment to workers' rights. George will be dearly missed by all he struggled alongside and those whom he fought for in his life as a tireless advocate for all workers. His lifelong devotion to the trade union movement and his unrelenting enthusiasm will be forever remembered by fellow trade unionists. Let George's life continue to inspire today's trade unionists. Vale, George Thomas Young.

Debate adjourned on motion of Hon. N.J. Centofanti.