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Frank McGrath AM OBE MAHons LLB PhD
A leader in a 1941-1951 battle againsts Communists.
* to win 1945 FIA Balmain Branch elections
* as secretary Balmain Branch for 2 years
* as clerk with Caroll  O'Dean  1946- 1951
* as solicitor to prove the 1949 FIA national officers' election was won by forgery & fraud.
Chief Judge Compensation Court 1966-1993

Books on Potential Fraud in Elections
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The Forging of Votes

“This book was written to remind our present ambitious power-brokers of the small blow the faceless men of the Balmain branch of the FIA struck for freedom. They were men who wanted to maintain their democracy as it was until communist ‘true believers’ turned it into a dictatorship." Amy McGrath preface p.8

The Forging of Votes is the story of the rise of the Communist Party in Australia and the fight of the 3,000 members of the Balmain Branch of the Federated Ironworkers of Australia, in the Balmain shipyards of Sydney Harbour, against that Communist Party, which had seized majority control of the Australian Congress of Trade Unions by capture of such key unions by seizing the official management  of all branches first, then centralising control of them in federal offices.

After seizing control of the Balmain Branch, its moderate officials fought a prolonged battle through the courts with the Communist central council until finally, in 1951, they proved, in a long-drawn out court case, backed by Cecil O’Dea of Carroll, O’Dea Solicitors that the communist officials had only seized power throughout their union and the union movement by fraud, forgery and irregularities ‘on a grand scale’ in their elections.   

Amy McGrath describes these methods in the preface thus:

“The argument exposed a variety of methods by which cynical manipulation by communist officials had occurred in the FIA as in other unions. Vitiated returning officers guaranteed to overlook, even participate in, the cynical manipulation of the voting process, standing for election at branch meetings. Such meetings were stacked not only by members but by non-members with membership OK cards issued for the night. Extra ballot papers printed. Votes gathered by, even filled in by, communist delegates on the shop floor. Voting papers marked in bulk, and posted in batches. Ballot boxes held in, or even removed from, union offices. 

“The electioneering process itself could be weighted against candidates opposing communist officials or their fellow-traveller nominees. The latter given the full use of union resources – transport, printing of election dodgers, space in the union journal, time on air. Those standing against the power brokers given nothing; worse attacked with the full propaganda resources of the sitting union government – by abuse, libel, character assassination, smear, satire, caricature. Sometimes also ‘heavied’ by physical violence.      They also demanded unity, consensus or loyalty while branding any dissent as disruptive, reactionary, backward and disloyal whether to union, country etc.

Almost all the rank and file of the Balmain Branch understood this cynical ploy of the Communist officials, when they voted their dissent against the Communist officials time and again from 1945-8. They continued to vote against a dictatorship that had protected itself by debauchery of the voting process, and by  centralised punitive constitution instituted in order to destroy any opposition.

They understood all too well, as victims, that the forging of votes is a debauchery of the voting process. It can only occur through debauchery of the election process. It is facilitated by debauchery of the electioneering process.

The debauchery of the right to vote in unions   - not exclusive to communist dominated unions, but pursued more ruthlessly by them – has infected the body politic and society at large; a cancer not altogether resolved by the fact some  800 union elections are conducted by the Australian Electoral Commission.

The same unprincipled, manipulative practices, that debased the morality of some union elections, are all too often obvious also in major parliamentary elections. If this growing corruption is not opposed, as it was in Balmain, we are all at risk of the debauchery of democracy which the 20th century knows as the consensus state of “Fascism, where unity was not right but might.”

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