Sally McManus

Sally McManus is an Australian trade unionist and political activist who has served as the Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) since 2017. She is the first woman to hold the position in the ACTU's 90-year history.[2]

Sally McManus
Sally McManus Secretary of the ACTU.jpg
Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions
Assumed office
15 March 2017
Preceded byDave Oliver
Personal details
Sally McManus

Sydney, Australia
Political partyLabor[1]

Early lifeEdit

McManus grew up in Carlingford, New South Wales, Australia, and is the daughter of a railway worker and a clerical staffer at a Parramatta pharmaceuticals factory. At the age of 17, McManus was first drawn to left-wing movements during a protest against mass teacher lay-offs by the Greiner Liberal state government in 1988.[2]


McManus went to Carlingford High School in Sydney and studied for a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy at university.[3] McManus was president of the Macquarie University student union, and was also briefly involved in the student council.[4]


McManus was NSW Secretary of the Australian Services Union before becoming ACTU Secretary.[3] She moved to the ACTU during 2015. During the 2016 federal election, McManus led the ACTU's "Building a Better Future" campaign.[5] McManus has stated that the ACTU will not be distancing itself from the CFMEU over industrial action.[6] In February 2019 McManus's On Fairness was published by Melbourne University Publishing.[7]


In 2012, McManus was active in the Destroy The Joint campaign formed in response to radio broadcaster Alan Jones's criticism of then Prime Minister Julia Gillard and other prominent women.[8] Her activism was recognised in 2015 when she received an Edna Ryan Award in the Grand Stirrer category.[9]

Personal lifeEdit

McManus is an enthusiastic player of computer games, and describes herself as “the definition of a total gamer”, who has been playing since the DOS era. She particularly enjoys Metal Gear Solid, on PlayStation, and says her favourite of all is Civilization.[10]


  1. ^ Alcorn, Gay (1 July 2017). "The power and passion of union boss Sally McManus". The Guardian.
  2. ^ a b McKinnon, Alex (May 2017). "The Fighter". The Monthly. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  3. ^ a b Patty, Anna (15 March 2017). "Sally McManus becomes the first female ACTU secretary". Sydney Morning Herald.
  4. ^ Meade, Amanda (29 March 2017). "Attack on union leader Sally McManus by the Australian newspaper backfires". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
  5. ^ Karp, Paul (1 February 2017). "ACTU vice-president Sally McManus likely to be union body's first female secretary". The Guardian. Retrieved 29 March 2017.
  6. ^ Sales, Leigh (15 March 2017). "New ACTU boss says it's OK for workers to break 'unjust laws'". 7.30. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
  7. ^ "On Fairness, Sally McManus". Melbourne University Publishing. 5 February 2019. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  8. ^ Fife-Yeomans, Janet (10 October 2012). "Labor linked to anti-Jones campaigners". Daily Telegraph.
  9. ^ "Grand Stirrer Award" (PDF). Edna Ryan Awards. 2015. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  10. ^ Badham, Van (25 September 2017). "What makes a gamer? Sally McManus, Jordan Raskopoulos and more on why they play". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 October 2017.

External linksEdit