The SDA National Assistant Secretary Ian Blandthorn retired after 30 years as Assistant National Secretary and 37 years of employment with the SDA. At its meeting in October, National Council awarded Ian its highest honour — life membership of the Union.
In seconding the motion to award life membership, Michael Donovan said that Ian Blandthorn was motivated by social justice and the view that people should be treated with respect and human dignity. Like others in the SDA, Ian was inspired by the late Jim Maher.
He became involved in the field of industry training and saw training as a way for SDA members to advance themselves.
He developed and presented our first Delegates training course in Victoria (in those day they were called shop stewards). He worked with and assisted in the continuation of the Hairdressers Union until it amalgamated with the SDA.
In 1986, the late Jim Maher believed he was the right person to become National Assistant Secretary to Joe de Bruyn, providing back up and support to Joe, and the ability to represent SDA members’ interests at the top trade union forum — the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU).
Anything Joe de Bruyn achieved as National Secretary must also be attributed to Ian as they were a team. Joe and Ian were a team that worked and the SDA should be very grateful for that.