Vale Former CIT Commissioner, Hon David Duncan

Published: 19 Apr 2018

Our Union would like to pay respects to the Honourable David Duncan who passed away on 15 April.

David Duncan was the Commissioner of the Coal Industry Tribunal from 1975 until its abolition in 1995. As Commissioner he earned the respect of this Union. His decisions were known to be fair and balanced. He did not favour one side over the other, and he adhered to the charter of the Tribunal, which was to settle disputes quickly to ensure the on-going production of coal.

He had the industry and its workforce at heart, which was reflected in the condolence message he sent after a fatality at Nymboida. Nymboida was known as “the mine the workers ran” after the coal mineworkers refused to stop working when the owners tried to close the mine, and ownership was subsequently granted to the Union in 1975. In January 1976 a worker was killed by a gas explosion. In sending his condolences, David Duncan said  “I hope it does not set back too far the efforts that have been made to keep the mine open.”

His decision regarding the Kemira stay down strike of 1982, which put a moratorium on redundancies, was fought all the way to the High Court by the bosses, who challenged the very existence of the Coal Industry Tribunal, and they lost.

In 1995 a new era was ushered in by the abolition of the CIT, with its functions taken over by the then AIRC (Australian Industrial Relations Commission). David Duncan became the Senior Deputy President of the Commission in 2000 and retired in 2005.

We would like to extend our sympathy to his family.

May he Rest In Peace.