The Emma Miller Awards
In 1987, following a decision by the Queensland Council of Unions (QCU) Women's Committee, the Emma Miller Awards were established.
The Award is presented each year to women who have made an outstanding contribution to their union at the grass roots level. Recipients of this prestigious award are nominated by their respective union. Each year, affiliates of the QCU are invited to nominate a woman activist from their rank and file to receive the Emma Miller award.
Read more about each of the dedicated QTU women unionists who have received the Emma Miller Award below.
Who was Emma Miller?
Women's rights activist, union organiser and suffragette
Emma Miller was foundation president of the Woman’s Equal Franchise Association between 1894 and 1905. Women won the right to vote in state elections in Queensland in 1905, although women had had the right to vote in federal elections since federation, and voted for the first time in the 1903 federal election.
On 2 February 1912, later known as Black Friday, Miller led a contingent of women to Parliament House at the height of a general strike, avoiding police with fixed bayonets. On their return, the women were charged by baton swinging police, and Miller reputedly stuck her hatpin into Police Commissioner, Patrick Cahill’s horse. Cahill fell from his horse and claimed to have been permanently injured.
Direct political action was not Miller’s only cause. She was anti-militarist and opposed conscription in World War I. She believed that “those who make the quarrel should be the only ones to fight”. As vice-president of the Women’s Peace Army, Miller attended the Peace Alliance Conference in Melbourne in 1916. She also fought hard for free speech and civil liberties. During the First World War, Miller preached equal pay to those fearing that women would take the jobs of men away at the war.