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Emma Miller Awards

Every year, Queensland Unions recognise the outstanding contributions of women members through the presentation of the Emma Miller Awards.

Named for the eponymous suffragette, activist and pioneering union organiser, the Emma Miller Awards honour union women who embody Emma's tenacious spirit.

The awards were first established in 1997.

The awards recognise rank and file female members of affiliate Queensland Unions for their commitment to and achievements within their union.

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2023 Awards

This year's Awards will be held on Friday, 8 September 2023 with attendees encouraged to dress in the (optional) theme of glitter and gold.

RSVP to by 1 September - further details below!

Emma Miler 2023 invite-1

About Emma

Emma Miller was a strong advocate for workers’ and women’s rights in Queensland during the last century. The QCU hosts the Emma Miller Awards as a tribute to the pioneering spirit of this woman.

A foundation member of the Australian Labor Party, Emma Miller was one of the leaders of the women’s suffrage movement which saw Australian women vote in 1902—the first women in the world to be able to vote in a federal election.

She not only witnessed, but also contributed to the political and social changes that took place  during the late 19th and early 20th centuries – a turbulent period of Queensland’s history. From childhood Emma spent her energy in the cause of freedom and the progress of humanity, and always retained the lifestyle and attitudes of the working class.

Her action during the 1912 tramways strike at the age of 73—of thrusting her hat pin into the Police Commissioner’s horse became legendary, although her family maintained that she actually dug it into the Police Commissioner himself.

Orations at her funeral lauded a humane woman of courage, fearless in expressing her convictions and staunch in her beliefs; a pioneer and propagandist of the emerging labour movement; a recognised leader of Queensland women’s fight for the right to vote; and a friend and organiser of women workers and active supporter of the Trade Union Movement.

Of courage and hat pins...

Hat pins were a common, functional fashion accessory at the time but, as outlined in the story above, Emma's hat pin was the stuff of legend.

Recipients of the Emma Miller Award traditionally receive a hat pin of their very own as an emblem of Emma's story.

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Hat pin graphic