Talking Print Super with Jim Hargrave

Jim Hargrave was on the frontline when an industry super fund for printers was mooted in the 1980s. “By holding out to have our own industry fund, we have come a long way,” he tells Clare Kennedy

Former industrial advocate Jim Hargrave helped fight the cause for an industry super fund for printers during his 30-year career with the Printing Industries Association of Australia (PIAA). Now he and former colleagues are reaping the benefits of that campaign.

Back in the 1980s, an industry fund for printers was not a sure thing. “There was much pressure from large companies who’d have preferred us to join their fund instead,” Hargrave explains. “The stakes were high, but the printing industry was determined to establish its own fund, rather than being absorbed into a multi-employer fund,” he says.

“They (the large companies competing for members) told us we didn’t know what we were doing. But by holding out, we have a very successful fund now,” he says of the fund that became Print Super, now Media Super.

Hargrave began working as an industrial relations officer with the Printing Industries Association of Australia in 1983 and, in the course of his working life, is proud to have negotiated workplace agreements that provided for Print Super to be the preferred superannuation vehicle for employees.

He went on to become a longstanding member of workplace relations, OHS and training committees and an experienced industrial advocate, appearing in hundreds of employment-related claims, which took him to every Australian state and territory. He fondly recalls a matter at the Broome Magistrates Court, which was, at the time, essentially a tin shed.

A career highlight occurred in 1989, when he was invited to the International Labor Organisation in Geneva. “I was privileged enough to go as a representative of employers,” he says.

Issues on the agenda included concerns about international child labour and freedom of association – “the right to be a member of a union or not, and the right to be a member of an employer association or not”, he recalls.

If the day job wasn’t enough, Hargrave also served for ten years in the 1980s as an independent councillor to the City of Oakleigh (now part of Monash Council), for two years as mayor. Being on the council was a part-time job in those days, he explains, Meetings were at night after a quick dinner with his wife and three young children. “We’d turn up for council meetings at 7 o’clock and they sometimes went on till midnight.”

Hargrave earned a nickname during his term. “For two years running, the council vote for mayor was evenly split six each way, so they put two names in the barrel and out I came. The next year the same thing happened, so I was christened the ‘Lucky Dip Mayor’,” he laughs.

He also worked as a Justice of the Peace and as a Victorian bail justice. At times he was called upon to conduct and determine out-of-hours bail and remand hearings in the middle of the night at the local police station.

Before his retirement last year, Hargrave sat down with Michael Honeybone, a financial adviser with Media Super, to discuss his superannuation options. He was very pleased with the outcome.

“In my case I did take some salary sacrifice  and that helped along the way. I would be suggesting that, if you can, put some extra into your fund because it will pay dividends down the track. Michael Honeybone is an excellent adviser,” he adds, unprompted.

It’s been a career full of rich experiences, but now Hargrave is focused on new horizons and is planning a trip to Antarctica. “This will be my second trip down south to an amazing place,” he says.