Contends that it is simply not possible to gain a firm understanding of the way in which the Australian economy operates without having some appreciation of the role of the central trade union organization. An attempt is made in the first section to examine the behavior, authority, and influence of the ACTU both in various economic circumstances and over time. The second section is concerned with the economic philosophies and policies. The author also discusses the principal factors involved in the growth of the ACTU's influence and authority, including its relationship to Australian compulsory arbitration, the effect of a labor party's presence, its attitudes toward strikes, and the question of idealogy. A volume of traditional economic history that will be useful in studies of labor and politics, especially those of Australia.