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Bastard Boys HD online

Bastard Boys  HD online
Language: English
Category: TV Series / Drama
Original Title: Bastard Boys
Budget: AUD 6,500,000
Duration: 3h 45min
Video type: TV Series
The true story about the war on the Australian waterfront, when on the 7th April 1998, Chris Corrigan and the Liberal Government at the time, conspired and illegally dismissed the unionised workforce. The series tells the story from both sides, and how the Maritime Union of Australia fought diligently to get the some 2000 sacked workers their jobs back.
Series cast summary:
Darren K. Hawkins Darren K. Hawkins - Mike 1 episode, 2007
Kelly Hetherington Kelly Hetherington - Union Guest 1 episode, 2007
Lynne McGregor Lynne McGregor - Jenny George 1 episode, 2007
Ivan Topic Ivan Topic - Toll Booth Operator 1 episode, 2007

The script, published by Currency Press, won the 2007 Queensland Premier's Literary Award for Best Television Script.

Most of the characters portrayed are real individuals, many of whom were interviewed in the process of writing the drama. However, a number of characters were invented and events were considerably compressed for dramatic purposes. Notably, the waterside workers portrayed in the drama were composites, based on interviews with many waterside workers.

Bastard Boys tells the story of the 1998 Australian waterfront dispute.

Reviews: [11]

  • avatar


    This story is a recreation of the battle of the 1998 waterfront dispute between the unions and Patrick Corporation, in Australia. Even if you are not a student of political history, or think the storyline is a bit dry, you can still enjoy the confrontation between the major players of the day, superbly performed by an array of the cream of Australian actors. The acting and the production levels are so good that I didn't notice the time go by watching it , and I was sorry it was over, and wishing there was more. There are four episodes of approximately 1 hour each, which gives the viewer an insight into four respective characters(real people central to the historical events). I gave it a 9 out of 10 vote.
  • avatar


    I only write a comment because I was so annoyed at the allegation that this was one sided on the trade union side and typical of so called ABC bias. If I have a criticism of it, it's because it's a bit "soft left" and hedges its bets each way. The bit it glosses over is about the emasculation of the union movement (the "class war" in Australia has been entirely waged by the present government, not by unions) - the laws even then were blatantly pro-employer and anti-union, and have just got worse with time. In any case I was hooked on the recreation, so just judged purely as drama it's riveting (I especially liked Morrell's portrayal of Corrigan). Even if you remember the events and don't normally watch political films you should still see it - if you don't remember or don't know much about it, even more so.
  • avatar


    Reviewing "Curtin" a few weeks ago I suggested that it was the sort of drama-documentary the ABC should be doing more of, but after watching this very one-sided account of the1998 Patricks waterfront strike I'm not so sure. I say that even though my sympathies were with the strikers, who were all portrayed as wonderful, warm hearted working-class people who just wanted to be left to do their jobs. The other side was represented almost entirely by Geoff Morrel who played Chris Corrigan as a quirky business loner who has his back to the wall. There is a wonderful scene where he meets with the serried ranks of the bankers who are about to foreclose on him, and completely wrong-foots them by delivering torrents of abuse and then walking out of the meeting. But in the charisma stakes he is a long way behind the affable John Coombes (Colin Friels) and eager beaver Greg Combet (Daniel Fredrikson). Jack Thomson as old time unionist Toby Tully also puts in a sterling performance, though his attitudes rather make Chris Corrigan's point.

    The real problem is that the scriptwriters have not tried to dramatise the role that various other figures such as Peter Reith, John Howard and the officials of the National Farmers Federation played in this battle. At the end of the four hours we are still none the wiser as to who conceived and paid for the plan to secretly train hundreds of scabs (all right, non-union labour) in Dubai in what was a truly immoral attempt to put 2500 people out of work. The Australian waterfront does not have a happy industrial history but there has been a great deal of change in the previous 20 years and the workforce was a great deal smaller and more efficient than it used to be.

    The Maritime Union of Australia got its members reinstated, but at a price. Over a third of the workforce was made redundant (albeit voluntarily) with the Federal Government, suddenly in Santa Claus mode, paying for them. Corrigan continued on running Patricks until he was removed by a successful takeover bid in 2006. This film is "inner warm glow cinema" – it will give labour sympathizers a warm feeling inside, but it will not challenge their intellects or beliefs. If Channel 9 had produced this I would have said "Fair enough – sentimental tripe is their specialty". But the ABC? Not up to standard, folks.
  • avatar

    Ferri - My name

    I think the writer (Sue Smith)and producers made a bold step to create and televise this mini-series. Recreating, not just a real life event, but one with characters who are still alive and concerning such a controversial issue. Inevitably, it will ruffle feathers as it depicts such an important milestone in our democratic history. A portrayal of living public figures will always be seen as biased, one way or another.

    But this was a story that needed to be told. A sanctioning by government of aggressive, potentially violent behavior, towards a group of men and their families who had broken no laws, merely been very successful in their fight for wages and conditions. And yes, maybe some of these had gone further than was healthy for the survival of the industry. (I have to claim ignorance here. I am not an economist or business owner) However I don't hear anyone up-in-arms about those business owners who are in the happy position of taking large slabs of time off to play golf, go overseas etc. We seem to have a different set of values for 'workers' and for business owners.

    Back to Bastard Boys. One of the many themes was the portrayal of the personal lives of the main characters - the MUA leader, John Coombs (for which Colin Friels should get an award), Chris Corrigan (owner of Patricks, stevedores coy), Greg Combet, ACTU, the on-site Union rep (name?) and the solicitor, Josh Bernstein.

    There are some surprises in store for those of us who felt angry towards Corrigan at the time. Corrigan is portrayed as a man with his back against the wall financially. He takes on the banks very forcefully. But the biggest surprise was some of the writing posted on the screen at the conclusion. It mentioned the friendship that arose between Coombs and Corrigan who met quite regularly after the conflict was over. Obviously, somehow or other, a mutual respect developed between them.

    On the other hand, Bernstein is quoted this week in the Age's Green Guide as saying that this was a watered down version of what actually happened. The reality was a lot more heated and more intense. One wonders to what extent lawyers specialising in libel had been consulted and how much footage ended up on the cutting room floor.

    Bastard Boys has single-handedly broken new ground in Australian TV - a drama about real events that took place, not 100, 50 or even 20 years ago, but in our recent memories. A story about a time when our democracy was severely tested. Thank goodness our restrictive laws concerning free speech (see Right to Know campaign) didn't stop this one! Don't miss it!
  • avatar


    Given the subject matter - a long-term strike on the Australian waterfront in 1998 by union employees while the Australian government tried to break the back of the unions - I watched 'Rove' and only recorded the first episode to watch later, thinking that if I got bored, I could easily delete the rest. Wrong choice!! Firstly a big bouquet must go to Sue Smith for yet another exquisitely sharp and economical script. The direction by Raymond Quint, and the wonderful performances by an array of top Australian actors - Anthony Hayes, Geoff Morrell, Lucy Bell, Daniel Frederickson - more than adequately supported the script, and so many stood out I feel bad only naming those 4. Rhys Muldoon's quirky and distracted Julian Burnside was beautifully crafted, and courageous also, given Burnside's recent and regular appearances in the media as the barrister for the refugees. Whilst the point of view of the writer was chiefly that of the workers, we were also taken on a regular journey into the struggles facing Chris Corrigan, the boss who was prepared to sell out to the government of the day to get the unions off his back.

    I suspect that not many Australians would have seen this outstanding mini-series, given the usual Sunday and Monday night competition from the commercial networks. This is saddening, as this story needs to be seen by us all. It amazes me how quickly we all forget what came before.
  • avatar

    Deodorant for your language

    With "Bastard Boys" I don't think the makers truly set out to be so one sided, they simply only see one side as the "truth" despite the fact that the reality is much more complex.

    For those not familiar with the story portrayed in this mini series, it involves Patrick Stevedores controversial sacking of its entire workforce (of mostly union members) and replacing them with non unionised workers.

    This wasn't a very good thing to do, but what "Bastard Boys" fails to do is point out the extenuating circumstances that led to this extreme course of action. The Australian waterfront had been virtually held to ransom for years with one of the lowest lift-rates of any OECD nation, workers with "go slow" policies in order to gain valuable overtime rates, but which miraculously disappeared when the right hands were greased, and a unhelpful union intent on waging an "us vs them" battle of ideology against any sort of attempt to change a status quo that wasn't working.

    Bastard Boys completely failed to portray Chris Corrigan (head of Patrick) as anything other than a weird loner. We didn't see him at his wits end, unable to do anything about the lack of productivity that was costing his company a fortune. We didn't see all the rubbish he had to put up with from the union. We just saw unionists and union officials playing happy families and horrified at their "unwaranted" mistreatment.

    This miniseries should have been about how union and employer couldn't work together to resolve an obvious issue, so extreme (and yes, wrong) actions were taken. Instead Patrick's and Corrigan are demonised and the unions and sacked workers are painted as pariahs. The series should have pointed out that years after this dispute, the lift rates which the unions so flatly condemned as unsafe and impossible were being achieved by the very same workers who were fired once they had been reinstated.

    Bastard Boys should have been about how this whole incident could have been avoided if everyone just worked together, instead of turning into another preachy bit of political revisionism and selective history which only shows one side of the debate.

    Bastard Boys should have been about how the workers, the unions AND Patrick's did the wrong thing, and how after all this fuss it was worked out in the end. Fuss that could have been avoided.
  • avatar


    A credit to the ABC and a true depiction of how the fighting spirit of the Australian Workers can achieve great things. Although John Howard was voted in again after this fiasco, I felt that this was a very moving and well dramatized account of what happened on the Australian Waterfront in 1998. Well Done to Aunty and all involved in the mini-series on an outstanding piece of Australian Drama!! Outstanding Australian cast - headed by some of the country's best actors - including Justine Clarke, Rhys Muldoon, Colin Freils and a few lesser known but equally powerful cast. Set on the Webb Dock in Melbourne, the shows follows the plight of individuals and the MUA (Maratime Union of Australia) in it's fight to protect the rights and entitlements of it's workers against a non-union workforce. Incredibly moving and dramatic, I give it two thumbs up.
  • avatar


    This is a great TV movie. It explains the events of the Waterfront Dispute very accurately, particularly the legal issues which were not very straight-forward. There were a few inaccuracies - for example, the dramatic scenes in relation to the Australian Endeavour happened at Port Botany and not Webb Dock and the ACCC did not seek fines in its cases against the MUA. However, the most disappointing aspect of the production was the inaccurate claims that the MUA avoided engaging in violence on the docks. There was plenty of violence directed against the non-union laborers and anybody behind the picket lines. I didn't like all the focus on Josh Bornstein - it seemed quite unnecessary to me to focus so much of the movie on one of the legal advisers.
  • avatar

    Dancing Lion

    Having been involved in the 1998 waterfront dispute, I'd have to say that the ABC's drama Bastard Boys was quite accurate, in most of it's depictions.

    For anyone claiming that Patrick Corporations were misrepresented mustn't have seen Chris's War (episode 4, shown on Monday night), where we are given an acute window into the events that took place in the Corrigan camp. For anyone claiming that the unions were presented as the good guys, I suggest you take a long hard look at the facts of the case.

    The facts ring as such: Patrick Corporations, with the backing of the Howard Government, tried to improve efficiency on the waterfront by sacking all union members of it's workforce, and claiming insolvency, using newly passed legislation to do so legally. The MUA, with backing from the ACTU, tried to prevent this, and save the jobs of those workers, while also working towards greater efficiency on the docks. Both sides, but mainly those on the Patrick side, resorted to dirty dealings. In the end, major concessions had to be made on both sides, with neither side claiming victory.
  • avatar

    Knights from Bernin

    Borderline entertaining television, but anyone who doesn't think the union movement in Australia is The Bees Knees is going to be irritated. The Australian waterfront has always been a complete shambles and this series - no real shock that is comes from the ABC - is almost entirely told from the trade union perspective.

    This would have been far better if we saw a balanced side of this dispute, rather than a rehash which will have all the armchair socialists and unionists nodding sagely from their living room, without ever getting down to the nub of the issue.

    Poor form by the ABC.
  • avatar


    I was only 12 when the waterfront dispute took place, and because I was away at the time, I knew basically nothing about what had happened. I didn't even know what the dispute was over.

    Bastard Boys brilliantly recreates the events surrounding the waterfront dispute, where company Patrick Stevedores tried to sack all of their unionised workers and replace them with non-union staff. To find out what else happens, watch the program.

    The miniseries uses recreations of real people involved with the events, such as John Coombs (Colin Friels) and Chris Corrigan (Geoff Morrell), as well as fictional characters such as the Tullys (Dan Wyllie and Jack Thomson).

    Bastard Boys does an excellent job of combining the vital legal proceedings with the human side - particularly the wharfies. All the acting is outstanding, although special mention should go to Geoff Morrell, who had the challenging job of bringing Patrick boss Chris Corrigan to the screen and making him human, believable and not simply a two-dimensional bad guy.

    There were a few problems with the script - Chris Corrigan's brother appeared out of nowhere, while Greg Combet was strangely underused towards the end. Other than that, an outstanding miniseries - not near the brilliance that was Answered By Fire, but outstanding all the same.