Overview: what the book is about

McQueen uses labourers' own words to retell their battles around scaffolding and shithouses, for the safe removal of asbestos, prompt and adequate compensation, and a decent burial.

The stories start in convict times and cover the six States and the ACT. The labourers' struggle for health and safety is followed into their dismantling of the framework of fear erected by the Building and Construction Commission.


The concluding chapter, 'Killing no murder', dethrones the majesty of bourgeois justice by detailing why there can never be 'one law for all' in a class system.

By tracking on-the-job experiences of demolishers, dog-men, hod-carriers and navvies, McQueen confirms the conviction of an early official of the BLF, Ben Mulvogue:

A union constitutes a school for the working class, wherein they learn self-reliance, learn their rights, privileges, opportunities, as well as their possibilities. Every new demand for better physical protection of the workers ensures a great ideal development for a future generation.

In homage to this hope for the world, Framework of Flesh contributes to the BLs' struggle for socialism.