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Australian unionism built upon strong foundations transported from Britain. Subsequently it grew beyond this base in scope and form. By 1890 the level of unionisation of the colonial workforce exceeded that in the mother country. This was mainly due to the upsurge of new unionism in the late 1880s. Although there were many parallels with the new unionism of Britain, the colonial variant was more extensive, preceded the British version and demonstrated its distinctive characteristics, such as a national level of bureaucracy, earlier. Australian new unionism was also far more successful initially than its British counterpart in developing extensive parliamentary representation based on the organisation of a Labor Party. The most significant example of Australian new unionism, the AWU, was also unique in many respects which led the Australian style of unionism further away from its British origins.