On May 1, international workers’ day, 500 people marched in Wollongong.
Trish Corcoran from the Socialist Alliance spoke about the racist Northern Territory intervention on Aboriginal communities, and the solidarity the union movement is showing with the people fighting it.
Chris Cumming, from the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union, reported on the nasty dispute between the Tahmoor mineworkers and their employer, coal multinational Xstrata. Nearly $450 was raised at the rally for the miners.
Other speakers included: Arthur Rorris, from the South Coast Labour Council; (CFMEU) Tahmoor lodge; Charly Lindsay, Wollongong Undergraduate Students' Association; Greens MLC John Kaye, and a NSW Teachers' Federation representative.
May Day committee president Garry Keane and committee life member Fred Moore paid tribute to Monica Chalmers, presenting her with flowers. Chalmers was a long-time leader of May Day and the Communist Party of Australia, and was the first woman to head a May Day committee in Australia.
Two thousand people rallied in Sydney.
The rally had been moved from the traditional first Sunday after May 1 to Saturday — May Day itself.
The march moved from Hyde Park to Circular Quay for a rally.
The rally was addressed by Maritime Union of Australia Sydney branch secretary Paul McAleer, Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union state secretary Andrew Ferguson and Greens MLC, Lee Rhiannon.
The rally was also addressed by Ark Tribe, a South Australian construction worker facing six months’ jail for refusing to attend an interview with the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), the building industry’s secret police.
The ABCC was set up under the previous Coalition government to break the strength of the building unions. It has continued under Labor.