About 5000 trade unionists rallied in front of NSW Parliament House on July 31 as part of a round of nation-wide actions against the secretly negotiated and recently signed China-Australia Free Trade Agreement.
Unions object to provisions that will undermine working conditions and safety and point to powers — like those in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, which is still in secret negotiation — that allow big corporations to sue signatory governments for damages arising out of laws and regulations adopted to protect jobs or the environment.
Most speakers made a point of opposing racism and saying their struggle was not against foreign workers but against greedy corporations, although a couple of speakers appealed to “Aussie” nationalism. On the outskirts of a protest a handful of members of the far-right “Party For Freedom” held up placards with racist and xenophobic slogans.
Photos: Peter Boyle