Rally slams federal budget

May 21, 1997

Rally slams federal budget

By Bill Mason

BRISBANE — Several hundred unionists, students and others rallied in King George Square here on May 13 to protest against the Howard-Costello budget.

The protesters then marched through city streets to the Stock Exchange building, where they demanded the nationalisation of BHP's steel division in light of the company's decision to close its Newcastle steelworks.

The anti-budget rally was organised by a coalition of unions, community groups and progressive political organisations, under the theme "Draw the line! Fight the anti-union laws! Stop the cuts!". Speakers included Pat Thompson, a prominent Aboriginal leader, and representatives from the ACTUQ, the Doctors' Reform Society and the Maritime Union of Australia.

A resolution linking the Howard government's "horrific budget cuts" to its anti-worker Workplace Relations Act, and condemning the government for breaking its election promises to "help low-income families" was adopted by acclaim.

The resolution concluded by calling on the ACTU "to abandon its present policy of low key opposition and resistance" and "give the necessary leadership for a national campaign of trade union struggle against all further budget cuts and anti-worker laws, as well as those already in existence in federal and state legislation — to follow the Western Australian and South Korean examples".

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