The South Australian Labor government’s public service cuts were passed through parliament on November 8, ignoring sharp criticism from the Public Service Association (PSA) and widespread protests.
Australian Council of Trade Unions president Ged Kearney described the cuts as a form of “political terrorism”, in an address to the PSA that day. She said public funding issues would become increasingly frequent across Australia as governments continue to adopt “neoliberal, global agendas”.
In the face of the mounting campaign against the cuts, state treasurer Kevin Foley said further cuts to public spending were expected in the next 12 months, to return the budget to surplus.
“I would always prefer to reduce Government spending than raise taxes”, he told the November 10 Advertiser.
“That's been my approach throughout my time as Treasurer.”
On November 11, the ALP state council passed a motion calling on the government to reverse the budget cuts affecting worker entitlements. The November 13 Advertiser said the motion was binding but it was up to the government to decide the timing of any decision.
The article said unionists were planning to present “even tougher” motions party's state convention on November 27. A motion from the Australian Workers Union will call for “generational change” to the party leadership.
Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union secretary David Di Troia said he had attended the state council and "loyal Labor people have had enough and are now intent on speaking out", the Advertiser said.
The PSA, the Australian Education Union, the Ambulance Employees Association, and other unions are planning a major protest outside the ALP state convention.
An AEU message to members on November 19 urged members to attend, saying: “The Rann Government has used legislation to over-ride industrial agreements, stripping the community of jobs, services and workers' rights.
“The ALP State Convention at the Festival Theatre on Saturday November 27 provides an ideal platform to take a stand against these irrational and undemocratic cuts.
“Inside the conference, ALP delegates who have lost faith in their leaders (and there are many) will bring motions against the Budget and those who conceived it.
“On the outside we need thousands of people doing the same.”