Thousands of trade unionists marched through Sydney streets on October 23 as part of nationwide “Change The Rules” mobilisations coordinated by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU).
The spirit of the marchers was buoyed by the federal Coalition government’s loss of its one-seat parliamentary majority after its defeat in the October 20 Wentworth byelection.
Several union leaders, including Maritime Union of Australia assistant national secretary Warren Smith and ACTU president Michele O’Neil, warned that this was not an “elect Labor campaign”, but a campaign to change the rules that are currently stacked in the bosses’ favour. They said that getting the Coalition government out of office would be only the first step and that unions would have to keep fighting to change the rules, whoever was in government.
Electrical Trades Union NSW secretary Dave McKinley told the crowd at Belmore Park: “I don’t care what government is in power, I’ll bring the boys from the ETU out and we’ll stand in front of every single politician’s house until the rules are changed.”