Union activist speaks on campus

May 6, 1998

By Nikki Ulasowski

CANBERRA — Derek Corrigan, brother of Patrick's boss Chris Corrigan, spoke at the University of Canberra on April 29 and the Australian National University on April 30. The forums were organised by Resistance.

Corrigan explained that the waterfront dispute is not about productivity but about union rights. He spoke of his disgust at the mainstream media's distortion of the dispute and urged students to take a stand and get involved in the campaign.

Resistance activist Simon Taylor also spoke at the University of Canberra forum. He said union busting is not restricted to the waterfront; education minister David Kemp has voluntary student unionism legislation prepared. If passed, it will have a major impact on students' right to organise.

Will Williams from Resistance told the ANU forum, "The key is to build a fighting campaign. To beat the Howard government, to beat big businesses like Patrick, we will need to defy the laws." Williams said an aim of the Workplace Relations Act is to prevent collective action and atomise working people, thereby creating the best possible conditions for big businesses to increase their profits by increasing labour exploitation.

"All parts of the community need to participate in the campaign to force the government to repeal its anti-union laws and to actively defend the MUA", Williams concluded.

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