May Day rally demands scrapping of anti-worker laws

May 10, 2008

More than 2000 people rallied at Fremantle Esplanade to celebrate May Day and to call for the scrapping of all of the anti-worker laws of the previous government.

The march featured large contingents from the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) and the State School Teachers Union, which is currently engaged in an industrial dispute with the state Labor government.

A common demand from the marchers was for the Rudd government to abolish the Australian Building and Construction Commission.

Among the crowd were many social justice groups, with the Aboriginal Rights Coalition (ARC) prominent among them. With a few dozen marchers, including children, they gained support from observers along the march route for their calls for justice for Indigenous people.

ARC member Natasha Moore said their participation in the rally was about raising awareness of Indigenous issues amongst other workers, and building support for their current campaign against the NT intervention and its extension into WA.

Moore also drew parallels between stolen Indigenous wages and the quarantining of welfare payments as examples of racist government policy denying Aboriginal people's right to decide how to spend their own money and signalled a future campaign on the issue.

"Whilst our campaign focus currently is ending the NT intervention, we may begin a stolen wages campaign in the near future", she told Green Left Weekly.

"[The ARC] will continue to fight for justice for Indigenous people [including] for all the stolen wages to be returned."

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