Open letter calls on Trades Hall to strike against the budget

June 20, 2014
Bust the Budget rally, Melbourne, June 12.

Union activists have written an open letter to Victoria Trades Hall Council calling for a state-wide delegates meeting to organise a strike to bust the budget.

A similar petition has been launched in NSW, calling on Unions NSW to organise a mass delegates meeting to plan for a stop work protest against the budget. Sign the letter at

Read the letter to the Victorian Trades Hall Council below.


The Liberal government’s proposed budget is one of the biggest attacks on workers and welfare in the last 30 years. The attacks are aimed at pushing the market further into education, healthcare and welfare, to cut essential services and rights. Prime Minister Tony Abbott has made clear he is also looking to scrap the minimum wage and penalty rates.

Abbott and the Liberal government are on the nose, we need to strike hard now. We can’t rely on the budget being blocked in the Senate. We can't wait two years for the next federal election. Abbott will attempt to win political credibility back with scaremongering of a “budget emergency”.

John Howard was almost a one-term wonder, but the anger against his first-term attacks was allowed to dissipate and he stayed on for 13 years.

Victorian Trades Hall initiated a great step by organising the June 12 weekday “Bust the Budget” rally. Abbott’s budget is an attack on all workers, and it will take all our unions, and mass strike action to fight it.

We need a rank-and-file-run campaign to bust the budget. The unions’ Your Rights at Work campaign that was central to defeating the Howard Liberal government had workplace and local campaign groups, and – most importantly – mass strikes and demonstrations. Crucially, the strikes and mass rallies of hundreds of thousands of workers were built out of mass delegates meetings of thousands.

The delegate structures are the backbone of the union movement. The Trades Hall’s All Unions General Meeting Budget Response on May 20 called for a mass delegates meeting to be called by the Trades Hall Executive. NSW held a mass delegates meeting on June 12 to plan further action. We need a mass delegates meeting to plan the next steps in the campaign.

We, the undersigned, call on our unions and Victorian Trades Hall Council to:
• Organise a daytime mass delegates meeting of all unions to plan for a Victorian wide strike.
• Coordinate with the ACTU and other state union peak bodies to organise a national day of action to strike Tony Abbott out.

Initial signatories include: Tim Gooden (Geelong Trades Hall secretary); David Glanz (NTEU RMIT branch committee); Sue Bolton (Moreland city councillor); Lucy Honan (AEU State Councillor); Hamish McPherson (AEU State Councillor); Mary Merkenich (AEU State Councillor); Jackie Kriz (ANMF State Councillor and delegate); Ron Guy (AWU delegate); Marcus Banks (NTEU delegate); Jasmine Ali (NTEU); Nick Fredman (NTEU); Chris Breen (AEU); Judy McVey (CPSU delegate - personal capacity); Jonathon Sherlock (AEU); Chip Henriss (ASU); Katie George (CPSU section councillor - personal capacity); Karen Fletcher (CPSU); Adrian Davies (AEU); Margarita Windisch (AEU); Tom Orsag (CFMEU); Wayne Klempel (AMWU); and Lenny Colton (ANMF delegate).

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