In the lead-up to a federal election, some May Day rallies across Australia from April 30 to May 2 were bigger than usual. Kerry Smith reports.
In an interview with Sky News on March 8, finance minister Matthias Cormann said, “The whole reason why it is important to have flexibility in the labour market … is … to ensure that wages can adjust in the context of economic conditions, is to avoid massive spikes in unemployment … That is a deliberate design feature of our economic architecture.”
More than 60 unionists and supporters of the labour movement met after the Sydney May Day march on May 6 to discuss the next steps of the Right to Strike campaign.
The meeting, which built on the success of a previous meeting held on April 14, called for the critical addition of the right to strike as a core demand of the Australian Council of Trade Unions' (ACTU) Change the Rules campaign.
It is a basic right of working people to organise collectively through our unions
We own our own labour and should have the right to control our labour by organising collectively through our unions. Workers and our unions should not be prosecuted or penalised for organising our labour.
Our current industrial laws are anti worker, anti union and simply unjust and make it harder for workers to organise to defend our wages, conditions and living standards.
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has re-launched his verbal war against his successor Malcolm Turnbull, with obvious relish.
In recent speeches, Abbott criticised leaked internal Liberal Party moves to bring forward a bill for marriage equality; called for an end to all new spending except for national security and infrastructure; and advocated freezing the country's — already inadequate — renewable energy target.
The Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) was dealt another embarrassing blow on March 21.
The Federal Court dismissed all claims against the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU) after finding prosecutors had made a deal with a confessed blackmailer to give evidence for the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) in return for staying out of jail.
The Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) was originally set up by former Prime Minister John Howard in 2005. Another former Prime Minister Tony Abbott tried but failed to reintroduce it in 2014.
It was the reason Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called a double dissolution election last year. The result was a Senate willing to pass ABCC legislation, thanks to the likes of Pauline Hanson and Derryn Hinch who voted with the Coalition.
Thousands of unionists attended protests around the country on March 9 in opposition to the federal government's new building code, the reintroduction of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) and its planned penalty rate cuts.
The rallies were called by the CFMEU Construction Division and supported by the ACTU and individual unions. Community anger against the cuts to wages and conditions was palpable.
A panel of union militants will lead a discussion about the new challenges facing unions and unionists in the wake of the passing of the federal Coalition government's Australian Building and Construction Commission and other anti-union laws.
A cloud hangs over the annual picnic day for workers in the construction industry and their families, due to the passage of the bill to revive the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).
Former Prime Minister John Howard’s Building Industry Taskforce was established in 2002 — a child of the Cole Royal Commission. The ABCC was established by the Howard government in 2005, once it had achieved a majority in the Senate.