Change the Rules campaign

Before the “super Saturday” byelections on July 28, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was saying the outcome would be a “test of leadership”.

Then he lost all five contests and changed his tune.

Unionists marching down the street carrying banners and flags.

About 700 members of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and other unions gathered at Sydney Town Hall on May 29, and marched to the offices of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) where a lively rally was held calling for an end to laws limiting the right to strike.

The action was organised around demands for the right to organise, right to strike and right to live.

More than 100 unionists and supporters crowded into the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) Sydney meeting hall for a "Fight for the Right to Strike" public meeting on April 14.

Following the recent public exposure gained by the Change the Rules campaign, speakers emphasised the need to overturn anti-worker and anti-union legislation.

Australian workers are doing it tough. Wage rises have dropped to their lowest level in decades: ABS figures show average full-time wages have fallen below basic cost of living needs. Casual workers have taken an even harder hit.

It’s time to fight back and get organised. The Australian Council of Trade Unions seems to have come out of its bunker. It has called for a full blown “Change the Rules” campaign to win back our “rights at work”, lost progressively since 1996.

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. 

In her in Canberra, ACTU secretary Sally McManus successfully skewered the Malcolm Turnbull government for their woeful disregard for workers' rights.

In public debate “the thin end of the wedge” — the notion that once made, any penetration of the status quo will inevitably be followed by something greater — is an idiom invoked almost exclusively in the negative. It is an insufferable refrain of the perpetually fearful, the racist, the homophobic, the xenophobic, the Islamophobic, and the climate change-phobic.

It is one of former Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s favourite lines.

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