March 2019 Guest Speaker, Harry Wall

Jane welcomed Harry Wall to the meeting.

Harry outlined the work of the Change the Rules Campaign and the imperative to vote the Coalition Government out of office in the upcoming Federal elections.

The Gilmore electorate is the focus of the efforts of VR members. This electorate is quite elongated, running from Kiama to Tuross Heads. Overall, the campaign goes back to 2007 when the ALP failed to follow up on the unions’ “Your rights at work” campaign.

The campaign aims to change public opinion on penalty rates; stress job security and the impact of the next generation of workers not being able to retire; and ensure that the campaign will not stop on election day.

The campaign is focusing its efforts in a handful of marginal seats. In New South Wales, these are Gilmore, Robertson and Flynn.

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Sally McManus — Change the Rules

“The rules that made Australia fair are broken.” Sally McManus has called for people to join a union and change the rules.

Sally McManus urges unions to be ‘disrupters’ to fix neoliberalism’s damage to workers:  ACTU head says the rich have too much power & the minimum wage
no longer keeps people out of poverty.

Gareth Hutchens, 26 June 2017, The Guardian

The head of the Australian Council of Trade Unions has called on Australia’s unionists to begin campaigning hard on the issue of inequality, warning workplace rules must be repaired to reverse the damage to workers caused by three decades of neoliberalism.

Sally McManus, secretary of the ACTU, issued the rallying cry on Monday during her opening address to a three-day union conference in Sydney.

She said “one group of people” had far too much power in Australia – pointing out the richest 1% owned more wealth than the poorest 70% – and old protections for wage workers had been so whittled down that the minimum wage no longer kept people out of poverty.

She said unions must recapture their role as economic “disrupters” with serious power, with secure bargaining positions at the tops of supply chains and “across industries”, so workers could once again be adequately paid for their time and energy.

It has taken the right 30 years of union bashing and neoliberalism to take us where we are now,” McManus said on Monday. “Inequality is at a 70-year high. Wage growth hasn’t been this low since records starting being kept.

The rules that were meant to protect our rights are now not strong enough. They need to be rewritten … we need to change the rules so working people have more power.”

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