August 2020 Guest Speakers, Kasey Tomkins and Matthew Harrison

Kasey Tomkins, UnionsACT campaign manager; and Josh Thornton, AMWU, spoke about the UnionsACT 2020 territory elections campaign. The strategy is to “back candidates who back workers” and the campaign is not party-specific. The candidates are being asked to sign a pledge supporting the unions’ six core values. It is not until the candidates return the pledge that UnionsACT will know which candidates they will be supporting. Election campaigning is restricted, with limited resources and social distancing rules in place, though social media and letterboxing continue.

Matthew Harrison, the new Secretary of UnionsACT, introduced himself to the Vintage Reds and spoke about his settling in time and plans for the future. The Territory elections are his first real project in the new job. The plans for the future include:

- a new injured worker network, including mental health, to cover those who don’t fit the system, and those in smaller unions unable to help.

- a gender violence project, especially welcomed by nurses and hospo workers.

- the young workers’ centre. The “summer patrol” in operation in Canberra has already been renamed the “safety patrol”. Many young workers have been very badly affected by the corona pandemic.