The Bust the Budget rallies were great because they mobilised 45,000 across Australia against Abbott’s attacks on working people. Unlike the March in May rally, the action demanded from the 10,000 gathered in Sydney was not so great. The 10,000 were instructed to SMS our MPs. Disappointingly, SMSs aren’t going to stop Abbott’s attacks. People want more than a feel-good rally and the opportunity to let off steam.
Many trade union leaders are arguing to “vote Abbott out”, however, this doesn’t prevent Abbott’s cuts and attacks from happening right now. Even if the ALP is elected, there are no guarantees they will repeal all of Abbott’s cuts. Remember “Your Rights at Work: worth fighting for” which became, “Your Rights at Work: worth voting for” and resulted in “WorkChoices-lite”. Is Gonski-lite next?
Our campaign to prevent Abbott’s attacks needs to intensify if we are to protect our communities and environment from what is to come. The challenge for unionists is to argue for strong action, such as mobilisations nationally, and resist attempts to channel our legitimate anger into a re-elect the ALP campaign.
Another cross-union delegates meeting is needed to help coordinate the next stage of our defence.
March Australia mobilised 100,000 people and have twice demonstrated Australians are no longer willing to simply wait until the next election. Let’s move beyond the ballot box and politicians’ broken promises.
On August 20, university students across Australia will rally against the Budget cuts. On August 31, March Australia will hold another massive national protest against Abbott. At a minimum, the Australian Education Union needs to mobilise teachers for August 31. Ideally, unions need to support both days of action. Doing so will help build the mass movement needed to defeat these attacks and protect what we have before its cut.
Taverners Hill Infants