Changing the government means changing the country.
For workers across Australia, last Saturday’s election result was a resounding affirmation that change is necessary, and it needs to come quickly.
Throughout the campaign, unions never let workers’ drop off the political radar and made sure they were front and centre when it came to:
- a necessary 5.5% wage growth
- the cost-of-living crunch
- the scourge of insecure work
- the crisis in aged care
- unaffordable housing
- lack of affordable and quality childhood education and care.
All of us in the union movement with our friends and supporters can be rightfully proud of what we’ve done to make sure workers voices were heard.
A turning point for workers
The hard work of ensuring the new Albanese Government delivers on its promises to address those issues begins now.
ACTU secretary Sally McManus applauded Anthony Albanese and his team on leading Labor back into government after nine long years of Coalition rule.
“Congratulations to the ALP, who have won this election by standing up for the basic rights of Australian workers,” she said.
“Working people have passed judgement on the refusal of the Morrison Government to take action on real wage cuts, insecure work and rising cost of living which working people have struggled through for years under this Government.”
“Workers have rejected a Government which refused to support a $1 per hour increase for the lowest paid workers in our country, and kept caps in place which denied real wage rises to their own employees,” McManus said.
For nearly a decade, union members have campaigned without government support for better wages and conditions for workers. We’ve fought off the insidious growth of labour hire employment which has entrenched casualised work in far too many sectors of our economy.
Unions have campaigned brilliantly to prevent numerous attempts by the Coalition to reboot their despised Work Choices style legislation and further diminish your rights at work.
Sally McManus was emphatic that workers wouldn’t stand for these continuous attacks on their wellbeing at work.
“This is a rejection of a government which refused to act to protect the interests of working people,” she said.
The Tasmanian litmus test
On the Job spent the last week of the election campaign in Tasmania where workers’ wages on average are the lowest in the nation and rates of casualisation are at their peak.
Tasmania workers are battered and bruised by the lack of focus on their needs, particularly in a state with an ageing population and a health system that battles to meet the needs of its community.
If Anthony Albanese is going to meet the promise of “no one left behind”, then Tasmania will be the litmus test.
Tasmanians are jaded towards politicians and their promises after years of all talk and no walk.
Unions Tasmania secretary Jessica Munday told On the Job that Labor can win back the trust of workers in her state if it matches its rhetoric with action.
It’s incredibly positive for workers in Tasmania to have an Albanese Labor government elected. They campaigned on a platform of lifting wages and improving job security. Tasmanians have some the lowest wages in the country and some of the most insecure jobs.
Unions Tasmania secretary
“To see Anthony Albanese put those issues at the top of his agenda is hugely encouraging,” Munday said.
‘We’ve got some of the most disadvantaged electorates in the country. We have real issues in health and education. We’ve got a cost-of-living crisis like everyone else but most people don’t realise Hobart is the most unaffordable capital city in the country.”
“The election results in Tasmania make it clear to those in progressive politics that you need to work much harder to convince working people that you are listening to their needs and will deliver,” she said.