Australian unions put work rights at the heart of General Election campaign
The last Australian General Election in 2007 saw the trade union movement play a key role in Kevin Rudd’s victory. And there’s plenty of polling evidence to suggest that it really ‘woz the ACTU wot won it’. There’s now less than a month to go till the 21 August General Election, and the ACTU is again putting workers’ rights back at the heart of the election campaign, warning that a Coalition victory would turn back the clock on workers’ rights. There are almost daily reports on the ACTU website, and great personal story videos from Leigh, Saima, Louise and Emily.
In the 2007 election, the trade unions ran the “Your Rights at Work” campaign against the previous Government’s mis-named Work Choices legislation, and by mobilising ordinary workers and focusing on personal stories about worse working conditions like lower pay, unfair dismissal and loss of leave entitlement, they swung key marginal constituencies Labor. Reformed employment law followed – and although it didn’t provide everything unions wanted, it clearly reversed the worst of the Howard Government’s assault. Now, with Labor’s new leader Julia Gillard 7% ahead in the polls over the Coalition, after a Labor poll slump which led to Kevin Rudd’s ousting as PM, the unions could be the key to keeping Australia Labor.