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Should Meatworkers Vote Labor?
Meatworkers helped to elect the current Labor Government. One of the major reasons they did so was to rid the workplace of the Howard Government’s evil WorkChoices legislation which violated every principle of fairness, and was designed to ultimately destroy the Trade Union Movement.
Although the Labor Government has not destroyed WorkChoices, the Fair Work Australia legislation has taken away many of the worst excesses of WorkChoices. Workers now have a better chance to organise and defend their living standards through the return to collective bargaining.
In a second term a Labor Government needs to make further changes. Right of entry needs to be extended, and the right to strike established.
The ABCC, which is a police force especially set up by the Howard Government to attack building workers, needs to be abolished by a second term Gillard Government.
But the present Act remains a considerable improvement on the Coalition plans. Regardless of what Abbott says about “destroying, burying and cremating” WorkChoices, the truth is he cannot be believed. Victorian meatworks employers certainly don’t believe him. Many who had agreed to negotiate 3 year agreements now tell us they only want a 1 year agreement. They believe that if Abbott is elected, within 12 months he’ll have WorkChoices back.
There are numerous reasons why meatworkers should not vote for a Liberal/National Party Coalition.
Abbott, more than Howard, has had a lifelong ambition to destroy the organised Trade Union Movement. If he is elected Prime Minister he will not be able to resist fulfilling this ambition. The current legislation and regulations that Shadow Minister Abetz says could do with a little “tweaking”, allows a Prime Minister with Abbott’s master and servant mentality plenty of scope. His and his Party’s philosophy is of low wages enforced by legislation which promotes individual agreements and makes collective bargaining and Union organisation very difficult, if not impossible, to achieve.
What is the current Government’s Record?
The Labor Government acted decisively in response to the global financial problems. Hundreds of thousands of people were kept in work. The Coalition opposed all their stimulus measures which protected those jobs. Some of these measures included investing heavily in roads, railways, ports and the national broadband, all of which should enable further job opportunities for many years to come.
The current Australian unemployment rate is about half that of the United States and Europe.
This Government has also almost doubled the amount spent on education over that spent by Howard in his last few years. Abbott has announced that he will slash this funding, including abolishing Labor’s trade training centres. He will also halve the funding to health and hospital services that was announced recently by Minister Roxon. This includes the axing of the GP Super Clinics.
A Labor Government will increase the superannuation guarantee in instalments from the current 9% to 12%. This is also opposed by Abbott. As far as he is concerned it is only the wealthy who should have security in retirement.
The Liberal National Coalition has no plans for the future that in any way benefit any Australian workers. The Labor Party often falls short of what many of us would like it to do. But in areas such as attempting to make society fairer, through workplace relations, creating jobs, delivering education and skills training, delivery of a fairer and better health system and dealing with climate change, the ALP remains the Party that Australian workers should support.