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Issue #1592      May 8, 2013

May Day 2013 round-up

Melbourne

The May Day Rally in Melbourne was an enthusiastic and successful affair with a larger number of unions as well as community and migrant groups. There were plenty of banners and flags spread amongst the 4,000 activists that marched. CPA Melbourne Branch organised a successful multicultural event and raffle for the May Day Committee. The branch had a colourful stall in front of Victorian Trades Hall, distributed the national party leaflet and sold a number of Guardians. One speaker talked about the Trans Pacific Partnership free trade agreement and what it would mean for public enterprises like Australia Post, Medibank and the NBN.
Another spoke about conflict in Syria and the US policy where their officials have admitted to planning to overthrow the government of Syria with foreign-sectarian extremists, using funds from Saudi Arabia and elsewhere.
The increasing number of issues concerning the community and the communities’ determination to struggle for change was very evident. (Photo: AMWU)

Adelaide

Numbers were up at May Day events in Adelaide this year. Workers packed the Cyprian Community Hall to hear BLF Green Bans legend Jack Mundey deliver the after dinner speech on Wednesday night. He hammered the need for left unity in the face of the assault of capital and the importance of the environment in our struggles. Saturday's march drew about 500 participants. They were fired up by recently retired SA CFMEU secretary Martin O'Malley. Music was provided by local group Babylon Burning. Jack Mundey addressed the crowd and David Arkins spoke of deadly attacks on the people of West Papua as they rallied recently to protest conditions under the heel of the Indonesian military. The name of the late Rex Munn, May Day Collective and CPA Port Branch stalwart, was added to the Workers Memorial in Port Adelaide on Sunday. Participants in the week’s events then relaxed at the annual BBQ held at the Semaphore Workers’ Club. (Photo: Craig Greer)

Perth

Around 5,000 people took to the streets of Fremantle with a strong trade union presence, especially from “blue collar” unions. Left-wing parties, the ALP and social and community activist groups were also in the march in significant numbers, including the Communist Party of Australia. The CPA proudly displayed its new banner commemorating the contribution of long-time party member, writer and social and women’s activist Joan Williams. Federal Labor Member Melissa Parke addressed the rally which was organised by Unions WA. Parke spoke about the forthcoming elections. Another speaker, a union secretary warned: “We could go from the WorkChoices light under Labor to WorkChoices on steroids or worse still peptides under the Liberals.” (Photo: Richard Titelius)

Brisbane

There was a strong trade union turnout in Brisbane on Sunday, with estimates of between 6,000 and 10,000 participants. The ETU and CFMEU were notable amongst the larger contingents. The CPA had a good contingent. The issues raised included privatisation, the Newman government’s attacks on the trade union movement, its attempts to outlaw payroll deductions for trade union dues, its privatisation plans for schools, hospitals, railways and buses. It was an enthusiastic march, with a great spirit. The key speakers were Labor parliamentarians: Prime Minister Julia Gillard, former PM Kevin Rudd and Treasurer Wayne Swan. The Socialist Alternative organised a protest against the PM which destroyed the feeling of unity and did not go down well with other participants. (Photo: David Matters)

Sydney

The Sydney May March was one of the largest for some years. Unions, left parties, the ALP, community and solidarity organisations and individuals took part, many wearing coloured t-shirts carrying their message. The Communist Party of Australia had a large contingent which stood out with its new banners, red flags and placards. Many issues were raised by the different groups, including trade union rights, equal pay, penalty rates, jobs, the power sell-off, TAFE, nursing ratios, automation and other issues in the maritime industry, hunting in national parks, coal seam gas, the Cuban Five and rights of Asian workers. There was a strong anti-Abbott message.
(Photo: Anna Pha)

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