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Issue #1738      July 6, 2016

Might of united trade union movement

When Labor leader Bill Shorten gave his speech on election night, he thanked the trade union movement. He had good reason to do so. The trade union movement mobilised its forces to throw the Coalition out.

Although the final result of Saturday’s election is yet to be declared, it is clear that the union movement’s campaign in this election had a massive impact.

We campaigned on our agenda and the things we believe in, and in the 22 seats where we had community based local campaigns the average swing away from the government was 5.5%. That’s 1.8% higher than the national average.

This is how the unions made a difference:

  • 16,253 people were involved in the campaign
  • They had conversations with 46,102 union members who were swinging voters and convinced 33,191 to put the Liberals last.
  • Thousands of doors were knocked.
  • Thousands handed out one million replica Medicare cards in the last 48 hours.

Over the last 12 months local union members built campaigns in their communities. Week in, week out they ran street stalls, were at local markets and at train stations talking about the things unions believe in.

This stunning result is because they all worked together. Every person who made a call, knocked on a door, handed out a flyer, had a conversation and campaigned on social media can feel proud of what was achieved.

The second thing that is absolutely clear is that the Liberals’ failure to offer a substantive industrial relations policy leaves them with absolutely no mandate for significant changes or indeed any policy that seeks to undermine workers’ rights, pay or job security should they manage to achieve re-election.

And finally, the Australian people have rejected funding billionaires over Medicare, schools and hospitals. The Australia we want is very different to the Liberals’ vision.

“We are the mighty trade union movement of Australia. No one attacks our rights and living standards that we have built without an almighty fight,” Ged and Dave from Australian Unions Team said.

Next article – Statement: Starving Medicare to death

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