Tomorrow on 10 April, many Australians will be joining in the nationwide marches, led by the Australian Council of trade Unions (ACTU).
Employer organisations are not happy about it. Nor is the Scott Morrison government. The Murdoch media empire has been sounding alarm. Since this lot are the target, this is hardly surprising.
All fair minded people should support these marches.
The Change the Rules Campaign doesn’t come out of nowhere. It’s a response of the union leadership to the call for action by their members, who, in terms of rights and reward for work, have found themselves going backwards for a long time.
Australia has become much less equal and more unfair, while a very few at the top do well at everyone else’s expense. Wages have stagnated, the cost of housing has become a nightmare, government services are degenerating, individual freedoms and the press are being muzzled. The rights to union organisation and to be represented on the job are being squeezed. Real full-time jobs are disappearing, with the rise of the casualisation of work.
The position of the First Australians is going backward in many respects.
Far too little is being done to reduce carbon emissions, while the government panders the fossil fuel companies. School students have marched in big numbers twice so far, and they haven’t been listened to.
Unemployed people and pensioners of all types are treated with contempt, treated harshly and pushed further and further into poverty.
Even worse is promised for the future on all fronts.
There is growing contempt for the political establishment, the activities of the banks exposed in the Royal Commission continue, just as the corporate tax evaders continue business as usual.
This reaction is natural. It is also just. What is happening is wrong and growing numbers Australians want no more of it.
Focusing on getting rid of the Scott Morrison government is appropriate, for this is the immediate barrier to improvement. The election is almost on us, and it is necessary to take the best advantage of it.
Matters should not stop here. The reality is that a change of government will mean Labor coming in. Many have a great deal of hope invested in this. If we have learned the lesson of history, we should know that it is not enough to hope. Australia must ensure that a change does come about.
The movement to Change the Rules should not be an appendage to a political party, and this is why it reaches out to link to the Greens, the crossbench, and even those in the Coalition who don’t like what is going on.
The Change the Rules campaign should continue after election day, whether there is a change of government or not.
A new industrial relations system must be won and Australia made a more equal and fairer place for all.
Pressure must be kept up under a Labor government, should there be one, to make sure that it does the right thing, and to ensure that the employer organisations, Coalition parties and Rupert Murdoch’s empire don’t succeed in the counter offensive that they will mount.