Australian trade unions hold pro-Labor “Change the Rules” rallies


Australian trade unions hold pro-Labor “Change the Rules” rallies

Patrick O’Connor

11 April 2019

Australia’s trade unions staged a series of rallies yesterday as part of their “Change the Rules” campaign to promote the election of a yet another Labor government that will implement the demands of big business.

The largest demonstration was in Melbourne, where tens of thousands of workers rallied, though attendance was notably lower than previous “Change the Rules” events in that city. Smaller rallies were held in fourteen other state capitals and regional centres.

The unions made no attempt to publicise or build the majority of these events, including a protest in Sydney that was only attended by about 100 people. This underscores the fear of the union bureaucracy that it could rapidly lose control of any mass gathering of workers.

Part of the Melbourne rally

The union campaign has sought to divert deeply felt anger within the working class—over social inequality, corporate tax evasion, low wages and insecure working conditions—behind the Labor Party.

Despite the unions’ determined efforts, however, there is no enthusiasm among workers for the election of the Labor Party and its leader Bill Shorten.

Yesterday’s rallies were scheduled to coincide with the beginning of the federal election campaign. Union bureaucrats in Melbourne led chants promoting the Labor Party, including “What do we want? An election. When do we want it? Now.” And, “The Liberal Party thinks we’re fools. Vote them out and change the rules.”

The march from the Trades Hall building to the Victorian state parliament was headed by Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) President Michele O’Neil, state Premier Daniel Andrews and federal Labor parliamentarian Peter…

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