National Secretary Paddy Crumlin wishes all members, staff and officers of the Maritime Union of Australia and their families best wishes and solidarity for the season.
2016 has been one of the most challenging years for maritime workers in Australia, workers nationally, and internationally generally. The attacks on working men and women, trade unionists and other solidarity organisations has continued to grow resulting in continuous abuse, lies and misinformation by some political parties, many corporate organisations and the right-wing media, particularly from the Murdoch press.
As part of these attacks on working men and women, and trade unions in particular, the Turnbull Government drew Australia to the fringe of chaos through the double dissolution process. The catalyst for the double dissolution was legislation to introduce the ABCC and Registered Organisations Bill, designed solely to attack effective Union representation in the maritime, construction and transport industries. This followed the Royal Commission into Trade Unions and other abuses of parliamentary power and authority against trade unions.
However, the electorate rejected the mandate sought in the double dissolution in the clearest of terms, reducing the Turnbull Government's working majority in the lower house from 23 seats to just one, while electing a dysfunctional mix of representatives who are increasingly making Australia ungovernable. The MUA, CFMEU and other progressive unions in particular led a marginal seats campaign organised by the ACTU that saw many Labor candidates elected and brought the ALP to the brink of victory.
The National Council together with our Branches, delegates and members used the election process and afterwards have continued to direct our political and industrial energies and actions to defend our jobs, particularly in shipping, while campaigning for a clear mandate for leadership change within our political communities and institutions.
The end of 2016 provides an opportunity for us to reflect on a job well done to date and renew our determination to see that job completed.
The future of the Australian economy and Australian industry in supporting Australian working men and women - and in particular maritime workers - is clearly in our hands. The overwhelming support to date to form a new union in 2017 that can fight and defend firstly maritime workers but also workers in construction, mining and manufacturing is one of the most progressive commitments of any workforce in the last 25 years.
So again Comrades, in considering the great challenges and threats we have been placed under we should rightly be proud of our determination, unity and willingness to defend our rights in a way that gives us further opportunity to gather the strength and support of our families over the season and New Year in a way that will continue to see us fight from the front for our industrial, political and economic rights and entitlements. At the end of the day, MUA Here to Stay!