National Secretary Paddy Crumlin fired up the hundreds of delegates at the WA branch conference this morning, leading into an impassioned defence of unionism by Bill Shorten, Minister of Employment and Workplace Relations, Financial Services and Superannuation.
|[Picture: Bill Shorten addresses MUA WA delegates as Paddy Crumlin listens]|
Opening the morning in a speech leading to the introduction of Minister Shorten, Crumlin made it clear what the challenge is. Speaking of the federal election, Crumlin said: "You got a bunch of cannibals that wwant to take over and revert to the Howard years. This is our time. There’s unfinished business. We got rid of the worst government this country has ever seen, the Howard government which systematically stipped away your rights."
Shorten, addressing an attack leveled by a Liberal leader who questioned Shorten's attendance at the conference, Shorten shot back without hesitation: "There is no place I'd rather be in Australia...I am a trade unionist, I am proud of it." Shorten recounted the many advances the Government has pushed through on behalf of maritime workers, and all Australians. And he thanked the MUA, and the union movement as a whole for making Australia a place where regular people can make a decent living. "It's the men and women in trade unions, when they stand up, they lift the standards of all Australians," he said.