I would like to take this opportunity to wish all members, staff, organisers, officials and your wonderfully supportive families best wishes, thanks and solidarity for the season.
We have been presented with great challenges this year and came through with unity, comradeship, discipline and an overriding belief in our union and objectives.
We lost some stalwarts of the MUA this year, including former officials Taffy Sweetensen, John Benson and Jim Steele, as well as long-standing members Charlie Weldon, Lockie O’Hara, Bill Wilkinson, John Furlow and Brendan Ingleson.
We also had resounding support from members moving the union forward towards the amalgamation of the MUA/CFMEU/TCFUA.
The formal declaration of results, issued by the AEC, is as follows for the MUA:
- 11,760 ballot papers issued to eligible MUA members
- 5,602 ballot papers returned and eligible for count
- 4,811 votes returned in favour of amalgamation
This equates to 49.08% of MUA members participating in the ballot and 86% of participants voting YES to the amalgamation of our three great Unions.
Members of the TCFUA voted as follows:
- 2,757 ballot papers issued to eligible TCFUA members
- 1,788 ballot papers returned and eligible for count
- 1,656 votes returned in favour of amalgamation, equating to 93% of TCFUA participants voting YES to the amalgamation.
This is an exceptional result and it is with great pride and appreciation that we acknowledge and thank our rank and file members for their participation in the collective decision-making of our Union.
The overwhelming endorsement and the level of participation, stronger than any of our Quadrennial Elections over the last 10 years, reflects a membership that understands the issues.
You have voted for the Amalgamation as a defence and development of the rights and protections of maritime workers in particular, and miners, construction, forestry and textile workers more generally.
You have sent a strong message rejecting the massive media and political campaign by the Federal government and other neoliberal and anti-trade union interests.
This was a ballot on the preservation of our strong and historic maritime union and the progressive politics and policies that underpin our activities and direction.
The CFMEU leadership, together with that of the TCFUA, have extended their congratulations, support and solidarity to all of you on this historic vote.
On the domestic political front, the Turnbull Government withdrew its anti-union superannuation bills from consideration by the Senate on 4 December.
This was an acknowledgment that they had no chance of passage in the Senate this year but they will be back in 2018 for another go.
Late in the year, the government opened a new front on its attack on unions by including in the Banking Royal Commission an attack industry superannuation.
The ACTU has met with affiliates and is preparing a coordinated approach to support unions and superannuation fund trustee directors who may be called to give evidence and defend a system that has outperformed retail super over many years.
2018 will present even greater challenges and a sharper attack on our labour values, organization and rights - both nationally from the federal government and internationally from neo-liberal campaigning.
But with inequality at a 70-year high, corporate profits skyrocketing and wages flatlining, we have plenty to work with. We move forward as united, stronger industrial, political and social force.
The MUA will be supporting the ACTU’s Change the Rules Campaign, which includes the right to strike, abolishing the ABCC, proper industry bargaining and full right of entry.
The new union, the consolidation of a clearer working-class agenda and a constant determination to find a united voice and action to meet those challenges will feature as fundamental supports to working men and women everywhere.
Peace and international solidarity continue to lie at the heart of our union commitment and belief.
Thank you and best wishes on behalf of all that constitute our wonderful union.
Sincerely and in unity.