Tens of Thousands Rally as Economy Takes Another Hit Under Abbott

As tens of thousands of workers around the nation took to the streets last week to stand up for their rights at work, new national accounts figures proved that the Government must urgently change its direction.

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ACTU Secretary Dave Oliver said the Abbott Government’s destructive agenda of savage cuts must be abandoned in favour of support for incomes, wages growth and investment in jobs and skills.

“The national accounts show our economy is weak which is putting Australians out of work,” Mr Oliver said. 

“Tens of thousands of workers sent the Liberal Government a clear message – stop with the cuts and start investing more, promoting growth and creating jobs,” Mr Oliver said. 

“Australians do not want a Government that cuts wages, cuts penalty rates and slashes health and education. 

“We will not stand by while Abbott and Hockey send jobs offshore and destroy the rights and protections the union movement and working Australians have built up over generations.” 

Rallies included Melbourne, Mildura, Sydney, Newcastle, Broken Hill, Lismore Adelaide, Canberra, Perth, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Townsville, Mackay, Hobart, Launceston, Darwin and Tennant Creek.

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MUA Northern Territory Branch Secretary Thomas Mayor took to the podium at Darwin in calling for an immediate Territory Election. 

"We have a draft priority skills list that, with deckhands and divers, claims that there is a shortage of nurses, teachers, and a list that is five pages long full of occupations that are not genuinely in shortage," Mayor said.

"Do not be fooled, the skills shortage is a myth and even if it weren't, our youth and our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are willing to work. So train them to fill this imagined gap."

For all of the pictures from around the country, click here.

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Recent national accounts showed: 

· The Australian economy (real GDP) grew by just 2.5% in 2014, & only 0.5% in the December quarter (seasonally adjusted). 

· Labour productivity growth was solid in 2014, with GDP per hour worked rising by 1.6%. Labour productivity has grown by an average of 1.5% per year during the Fair Work period, compared to 1.1% a year during Work Choices. 

· The terms of trade continue to plummet, falling by 10.8% over the year.

· Real net national disposable income per capita, fell by 0.9% over the year.