As tens of thousands of workers around the nation took to the streets to stand up for their rights at work, new national accounts figures proved that the Government must urgently change its direction.
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 today – 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 today included Melbourne, Mildura, Sydney, Newcastle, Broken Hill, Lismore, Adelaide, Canberra, Perth, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Townsville, Mackay, Hobart, Launceston, Darwin and Tennant Creek.
MUA Queensland Deputy Branch Secretary Trevor Munday took to the podium talking about how migrant labour was being used in maritime industries to undercut current wages and conditions.
"We have hundreds of trained-up seafarers ready to work and sitting on dole queues, yet the Government wants to open up seafaring jobs, mainly in the offshore industry, to overseas workers," Munday said.
"At the rate we're being attacked by employers, buoyed by their mates in Canberra, there won't be a single Australian seafarer left."
He thanked all of the other unions present at the march for their support during the 1998 Waterfront dispute and called on them to lend their support in this difficult time.
"It's more important to stand should-to-shoulder as a trade union movement," he said.
"As was exhibited in the recent Queensland election, together we can make change despite seemingly impossible odds."
He also talked about worker's capital and the attack on industry super funds.
"The current Government, cannot wait to get their grubby hands on industry super funds by re-distribution to their mates from the big end of town in the retail sector,” he said.
For all of the photos from around the country, click here.
The National Accounts today show:
· 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.