The MUA, along with the CFMEU and TCFUA chose Brisbane as its launching pad for its anti-Turnbull, anti-Government election campaign.
The location of Brisbane for the Thursday launch was strategic, with political commentators identifying Queensland as the jewel of the crown this election.
The next day on Friday the launch travelled to Sydney where MUA National Secretary Paddy Crumlin spoke about the divisive nature of the Abbott – Turnbull regime.
“Their Australia is very different. They pit men against women, old against the young, rich against the poor. Their Australia is about controlling all of the resources,” Crumlin said.
MUA Assistant National Secretary Ian Bray spoke of the union’s ‘air’ campaign, which includes TV and radio commercials being shown in the selected marginal seats, as well as a strong social media presence. More details can be found here (http://protectaussiejobs.org.au/)
“We have a real sense of determination to see Turnbull gone.
“We are putting sacked seafarers into the communities so people can hear how they have been forcibly removed from their place of work, all because big business wants to exploit foreign labor on our coast” says Bray.
CFMEU National Secretary Michael O’Connor who was also present at the launch, said that the unions are standing up against the Liberal Government to protect the Australian community at large.
“The first thing they did was destroy jobs, and then they produced a budget where they attacked everybody,” O’Connor said.
“The sick, the old, the young, the workers.
“You named them and they attacked them. Early on we said that we will fight them at every turn. We are going to fight.”
Bray said the attacks on maritime workers in the past year were unprecedented and had included workers sacked by text and seafarers being dragged from their workplaces and vessels by private security and State police. In each of these actions the Liberal Government was complicit, or encouraging in some way.
“This isn’t a Government about fairness and transparency,” Bray said.
“This is a Government about tilting it to the boss. It’s all titled one way, and it’s not in our direction. We have to change it and we have to shift a dirty, rotten, stinking, unfair Government and we have to put it in with something where we can have some balance.”
ACTU President Ged Kearney encouraged rank-and-file members to be active and political around the upcoming election on July 2.
“Do not be scared to talk politics with your mates at work, in the pub, down the streets,” Kearney said.
“Don’t be afraid to say we have to kick this mob out.
“Just bring it up, just say it.”
Labor Senator for NSW Doug Cameron unequivocally showed his support for the ‘Protect Aussie Jobs’ campaign.
“It’s not xenophobic to say that Australians should have decent wages and conditions, and decent jobs and shouldn’t be replaced by workers earning a few bucks a days because it suits Alcoa and any other major employer in this country,” Cameron said.
Highlighting the stark difference between the Coalition Government and Labor, Senator Cameron passionately defended penalty rates.
“When I was a fitter at a power station at the Hunter Valley, it was the penalty rates that put food on our tables, that paid my mortgage that gave me an opportunity to take my kids a week every year on holidays,” he said.
“That’s what penalty rates did for me.
“So I understand the importance of penalty rates.”
Meanwhile, the launches were used as a platform to showcase the humanitarian spirit of the trade union movement. CFMEU Construction and General National Secretary Dave Noonan robustly dispelled Immigration Minister Peter Dutton’s offensive remarks about refugees being illiterate.
“What did we see yesterday when that disgraceful human being came out against all the people that came to Australia to build themselves and their families a better future? What did Turnbull do? He backed Dutton up” Noonan said.
The campaign is travelling across the country visiting Cessnock, Adelaide, Townsville, Perth, Melbourne and Canberra.