The MUA Sydney Branch rallied outside the live recording of the ABC’s QandA program on December 11, targeting special guest Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
The rally came at a time with the Turnbull Government under significant pressure due to the Bennelong by-election, royal commission into the banks and ongoing citizenship dramas.
The night kicked off with rank-and-file member Zachary Wone speaking about the discriminatory Community Development Program (CDP) implemented by the Turnbull Government.
“It’s slavery. You can see Aboriginal workers in remote communities are being targeted because the mob out there are far away from political power. It’s out of sight and out of mind for so many,” Wone said.
Sydney Deputy Branch Secretary Paul Keating highlighted the atrocities the Turnbull Government has committed against maritime workers.
“Turnbull has thrown out seafarers from their lawful place of work,” Keating said.
“Turnbull with his mates at the big end of town, have disregarded the law – they have brought in police and security guards, throwing out our seafarers.”
MUA rank-and-file member and Acting Assistant Branch Secretary Dan Crumlin spoke about the tax cuts merchant banker Turnbull has afforded the rich, creating the highest level of inequality this country has seen in the last 70 years.
“When companies like Adani, Chevron and all those rotten multi-nationals can come in here and exploit our resources without paying taxes the whole system needs to change,” Crumlin said.
“I look forward to day we throw Malcolm on the scrap heap, like he is trying to do to us.”
MUA Activist Ryan McGibbon-Thompson bravely spoke about the personal toll unemployment has had on the seafaring community.
“I saw my comrades with mortgages and families go through divorces, experience depression, suffer from alcohol abuse and lose their homes,” he said.
CFMEU Construction & General State President Rita Mallia told the crowd about the assault on construction workers with the introduction of the ABCC, as well as cuts to TAFE and the 70 per cent casualisation rate of university staff under the Abbott-Turnbull regime, demonstrating the precarious position of workers in the general community.
Sydney Branch Secretary Paul McAleer ended the rally by leading the crowd in chants of defiance and highlighting the need to change the rules for working people.
“Workers in this country have never experienced the insecurity that we are now experiencing. There is no democracy in this country if you can’t go on strike, if you can’t withdraw your labour,” McAleer said.
The success of the rally was made possible by the dedication and passion of rank-and-file members who came out in force to support our seafarers and to give Turnbull hell.