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Published: 26 Apr 2023
MARITIME UNION OF AUSTRALIA
MUA NATIONAL INDIGENOUS OFFICER
DEPUTY BRANCH SECRETARY, VICTORIA
Thomas Mayo to address MUA Victorian Branch members about Voice to Parliament
26 APRIL 2023
Maritime workers in Melbourne will hear the Union’s National Indigenous Officer, Thomas Mayo, speak at their monthly meeting about the Union’s long-term support for justice, equality and representation for Australia’s First Peoples.
Thomas Mayo is an MUA officer, wharfie, and an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leader who for many years has played a significant, national leadership role in the constitutional recognition campaign.
He is a signatory to the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the author of the bestselling book, 'Finding the Heart of the Nation', which shares the long history of our Union's solidarity with indigenous peoples, with the authorship royalties being returned to the Union and the campaign for constitutional recognition.
Thomas’s presentation to the Union’s members will be an opportunity for maritime workers in Victoria to hear from one of their own about the ways a Voice to Parliament will aligns with their collective Union values.
To break down barriers between different groups of people, MUA Indigenous Officer and signatory to the Uluru Statement, Thomas Mayo, often explains the principle of the Voice through the language of trade unionism. “In order to make an agreement, first you need a voice. Workers shouldn’t sign an agreement with an employer without being consulted, but for consultation first you need a structure and a mechanism for people to be properly and legitimately heard. That’s the Voice to Parliament,” he said.
To build support and consensus within the Maritime Union’s rank and file, Mr Mayo has been travelling to worksites and branches around the country to address the membership at meetings on the aims and principles of the Voice, as well as answer any questions they have.
“Like all of the major social justice reforms throughout history, the MUA rank and file is supporting the Voice campaign because as unionists we approach these questions from that position of solidarity and camaraderie which underpins everything we do,” Mr Mayo said.
“The Maritime Union of Australia has a long and proud history of working alongside and in solidarity with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to advance their interests, pursue equality and fight to reverse the injustices of colonisation. The obvious and logical next step is to support the grassroots, nationwide campaign by Australian First Nations people to deliver Constitutional recognition and deliver a Voice to Parliament that can advise the government of the day on legislative matters that affect them,” said the Victorian Branch of the MUA’s Deputy Branch Secretary, David Ball.