Celebrating the dropping of charges against Noel Washington and voicing their demands for the abolition of the Australian Building and Construction Commission, thousands of unionists and supporters rallied yesterday outside the ABCC headquarters in St Kilda Road, Melbourne. Before the dropping of charges the plan had been to march on the court, and if the turnout at this victory rally is anything to go by, that would have been a mighty show of workers’ anger. As it was, a crowd of somewhere around 5000 heard speakers including Jeff Lawrence, Secretary of the ACTU, Brian Boyd, Secretary of the VTHC, Dave Noonan, National Secretary of the CFMEU Construction Division, Marcus Clayton, defence lawyer from Slater & Gordon, Dean Mighell, Victorian Secretary of the CEPU-ETU, Garry Robb, Secretary of the Metals Division of the AMWU, Kevin Bracken, Victorian Secretary of the MUA, Father Bob McGuire, Ann Taylor, Vice-president of the AEU, and Michele O’Neil, Secretary of the TCFUA, Martin Kingham of the CFMEU, and last but certainly not least, Noel Washington himself. All were united in calling on the Rudd government to honour its election promises and scrap the Commission and its discriminatory laws.
There were reports of the rally in the mainstream media:
and on the Trades Hall website: