(See also a report and pictures by Takver on Melbourne Indymedia, available here)
Much to the sanctimonious disgust of some politicians such as federal Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews (The Age 11 Nov), and Victorian opposition leader Doyle, Trades Hall called a stop work on Remembrance Day to join with members of the community in registering opposition to the Federal Government’s attacks on Medicare, higher education and workers’ rights:
The latest Federal Budget contains measures that threaten Australia’s universal health care system, Medicare.
The Government’s proposed higher education package will price people out of Uni. At the same time unions are under attack. Despite spending $70 million on a Royal Commission that failed to discredit the building unions, the Government plans to legislate to prevent the unions representing members.
The Government’s assault on the building unions will be extended to other industries and represents a fundamental attack on the rights of all workers.
The Government was re-elected on November 10, 2001 after telling lies about refugees and spreading fear in our communities. Don’t let this Government continue to destroy our communities.
Don’t let Medicare and access to higher education slip away without a fight.
Don’t give up your democratic right to belong to a trade union and to join with other workers to defend the principles of a decent society for your family and future generations.
Under the Howard Government bulk billing rates have fallen from 80.6% in 1996 to 68.5 per cent currently. The figures are even worse in rural areas.
Under the Howard Government’s higher education ‘Reforms’ HECS fees will increase by 30%. Students will be left with debts of up to $150,000 at the end of their studies.
(Trades Hall flyer)
Thousand of unionists and community members answered the call, marching from Trades Hall down Russell, Lonsdale and Swanston Streets to Federation Square behind twin banners proclaiming the messages of the rally …
… arriving in good time to observe the traditional silence while the bugle played at the Shrine: