Opposition to the Cole Commission – 9 April

Following a meeting at Melbourne’s Regent Theatre, hundreds of union delegates marched through central Melbourne to the Treasury Gardens and past government buildings, proclaiming their contempt for the Howard/Abbott campaign of union bashing, and opposition to the same government’s war on Iraq. In the words of Victorian Trades Hall Council secretary Leigh Hubbard, the [Cole] report is an expensive union-bashing exercise and unionists will resist any attempt to reduce workers’ conditions or entitlements.

“John Howard’s war on workers. He’s not only overseas waging a war which is in our view unjustified, he’s waging a war here at home on workers and that’s certainly a message we’ll be trying to get across over the next few weeks and months.”

Banners of Greens and Socialist Alliance in march

The Greens and Socialist Alliance marching in support

The general opinion of Tony Abbott was obviously low:

Banner: Geelong building workers united against Abbot's evil habits

and both he and Howard were repeatedly told in very plain terms where to put the Cole report:

We're angry and we're loud...

Further evidence of the Greens’ support – Senator Kerry Nettle addressing the gathering at the end:

Kerry Nettle addressing the rally

It was not just building workers, but a wide range of unionists had answered the call as well:

ANF and TCFUA banners at closing rally