Bust the Budget Rally and March – 6 July 2014

Child with homemade placard - Save Peppa Pig

An extraordinary diversity of protests and protesters marked this, the third Bust the Budget rally in Melbourne. Asylum Seekers, the ABC, Unions, Climate Change, Medicare, Education … the list goes on. Also pronounced was the anger against Tony Abbott and resentment at his departures from pre-election statements and promises, as the selection below may indicate.Total numbers were hard to gauge – as The Age reports, figures from twelve to twenty thousand were being quoted – but they were at least comparable to the earlier protests, and that in spite of the weather and the timing (in the middle of the school holidays). Some idea of the overall size can be got, however, from the fact that the march up St Kilda Road from the rally location opposite the Arts Centre took just over twenty minutes to pass a single point (continuous video of this stage of the march is in preparation and should be available in the next day or so, by way of confirmation).[Video added 7 July.] Apart from the new starting point, the event took the traditional form: rally with speeches followed by a march through the CBD, ending at Parliament House with more speeches. These divisions are loosely followed in the photos below, but first a few overviews:
At the start –

Also at the start

Part of the rally

Another view

On the March –

Head of march coming up Bourke Street

March arriving at Parliament House

Final rally at Parliament House (the rain that had held off until now prompted a quick unfurling of brollies) –

Looking over head and brollies towards Parliament House

From the rally at Queen Victoria Gardens –

A selection of placards targeting Tony Abbott (some captured during the march)-

The March sets off –

Peppa Pig leads march up St Kilda Road

From the March (rather few, but see forthcoming video for full coverage) –

A few more from the end –

Woman sitting on kerb with dog

Resting at the end

Baby Boomers for Climate Change Action - placard spotted at Parliament House

Spotted at the end

Woman cradling small dog

Another dog getting a deserved rest

Bust the Budget II – 12 June 2014.

Bust the Budget banner leads march

The surge of protest that followed the May budget is far from subsiding, and it seems our plan to retire may be on hold for a while longer – which would no doubt gladden Tony Abbott in the unlikely event of his ever getting to know of it. This time it was the unions that took to the streets in Melbourne – construction workers, teachers, nurses, plumbers, firefighters, ambos, postal workers, public servants, students and individuals – and in numbers hardly less than the general rally in May. (Various media reports – see links below – quote a figure from Trades Hall of twenty thousand.) At both the assembly point outside Trades Hall, and again at the end of the march, outside Parliament House, it was next to impossible to get close enough to hear the speakers, and there will be no attempt here to report what was said (again, see reports linked to below). The photos here should be pretty much self-explanatory and only a few are captioned. Some video is in preparation and will be posted shortly.*

Some media reports that have appeared so far:

The Age

The Herald Sun

Channel Seven news



‘March in March’ – the Melbourne Rally and March, 16 March 2014

Melbourne responded to the callout (see http://marchinmarchaustralia.org/ and the Melbourne march Facebook page) with one of the largest rallies since the 2003 protests against the war in Iraq. Figures varied widely, as usual, but we are rather inclined to the upper end of the claims, or towards 50,000. It was also one of the most varied, and in recognition of this we are posting the largest selection of images so far on this site for one event. There is also a choice of thumbnail/gallery or slideshow, the latter comprising lower resolution copies. It may be in order to post a few separately:

Part of crowd at start of rally

A very small part of the rally at the State Library

Black and red flag

The holder of this flag told us it was 45 years old – dating back to moratorium days

Placard in German - 'These crimes, your blame'

International contribution

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Rally and march against the Napthine Government’s ‘Silencing Act’ – 18 February 2014

The Napthine Government’s Summary Offences and Sentencing Amendment Bill 2013 provoked a vigorous reponse from unionists and others who see it as an attack on their rights to assembly, to express their views in a democratic society – in other words, to protest. The following statement issued by the Human Rights Law Centre sums up the position:

New Victorian move-on powers unreasonably limit free speech and protest rights

30 January 2014

Proposed new ‘move-on’ powers for police in Victoria will unreasonably limit human rights and are susceptible to misuse.

The Human Rights Law Centre’s Executive Director, Hugh de Kretser, said protest rights and free speech are particularly threatened, but the proposed laws may also have an impact on young people and the homeless.

“These laws go too far. Police already have considerable powers when it comes to handling protests and public order issues. They don’t these additional wide reaching and vague powers to move people on. The potential for misuse is very high,” said Mr de Kretser.

The Victorian Parliament’s Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee is currently reviewing the Summary Offences and Sentencing Amendment Bill 2013 which will significantly expand the grounds on which police can order a person to move-on from a public place and will wind back safeguards that limit the use of move on powers in protest situations.

“Police will be able to move someone on if they suspect that the person has committed any offence in a public place in the last 12 hours. There is no requirement for any connection between the offence and a threat to public order or safety. So for example, a protester could be barred from an area if a police officer simply thought that in the last 12 hours they had done something as basic as jaywalked or failed to validate their tram ticket,” said Mr de Kretser.

The Bill also allows police to ask a court to make an order excluding someone who has been subject to multiple ‘move-on’ directions from a particular public place for up to 12 months.

The HRLC is particularly concerned about the potential for the move on powers to be used in protest situations as the Bill winds back existing exceptions for picketing and protesting.

“Police already have a range of powers to arrest, detain and charge people for things like trespass, obstruction, breach of the peace and property damage to name a few. The Government simply hasn’t made the case that these new, broad, sweeping powers are necessary,” said Mr de Kretser.

Under the Bill, a person who breaches a move on order can be arrested and fined over $700. A person who breaches an exclusion order can be imprisoned for up to 2 years.

“Following on from the excessive Queensland G20 legislation, this Bill is another example of governments across the country eroding Australians’ right to free speech. The Bill should not be passed,” said Mr de Kretser.

The Government has acknowledged that the Bill has the potential to restrict the rights to freedom of movement, assembly, expression and association but argues that any restriction is justified under Victoria’s Human Rights Charter. The Committee’s role is to report to the Victorian Parliament on whether the Bill is compatible with human rights.

A copy of the HRLC’s submission can be found here.

A copy of the Bill can be found here.

Reports on the protest give the numbers attending at variously ‘up to 2000’ (The Herald Sun – an account not entirely free of loaded language) and ‘Several thousand’ (Nine Network). The Victorian Trades Hall Council, which organised the event through its We Are Union network, claimed ‘nearly 4000 unionists and community activists’. The footage immediately below shows the march in its entirety passing a single vantage point, which should give a fairly good idea of its size.[Note – the opening caption reads ‘Marching up Bourke Street’. Obviously this should be ‘…down Russell Street’…]

The march was preceded by a rally at Trades Hall, where it was addressed by Brian Boyd, VTHC Secretary, and MUA Secretary Kevin Bracken, and ended at Parliament, where there were further speakers:Father Bob Maguire, Anna Brown (Director of Advocacy and Strategic Litigation, Human Rights Law Centre), Greens MLC Sue Pennicuik, and Paramedic and Union Delegate Morgyn McCarthy. MC was Luke Hilakari, VTHC Campaigns Industrial Officer.

All these speakers were inspiring, but there was as always something special about Father Bob, and for that reason his speech is recorded here in full (camera work a little shaky at the start, but there was a lot of competition for spaces up the front…):

CFMEU Grocon Rally and March, 30 April 2013

Banner at head of march - Safety for Grocon Workers NOW

The march starting off from Trades Hall

In defiance of threats of thousand-dollar fines for taking part, as many as ten thousand construction workers rallied at Trades Hall this morning before marching to the sites of recent fatal accidents involving construction giant Grocon – the collapse of a wall in Swanston Street where three passers-by were crushed to death, and the Myer site in Lonsdale Street where long-time CFMEU member Bill Ramsay fell to his death on February 18th last. The march was self-disciplined and silent, in addition to the observing of a minute’s silence at each of the locations, with only a short burst of chanting at the end, outside the offices of WorkSafe in Exhibition Street. Victorian Trades Hall Council Secretary Brian Boyd addressed the rally briefly at the start, and at the end introduced the Victorian Secretaries of the CFMEU (John Setka), the ETU (Troy Gray), the PTEU (Earl Setches) and the AMWU (Steve Dargavel).

As well as the construction workers the rally was joined by members of a range of other unions, and banners of, amongst others, the MUA, ANF, TCFUA, NTEU, AMWU, ASU, CEPU, CPSU and United Voice can be seen in the photos below. There were also representatives of the IWW, The Socialist Party, and Socialist Alliance, as well as members of the public and university students – two of those killed by the wall collapse were students at Melbourne University.

Some reports of the rally:

The Age
The Newcastle Herald

The Australian

The PTEU website

The CFMEU website

See also http://www.cfmeuvic.com.au/your-union/message-from-the-secretary/the-community-deserves-answers

More background:






Union workplace safety placards

(These shots can also be viewed as a slideshow on YouTube)

“Towers of Power” – OM tours Melbourne CBD, 5 November 2011

Protesters fill the street outside BHP offices in Lonsdale Street

BHP Billiton’s head office in Melbourne was one of the stops on a ‘sight-seeing’ tour of Melbourne organised by Occupy Melbourne under the title “Towers of Power of the Corporate 1%”. Starting at the City Square, site of a violent eviction by police on Friday 21 October, the tour took in buildings that had been the subject of union ‘Green bans’ – not forgetting the Regent Theatre itself, which borders the Square – starting with 333 Collins Street and the ANZ bank building on the corner of Collins and Queen Streets – as well as BHP and the offices of Australia Post (currently imposing new work practices – see http://waverley-leader.whereilive.com.au/news/story/australia-post-dispute-set-to-escalate-in-mt-waverley/. The tour ended back at the City Square in time for the 14th General Assembly
Tour guide throughout was long-time unionist Dave Kerin, and Victoria Police provided a generous escort.

Poster advertising the tour

See also:
How Public is Melbourne’s City Square?
Rescuing the Regent Theatre – Louise Blake
bhpbilliton – undermining the future
Photos from the tour and start of 14th General Assembly:

ASU Equal Pay rally and march – 8 June 2011

Demand Equal Pay in 2011 - banner on wall of Trades Hall
8 June was a National Day of Action, with rallies across Australia demanding pay equity for workers in the community and health sector. The rally in Melbourne was held in wet and wintry conditions, but as one speaker said, these did not dampen workers’ resolve to pursue the pay increases that Fair Work Australia had just announced they were entitled to. Several thousand gathered outside Trades Hall to hear speakers before marching through the CBD to Parliament House to make their voices heard there.
Video of the three stages can be seen on YouTube, including the speech delivered at Trades Hall by veteran campaigner Zelda D’Aprano, who way back in 1969 chained herself to government buildings to reinforce just the same demands for equality which have still not been met.

Other speakers at Trades Hall were Brian Parkinson, Branch Secretary of the ASU, Vikkie Robinson, a Community Services student at Victoria University and Student Member of the ASU, Linda White from the ASU National Office, who presented a number of member who had submitted witness statements to the Tribunal in the recent wage case, as did Mary Bluett of the AEU and Lloyd Williams of HACSU, and finally ASU member Pia Cerveri. (See video below.)


At Parliament House there were more speakers, including Cath Smith and Micaela Cronin, CEO and President respectively of the Victorian Council of Social Services, who presented a statement of support on behalf of VCOSS, ASU delegate Cecilia Judge, and finally Lisa Darmanin, ASU Assistant Secretary (whose speech comes at the end of footage of the march in the video below).


MC for the rally was ASU Lead Organiser Wil Stracke (not Strache as unfortunately misspelled in the video caption).
See coverage in The Age and ABC online, as well as the campaign website.
The VCOSS statement reads as follows:

The Presidents and Treasurers of the Victorian community sector stand alongside the ASU in support of equal pay for community sector workers.

The Presidents and Treasurers of community sector organisations are volunteers of all ages who come from across the community – we are CEO’s, accountants, bureaucrats, business owners, service users. While we are volunteers our employees are not! They should be paid fairly and equitably for the work that they do. Fair Work Australia has recognised that they currently are not.

It is time for Government to stand up for the workers and the organisations that support the most vulnerable in our community. The community sector deliver services on behalf of all levels of Government – it is now time for them to step up and fund us for the actual cost of our services!

So far we’ve heard all the right noises from politicians. In Victoria, Community Services Minister, Mary Wooldridge, committed to funding the outcomes of the case in an interview with VCOSS in the lead up to last year’s election. Likewise, Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services, Bill Shorten, committed the Government to funding the outcomes of the pay equity case in an episode of the ABC’s Q&A earlier this year.

It’s time for all politicians to put their money on the table. Community sector workers have waited long enough to be properly valued for their work. We have an opportunity to finally do so. It is an opportunity our nation cannot afford to miss.