The Guardian 16 November, 2005
"Fight until we win!"
"We are going to fight until we win. We will fight for as long and as hard as it takes to overturn these laws", Greg Combet ACTU Secretary declared as hundreds of thousands of people around the country took part in the largest trade union meeting ever seen in Australia. His Sydney audience responded with deafening cheers. Industrial workers, office workers, community workers, teachers, students, families, and many others rallied at over 200 venues around Australia on November 15.
They watched on large screens the speakers and entertainers in Melbourne at one of the Victorian capital’s rallies in a national hook-up. They wore union t-shirts, carried union flags, balloons, placards — all sending the Howard Government and his employer backers a clear message: the legislation must go, and the Howard Government with it.
Greg Combet warned that Howard intends to leave workers with just five minimum conditions and an army of unemployed.
"Unions always believed in fairness and justice, in prosperity for the many, not just the few, in having a say at work. We believe these are democratic rights worth fighting for and fight we will", declared Mr Combet.
He said, "We’ll build our strength in the workplace. The laws do not take away our commitment to each other. If you are not in a union join and ask others to do the same."
"We must invite Australians to join a movement for change, not just a movement to achieve rights at work but a movement for justice in our society, for democratic rights.
"We must build a coalition of people and organisations committed to that change, committed to a better future for democratic rights, for justice in our society."
Mr Combet called on everyone to be part of that movement, part of that campaign.
"We will deliver justice for working people.
"If we have the courage to stand up for our values, reach out to people and ask them to join us, if we provide the leadership for people, if we fight for our cause, we will win", concluded Mr Combet to resounding cheers.
Echoing the same sentiments, CPA General Secretary Peter Symon, speaking to The Guardian during the rally in Martin Place in Sydney said, "The Communist Party is committed to help build the trade union movement and to building a coalition of people and organisations".
"The CPA is committed to building the broadest movement possible to not only defeat the industrial relations and other attacks on our democratic rights, but to see the Howard Government replaced by a people’s government that defends democratic rights in society and in the workplace and puts the interests of working people first." Mr Symon also called on those not in trade unions to join their trade union and to consider joining the CPA.
CPA members distributed thousands of the wrap-arounds from last week’s issue of The Guardian at some of the meetings. They were very well received by the trade unionists present.