Saturday, 30 April 2016
Back Where it Belongs
Today I marched with my union for the first time in thirty years.
The reason for this was the reinstatement in Queensland of the May day celebration back where it belongs.
This victory over political spite (which was the only reason for shifting it) was worth celebrating.
There was a great rollup, and it was good to reconnect with people I had worked with over the years in a variety of schools and situations. Songs were sung, speeches made, and a good time was had by all.
We were reminded of the origins of the Labor movement in the 1891 shearers' strike. The harsh suppression of this strike (including the use of the military) was largely responsible for the formation of the Australian Labor Party.
In order to do a bit of stirring, I wore my unit reunion shirt to the parade. Large numbers of ex-military are anti-union, so I thought that it might be instructive to remind them that the right to organise was one of the values that Australians had always fought for.
Scattered amongst the crowd were ex-public servants sacked in Newman's purge in 2012. It was interesting listening to them explain how that action had motivated many to become very politically active.
The surprise defeat of his government was in no small measure an outcome of his broken promise about public service redundancies. People (and their families) don't forget these things.
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