Daily Archives: December 1, 2006

WorkChoices: an analysis of union legal and parliamentary strategies

Union Membership 1911 – 2005.


The graph above shows the rise and fall of union membership in Australia over the past 100 years. Historic milestones have been added. To view the graph in detail click on the image and then click again to enlarge to see the detail.

The recent decline in the union movement is of great concern to unionists.

Soon (in 2007) the LeftPress collective will publish a book that analyses this decline and discusses strategies for renewal.


The QCU website states:

“Take action on November 30 – all around Queensland! Attend a venue from 8:30am onwards to watch the ACTU broadcast from the MCG”

So no march is planned and no speakers apart from the broadcast from the MCG.

In Brisbane, the Rank and File platform may be the only live platform on the day! [This platform was blasted off by the sound system put up by the QCU] I heard from a couple of rank and file people on the weekend that the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) and the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union (LHMU) are marching from Musgrave to South Bank for the broadcast and then marching back after.etu-marches-to-workchoices-rally.jpg

The Qld Council of Unions (QCU) do not appear to be even pretending that they are doing anything anymore.

If the Left were properly organised it could (in alliance with the Communications Electrical & Plumbers Unions (including the ETU), Construction Forestry Mining & Engineering Union & Builders Labourers Federation (Qld), the Qld Teachers Union, the LHMU (Misos) and Australian Manufacturing Workers Union) probably take over the entire day.

It is clear that these unions will be the mainstay of the protest.

Come to the open platform organised by the Rank and File Group.

Legal Strategy: High Court WorkChoices Decision

ALP-led Unions were briefed on the likely outcome of the High Court challenge as early as March, 2005:

The WorkChoices legislation will be passed because after 1 July 2005 the Coalition controls the Senate and challenges to the legislation in the High Court will almost certainly fail.”

—Griffith University industrial lawyer and union advisor, Margaret Lee, at Brisbane Labour History Conference “Unions and Industrial Relations Legislation: the Past and the Future” held at the Terminus Hotel, South Brisbane, on Saturday March 12, 2005.

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