There’s a saying “If you don’t fight, you lose“. It’s a very meaningful saying because it’s not a matter of whether you win or you lose. It’s a matter of whether your fight or not. And as long as we continue to fight and educate the next generation and we rebuild the trade union movement in this country. Then we’ll continue to fight and we’ll continue to win comrades. So Happy Labor Day. We are very proud to accept the trophy for best contingent. – Peter Ong Secretary of the Electrical Trades Union Qld as he received the trophy for the best contingent in 2021.
Reports from May Day
This is the first May Day since 1978 where there has been no Red Contingent. People marched in their union contingents and no socialist or community groups were allowed to march as contingents. Usually I would carry the “Workers of all countries Unite” banner. But not this year.
ALP Trade Union officials and Labor parliamentarians adopt different voices for each audience they address. Labour Day at the Exhibition grounds on 3 May 2021 was no different. ACTU President Michelle O’Neill, ALP leader of the opposition Anthony Albanese, Deputy Premier Steven Miles and ETU State Secretary Peter Ong all put on their best for a smaller crowd than usual. Michelle O’Neill coming from the Footwear Clothing and Textile union was the strongest speaker. Michelle had been part of the Workers First movement in Victoria in the 1990s along with Craig Johnston (AMWU) who was jailed for his trouble and Martin Kingham (CFMEU) who was not.
Steven Miles was brought on to warm up the crowd for ‘Albo’ but made an indelicate slip of the tongue when he called Scott Morison ‘a cunt’. He went red in the face and the crowd laughed. He meant to say “Scott Morrison is ah constantly … blah blah blah” but it came out different. He then made another blunder asking for Albanese to be elected Premier. I’m pretty sure Annastacia would have something to say about that. Well Peter Ong was just vintage ‘Ongy’, even a little disrespectful of the leadership.
Albanese offered the crowd secure jobs and better pay, holding out an olive branch to women for equal pay and tough laws against harassment in the workplace. He promised to get rid of the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC). He asked for our help to win the election. But he didn’t call for and independent and peaceful Australia, he didn’t call for Assange to be released, he didn’t make a call for an end to mandatory detention of refugees, he didn’t say black lives matter.
Albanese listened to the Welcome to Country by Uncle Bob Anderson (former BWIU organiser) and made the curious claim that Bob had been a member of the ALP for 71 years. This is unlikely because Bob Anderson used to be a member of the Communist Party of Australia and the Labor Party did not permit you to have membership of both organizations. Steven Miles made the same claims as Albanese. So very little interest shown in Labour history by both.
May Day in Brisbane 2021. In these extraordinary times with workers around the globe facing the horrors of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was incredible to be able to share the celebration of workers struggle today on the streets of Brisbane with thousands of unionists celebrating their victories, and calling for more!
I was glad to be able to express international solidarity through the Australia-Cuba Friendship Society contingent calling for the end to the illegitimate US blockade of Cuba. It was great to also be with comrades in the National Tertiary Education Union and also the retired unionists network ‘Vintage Reds’.
As always it was wonderful to see the many and varied ways in which working people express themselves with banners, tee shirts and placards.
The rise in insecure employment and growing inequality needs even more commitment to our unions, the collective voice of working people.
Lachlan Hurse, President Australia-Cuba Friendship Society Brisbane.
4 May 2021
The Red Contingent 1978- 2021
‘Colombianos en Brisbane’ Contingent from the United Workers Union 2021
Short History of May Day
Transcript of interview with Tatiana
Ian: Hola Companera, can you please introduce yourself?
Tatiana: Yes. Hi, everyone. My name is Tatiana Velez. And I’m originally from Colombia now living in Australia,
Ian: You marched today on the annual May Day celebrations with the United (Workers) union. And why have you formed this contingent?
Tatiana: So basically, every year, we have a labor march or pretty much like a protest. Nowadays in Colombia, our government, pretty much our president, wants to introduce a new tax reform bill, these one, he will increase the tax, usually here in Australia it is 10%, GST in Colombia is 15%.
Now he wants to increase from 15% to 19%. And in (both) basic and essential goods, but not only that, he wants to increase the tax on transportation and gas (like, petrol). And he wants to also include, he wants to do this bill to modify the education and health system. These will affect the lower class and middle class people … like the 50% of the people in Colombia, he says that Colombia doesn’t have enough money to repay all the bills and all the debts.
This is a lie, because the GST will be around $US50 – $US25 billions. And that money pretty much goes to corruption. So unfortunately, Columbia nowadays is run by a very corrupt government. So here in Australia, we are united to actually say something to the people who are dealing in Colombia. Lately, where we are having a strike in the mayor cities, the police are actually have given the green light to kill people.