The following is the text of a Spirit of Eureka leaflet for the Change the Rules rallies being held around the country in the lead up to the 2019 Federal Election.
MORE THAN VOTING IS NEEDED TO CHANGE THE RULES
Workers mobilised and united CAN change the rules!
Great changes in the lives of working people have never been won at the ballot box. The 8-hour day was won in 1856 when stone masons downed tools and walked off the job. It was a million striking workers and ordinary people that defeated the anti-union Penal Powers in 1969. When Tramways union leader Clarrie O’Shea was jailed for refusing to pay fines against the union, workers went on strike around the country demanding his release. A week later he was free and the laws were never used again. And just last month, workers at Chemist Warehouse won significant pay increases and improved conditions after two weeks standing strong and united on the picket line. The history of Australian workers is full of these lessons and inspirational examples.
It is when we are mobilised and united in struggle fighting for our own working class interests, not the interests of parliamentary parties, that we can really force change. The real strength of workers and unions doesn’t lie in parliament, lobbying politicians, or in the courts. Every condition workers ever achieved has been won through militant and defiant struggle in the workplace, in the streets, and in our communities. And that’s how we can change the rules!
Stay mobilised and keep the pressure on!
It is the multinationals and big businesses who own and run this country that have been driving the attacks on workers for decades – the Liberal Party just follows orders best. But big business and the multinationals will continue to push for their anti-worker demands to be met by which ever party is in government.
That’s why, regardless of who wins the federal election, workers and unions must keep up the fight until we have won our stated aim: a real change in the rules for working people! Not just a change of government. We can not allow ourselves to repeat the mistakes of the Your Rights at Work campaign in 2007. Workers and unions cannot allow ourselves to be used in election campaigns with promises of change, only to be left with nothing once the election is over. We must continue to mobilise in our hundreds-of-thousands in the streets. We must continue to take strike action on the job without concern for ‘rocking the boat’ of an ALP government.
We must continue to struggle, stay mobilised and keep the pressure on any incoming government. It is on us to fight to have our demands implemented. We can’t rely on professional liars to do it for us. As the old saying goes: if you dare to struggle, you dare to win. And win we must!