This evening saw the launch of Victorian Trades Hall’s campaign for the state election, We Are Union. It was a wonderful, well executed evening that saw pledges of action, fund raising, and a number of speeches.
The highlight of these was Billy Bragg, who I’ll come to shortly, but the hundreds-strong audience also heard from workers – two Māori workers from Super A-Mart, who haven’t had a wage increase in four years and offered to perform the Haka for Billy; from a fire fighter; from paramedic Morgyn; and first up from me.
I could talk for half an hour, under water, about why Victoria cannot afford a second term of this government, but I only have a few minutes, so I’ll keep it brief.
Victoria’s nurses and midwives know that this government stands for broken promises.
The 800 inpatient beds they promised have translated into 1000 beds fewer than we had under Labor, and Minister Wooldridge claims to have created hundreds of mental health beds, without mentioning that she closed the majority of them two and a half years ago.
Despite the increase in both frequency and intensity of attacks, and an inquiry, nurses and midwives have been punched, knifed, partially scalped and worse waiting for legislation promised but undelivered.
I don’t remember anything about privatising health before the election, but aged care facilities have already been sold – without community consultation, and with scant notification to staff, families and residents, In the last week we can add a recently refurbished psycho-geriatric facility to the list.
And of course, this is the government that promised to maintain nurse: patient ratios – a promise only kept after an unprecedented nine month campaign that included our first withdrawal of labour in a quarter of a century.
This is the government that taught Victoria’s nurses and midwives to engage the public, to speak up, to door knock. We already knew how to be united – not we know how to fight!
Victoria’s nurses and midwives know we can’t afford another term of this government.
Our branch is almost 70,000 members strong. Know this – Victoria’s nurses and midwives stand with our brothers and sisters across the breadth of the trade union movement, and we’re ready to fight again.
It’s 261 days until we vote – let’s make this Victoria’s first one-term government in over fifty years!
The last to speak was the inimitable Billy Bragg. Thanks to @carbiewarbie, you may have missed him, but you need not miss his message.
“These are,” he said, “difficult time for the union movement… My message to you, the reason why I’m here tonight, is keep the faith.”
For more on Victorian Trades Hall’s We Are Union campaign, watch this, then visit the website, and help make this election a victory for the people.