Thursday, 4 June 2009

Australia is not in recession

I mentioned yesterday I am at a conference in Brisbane. It is the Congress of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU). I'm a proud member of the NSW Teachers Federation, my trade union.

Above: The Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, addressed the Congress dinner on Wednesday night. Today's economic figures showed that Australia, alone amongst all the rich economies grew last quarter, thus escaping the label of being in recession (the definition is two successive quarters of decline)

And, yes, I got that close to the PM - right at the foot of the stage. I like that about Australia - no (obtrusive) secret service security dudes, and normal people can get close to and take photos of major political figures.

Left: Deputy PM, Julia Gillard, addressed the Congress earlier in the day. She is Minister for Industrial Relations and Education. The yellow t-shirts were worn by delegates to protest against laws left over from the previous government which discriminate against construction workers. They have not been repealed by the Rudd government, despite promises prior to the election.

The people in the front row are families and loved ones of workers who had been killed at work.

Are you a member of a union? Have you ever campaigned for increased atttention to health and safety at work?


  1. We should be able to get very close to some of our MPs shortly, as a lot of them will be out of work!

    I'm not a member of any union, as I have a mixed view of their worth or value. They were useful back when they began in the 19th century, as employers were quite harsh with wages, conditions etc. But these days, I don't think they have much bite, as employees are better educated and more likely to stick up for themselves.

  2. That is nice that you can come so close. One of my flickr friends posted a similar photo of Finlands Foreign Minister today.

  3. It must be exciting to attend that conference.

  4. Iam a proud woman member of a union, experience tells me that they are just as relevant now as they were when they were first established.

    As a working mum and nanna I know that trade unions will be there to make sure my children and grandchildren will be able to work with others to protect their working conditions and the money they can make.

    On a lighter note, it's great that PM and Deputy PM are so accessible. Great to see there were no men in dark suits and glasses with earpieces lurking in the background of these photos.

  5. I know that I wouldn't be better off without my Union. My employer is hell bent on taking my conditions back in time, if not as far back as the 19th century - where masters demanded that their workers served without due consideration to appropriate conditions to protect health and safety or work/life/family balance. They'll get away with what they can. Is it a blue collar, manual job of which I speak? No, education, teaching, where you would hope that values of decency and a fair go prevailed, if for no other reason than to be able to provide the best educational opportrunities and outcomes for our future leaders, our kids. In my experience it is the collectivism of union membership that makes the worker strong, NOT individulaism, which instead fragments equity.It is my Union that gives me bite.
    Our government, led by Kevin and Julia were elected by the Australian people for the very reason that they promised to remove threats to said work/life balance and re-introduce decent processes and procedures into the workplace and relationships between employer and employee. The Conference to which is referred is an important facet in the democratic process in ensuring that politicians remain true to their election platform/s.

  6. What are those two rings Uncle Kev is wearing? I assume one is a wedding ring but t'other ... ??