Yesterday, I was asked a question from a newspaper quiz “Who is the premier of Queensland?”. I remember Peter Beattie, but I also remember his graceful resignation – I have to admit, I’d never heard of Anna Bligh, but today I’m a fan!
The Spring issue of the NTEU journal NEXUS features a quote from her that displays an eloquence, intelligence and incisiveness rarely seen in politics these days:
“I believe the question was whether 90 per cent of the members of my cabinet are union members. I think the answer to that is no. I believe that 100 per cent of my cabinet are members of relevant trade unions.
Not only are they members of their relevant trade unions; they are proud members of their relevant trade unions. They are proud of that, because trade unions have been one of the organisations that have built this country.
They secured the eight-hour day. They secured decent working conditions so that people could feed their families and be safe in their workplaces. There is no shame in it – none whatsoever.
The member wants to come snivelling in here doing the dirty work of John Howard. We do not resile for one minute from the fact that people on this side of the House care about the interests of working people. In terms of the talent of my cabinet, I will stack them up one by one against every runt of the litter that the other side lines up.”
Stirring stuff! Sadly, it is a bit of a lone voice in a landscape where the government’s cowardly campaign should never have gained traction.
I am constantly amazed at how few of my colleagues make the connection between the past work of Unions and their own comfortable circumstances. I certainly don’t agree with everything unions say and do, but the reality is that there are just as many lunatics on the conservative side, and if we, as workers with families and children who will be workers in the future fail to support the unions now, then the future lack of balance will be to our detriment.
Join a union today.