250,000 rally in Australia against anti-trade union laws

Andy Newman

Mass rally in Australia

People rallied in 300 locations across Australia on 15th November to protest
against the Federal Government's proposed changes to industrial relations laws,
According to police, around 150,000 people congregated in Melbourne, from where
speeches were broadcast throughout the country. Organisers had only been
expecting 60000.

In Sydney, thirty thousand gathered, Led by a fire truck, and traditional Korean
drummers, they stretched nearly six city blocks along George Street, chanting
their opposition to the changes. Across the state of New South Wales (NSW) up to
100,000 people took part in 227 separate stop-work meetings, linked by a
nationwide Sky Channel hook up. The M4 motorway was also blocked off for nearly
an hour, by transport workers and police.

In Brisbane, Queensland, more than 15,000 people turned out. Federal Opposition
Leader (Labor party) Kim Beazley joined the workers, including representatives
from 40 unions, who rallied at South Bank before marching to the Queensland
office of the National party. Mr Beazley told the South Bank rally that one of
the first things he would do as Prime Minister would be to put in place "a fair

According to the ABC, 4,500 people rallied in the Tasmanian city of Hobart.
Unions say 3,000 workers have rallied at Thoroughbred Park in Canberra. In
Darwin, nurses, teachers, public servants, construction workers and entire
families have turned out to show that not only workers will be affected by the
Federal Government's industrial relations reforms. Traffic blocked the roads
leading the Fannie Bay Racecourse. Crowds jostled for space to see the satellite
fed telecast from the Melbourne rally.

Wellington, NZ also showed solidarity as some 200 people demonstrated outside
the Australian Embassy.