The longest federal election campaign in recent times is drawing to an end and CWU members who haven’t voted already will be headed for the ballot box on 2 July.
The CWU recognises that its members may support a range of different candidates in this election.
But it believes the basic choice currently facing members is still clear: either a continuation of the anti-worker policies of the current Coalition government or a fresh start under a government which is committed to preserving and extending the working conditions and social benefits that Australian working people have fought long and hard to achieve.
Members should ask where candidates stand on key questions affecting their own and their families’ future:
The Turnbull Government knows that hundreds of thousands of Australia’s lowest paid workers rely on penalty rates to get by. So they are being careful right now about what they say about them.
But big business, which wants to do away with weekend penalty rates, won’t be so shy if the Coalition is re-elected. It will expect something in return for its support for the Turnbull government. And Turnbull himself has said that there would be cuts to rates “over time”.
Youth unemployment is running at double digit figures in parts of regional Australia. But that hasn’t stopped the Turnbull government cutting $250 million from the Industry Skills Fund and a $1 billion from apprenticeship programmes.
At the same time they want to put young unemployed people onto their discredited PaTH programme, working for as little as $4 an hour with no workplace protections and no job at the end.
Labor has promised to support 20,000 new jobs for young people through structured training programmes that will deliver ongoing employment at proper wage rates.
Both Labor and the Greens have committed to funding the agreements reached with state governments under the former Labor government to ensure all Australian children get a fair start in life through access to high quality public education (the “Gonski” reforms).
Both have committed to an extra $4.5 billion for schools in 2019 and 2020, distributed on the basis of need.
The Coalition is promising an extra $1.2 billion, to be delivered from 2018 to 2020. That won’t be enough to get the job done.
Labor has also promised to ensure that Medicare is kept in public ownership.
All the major parties know that climate change is a critical issue and that time is running out to achieve the emissions reductions we need to achieve to slow global warming. But there the similarities end.
The Coalition's goal is to cut by 26–28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030. Labor wants to cut emissions by 45 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
The Greens plan to shift Australia to 90% renewables by 2030 and want to increase clean energy finance to $30bn over 10 years.
PUT THE LIBERALS LAST
The CWU has reviewed the policies of the major parties in this election and believes its members have much to lose and nothing to gain from three more years of Coalition government – a government which, it must be remembered, has just spent $48 million of taxpayers money trying to discredit and weaken the union movement.
That’s why, along with the rest of the union movement, the CWU recommends that its members put the Liberals last on 2 July.