ETU out in the marginals talking with people who want change in Canberra

Nicholas McCallum

Members and organisers on the ground to Change the Government. 

Before we even knew the election was on May 18, ETU organisers and members were out in the streets and knocking on doors, talking to Australian workers about why they need - and deserved - a pay rise.

Since the start of the year the ETU has been on the ground in a number of key marginal seats as part of the Australian Union movement’s campaign to Change the Government and get a system that works for all Australians.

Unions are targeting 16 seats currently held by Liberal and National MPs.

The seat of Banks, currently held by Immigration Minister David Coleman on margin of 1.4%, ETU National Assistant Secretary Michael Wright has been speaking with people from all walks of life as he’s walked through dozens of neighbourhoods knocking close to 2500 doors.

“A lot of people are struggling, casual employment is really biting, and they are feeling the pinch of labour hire,” he said about the seat in Sydney’s southwest.

“And it’s become increasingly clear the things can’t continue the way they are. Ordinary people can’t pick up the slack while big corporations don’t pay their fair share of tax.”

National Junior Industrial Officer Ashvini Amvihaipahar has also been on the hustings around Hurstville, Revesby, Padstow and Penshurst where many voters are saying they want to see a change to the government and a change to their local MP.  

“People of the seat of Banks are sick of the chaos in the Liberal Party,” she said about the locals ready for a change in Canberra.

“Coleman is not addressing the big federal issues.”

A short drive north from Banks, the seat of Reid is in play after Liberal MP Craig Laundy quit his post following Malcolm Turnbull’s rolling.

ETU NSW Organiser Anthony O’Sullivan has been walking the streets of the inner western Sydney seat that the Liberals hold by just 4.7%.

"It's a tight and hard fight and I'd say it's going well, but you can't only take it from the bookies,” O’Sullivan said.


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"We've given away 20,000 of our ETU Change the Rules shopping bags on the streets and on train stations and I know our message is getting through to people we talk to. But it depends where you are.

“You get a sense of what people will vote in places like Drummoyne, but it's different when you get away from the waterside suburbs and this seat stretches all the way out to [the western Sydney suburb] Lidcombe.

"We are going to keep fighting hard like we have been through the past two weeks of pre-poll.

"We'll keep fighting till we win it on Saturday."

Much further north, the ETU Queensland Branch has been firing barrels daily in the seat of Dickson, currently held by Peter Dutton on a tiny 1.7% margin.

The seat in Brisbane’s bushy northwest is a crown jewel that State Secretary Peter Ong is looking to help snatch away from the much-loathed Home Affairs Minister for Labor’s Ali France who has knocked tens of thousands of homes.

“‘Spud’ Dutton is on the ropes,” he said.

“Although polling shows that it’s 50-50 we’re quietly confident.  

“Obviously done a lot of work in the electorate Ali France has done an enormous amount of work in the electorate. She’s very popular with constituents and probably done about 40,000 door knocks.

“And the honks and the responses that we get from people on the side of the road and at pre-poll shows she is very popular with the voters.”

Across the country, people are ready for change. Now's our chance to Change the Government and then we can Change the Rules. 

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