Rallies to Change the Rules fire up across the country

Nicholas McCallum

'I say: Do your best, because you touch one, you touch all!'

We've seen huge roll ups across the country as unions, workers and their family members hit the streets in the nationwide Rally to Change the Rules.

The Rally kicked off in Perth as more than 4000 marchers gathered outside the West Australian Parliament as the dark clouds above the city opened up to dump hard rain on the crowd.

It did little to deter the march in mid-October, as flags were raised up amid loud cheers for the Union movement and our campaign to Change the Rules.  

Allen Hicks, ETU National Secretary, spoke to the crowd alongside ACTU Secretary Sally McManus, praising the crowd for the “red-hot turnout”.

“And what makes it even better is the fact that up the road we’ve got mobs like Master Builders… ABCC and others, out every day in the media threatening, intimidating, trying to coerce workers not to turn up to the rallies,” Hicks said.

“I say: Do your best, because you touch one, you touch all!”  

The following week, it was Sydney and Melbourne's turn.

Tens of thousands rolled up in Sydney's Belmore Park before marching through the city's streets on Tuesday October 23. It was hard for Sydneysiders not to notice the throng of unionists thundering loudly through the city.


Dave Mckinley, ETU NSW Secretary, spoke to the crowd where ETU members made up one of the largest contingents.

“And we’re growing,” McKinley said.

“And the reason we’re growing is because more and more workers in this country are seeing that the system is broken. They’re seeing that they don’t have the right to strike.

“And more and more workers are getting behind the Change the Rules campaign.”

In Melbourne the crowd was big enough to shut down the city, with 170,000 clogging the streets – a record number and the biggest march through Melbourne in a decade.

Firing up the tens of thousands in the crowd before the march kicked off, ETU Victoria Secretary Troy Gray said the power was with the mighty workers of Australia.

“It’s time to stand together, it’s time to show our power and it’s time to Change the Rules,” Grey said.

“Let’s march!”

The massive crowd moved from Trades Hall in Carlton down to Federation Square with ETU’s huge Eureka Flag leading the march.

Across Queensland's regional centres there were mass rallies, with ETU members making a show in Cairns, Gladstone, Mackay, Rockhampton and Townsville.


ETU Queensland & NT Secretary Peter Ong was in Darwin for the Rally to Change the Rules, where thousands had gathered.


The following day the rallies continued across Tasmania, with State Secretary Michael Anderson commending the crowd on the lawns outside the parliament. CEPU members rolled up in their hundreds after ignoring threats of fines from some bosses.

In Adelaide on Thursday October 25, the CEPU South Australia kept up the fight as they rallied in the streets.

ETU Assistant National Secretary David Mier spoke about the desperate need to address the increasing amount of insecure and casualised work.

“Too many people rely on the boss ringing them up the night before to see if they want to go to work,” Mier said.

“It’s bullsh*t. Ask the teachers who are on one-year contracts, or the university professors who get three months here, four months there, whether they want to go back to the way it was in the 1970s.

“They’d say yes as well because labour hire is just outrageous, casual work is just outrageous.”

The crowds were fired up and there are more marches to come. Check here for more information:

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