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Mat Johnston’s Bust the Budget speech

READ today’s speech below.

Hi, I’m Mat Johnston CPSU Assistant General Secretary. 

This Liberal government wants to break its agreements with workers and silence the democratic right of all Tasmanians to dissent and protest. 

Its final act to disempower workers is to remove your voice at the bargaining table. It wants to change the law so the Tasmanian Industrial Commission can only make decisions that agree with the government’s wages policy.

This government is hell bent on getting its own way and is prepared to effectively kill off the independent umpire to do it. No other employer in the country can get away with not speaking to its employees – even under Workchoices workers had a place at the bargaining table.

So this is worse than Workchoices.

Remove the Industrial Commission’s powers and there’s no impetus to bargain for wages. If legislation to amend the industrial relations act passes you’ll be forced to accept whatever wages the government wants to give you. You’ll get paid from the scraps left on the table after cash has been splashed around the electorates.

Before the election the Libs told you they’d cut 250 public sector jobs a year for two years, and Mr Gutwein called it a union scare campaign when we said their promises and the financial position meant they’d have to cut about 1300. 

Then they get elected and say 1500 jobs must go.

This is the Liberal government’s version of a fair system: Only the government’s voice is heard. Workers no longer have a say on wages. The independent umpire is neutered. The community’s democratic freedoms are criminalised.

These are anti-worker laws. They are laws designed to bust your unions – and unions are workers, not union officials. They are laws crafted to criminalise dissent.

These laws don’t reflect the Australian spirit of A Fair Go that we hold dear and that generations have fought for.

These are the values of extremists and those riding their coat tails.

It’s time to raise your voices and say NO! 

Before the election the Libs told you they wouldn’t change the industrial relations act and they would honor agreements. 6 months later Will Hodgman’s government has dumped those promises in the bin. Where I come from that’s called lying, and people who do that are liars. There are these vinyl bumper stickers that make that point very clearly – grab one and stick it on your car. 

Finally, I have a few simple questions I’d like you to answer loud and clear so the Government can hear you and the legislative council knows Tasmanians don’t accept extreme anti-worker laws.

Is it fair that workers don’t get a voice on wages?

Is it fair that we don’t have an independent umpire to settle disputes fairly?

Is it fair that peaceful protest is criminalised?

Is it fair to simply break legal contracts you don’t like?

Should the Legislative Council pass these Bills into law?

Alright, let’s get the flags up and make some noise.


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