March 27, 2006 marks the introduction of the Work Choices bill, a comprehensive change in Australian industrial laws. Australian musicians and the whole music industry came together with the union movement, to hold a concert and stand up for the rights of workers. The artists see Work Choices as “one more atrocity” bringing Australian industrial laws back to the days of the feudal system, of striking the worker with impunity. Work Choices legislation takes away basic workers’ rights, such as penalty rates and collective bargaining. Artists wanted to be involved with a show of solidarity, since many of them have to work “shitty jobs” to earn a living, so this kind of industrial relations affects them as well. The issue involves the youth of today as well, who will not be able to defend themselves against exploitation in the future. Twenty thousand people attended the concert and it was a great success.
Part of a collection of short videos presented at the Maritime Union of Australia’s 2008 International Solidarity Conference.
Author: J Bird, 2023