The ACTU’S recently produced “Campaign Operational Plan: defending the living standards of working Australians” confirms what we already knew. Firstly that the ACTU has given up campaigning to Bust the Budget; and secondly, that its campaign to defeat Abbott is overwhelmingly focussed on campaigning in marginal seats.
This is a long way from the “Your Rights at Work” campaign that mobilised hundreds of thousands in mass demonstrations (and associated illegal strike action) under the Howard government.
The closest it comes to any commitment to mass mobilisation is that between June 2015 and September 2015, the campaign will “consider movement wide action”.
But this is completely subordinated to an electoral strategy—the same outlook that squandered the anti-Abbott outrage after the budget.
The mood to fight hasn’t gone away—the NSW Construction division of the CFMEU was disgusted when Unions NSW refused to act on a mass delegates motion calling for mass work day rallies and stoppages against the budget.
Its Committee of Management carried a resolution expressing “disappointment in Unions NSW failure to support a resolution carried unanimously by delegates for a more direct opposition to the Federal Liberal Abbott Government budget and this be communicated to Unions NSW.”
Under pressure at a meeting on 23 September, Unions NSW executive said that action might still be possible “in the new year”. But don’t hold your breath—it will take more pressure from below to push Unions NSW or ACTU into calling the industrial action needed to fight Abbott.