2014 will go down in history as the year the CFMEU was attacked by everything the state and federal Liberals could throw at us.
Attacks on me, attacks on our officials and delegates by Napthine and Abbott and their cheer squad at the Herald Sun, a Royal Commission, a joint state and federal police taskforce, calls for deregistration and daily charges brought against us by Nigel Hadgkiss at the Fair Work Building Commission are just some of what we have had to endure.
But the fall of the Liberal Government showed that it’s not working.
Napthine has no one but himself to blame. His government did nothing. They had no vision or plan for Victoria. They cut funding to essential services, decimated the TAFE sector and abandoned workers whose jobs disappeared as the Federal Government deserted the industries that have been the lifeblood of this state.
The Liberals knew this. They knew that the community had turned their backs on them. They mistakenly thought that their anti-union and anti-worker crusade would win back the votes of those people through fear.
It didn’t work. They stuffed it up badly, but it’s worth asking why they launched this full-scale attack on the CFMEU.
It’s because they hate us and they hate us for a reason. Because their friends are the employers. And we protect workers by holding big business to account over pay, conditions and safety. We are what stands in the way of employers ripping off workers and cutting corners.
We make no apologies for being tough and strong. It’s worth noting that workers in other industries make contact to offer us praise and support. IT workers often tell us that the union’s stance on 457 visas is crucial if we are to maintain our pay and conditions. They should know. Their sector is one where workers struggle to get a secure full-time job.
We will continue to campaign hard on all the issues that are important to us whoever is in power, but a government whose priorities are education, health and jobs, rather than attacking unions might be a welcome relief for the Victorian people.
And perhaps Liberal politicians can reflect that their hatred of the CFMEU is not the vote winner they thought it would be. Perhaps they have realised, that people are not that easily duped.
I want to thank all staff, delegates and members for your hard work and support which gives me encouragement each day.
Enjoy your break and let’s look forward to 2015 with hope and confidence.