With over 350 attendees from across the union movement, the APHEDA dinner in Sydney this year was a great success. It was the first time a dinner was held in three years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The event was hosted by comedian Craig Reucassel and the Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Pat Conroy MP spoke about tackling global poverty and strengthening relationships across our region in his keynote address.

Many attendees commented that the speakers from the Myanmar Campaign Network blew them away with their description of the brutality of the junta regime, which targets unionists and activists.

Tasneem Roc from the Myanmar Campaign Network told the crowd: “We support sanctions on the Myanmar military individuals who are responsible for crimes against humanity and war crimes, not just since 1 February, but for the horrific acts of genocide against the Rohingya.

“The Myanmar Campaign Network calls for recognition of the legitimate interim government, the National Unity Government … We call on our Government to avoid legitimising the unconstitutional, illegal and illegitimate military junta’s administration, by denying them access to international forums and meetings.

“The Myanmar military will attempt to hold an election next year in 2023, and we urge the Australian Government not to buy into the narrative of this sham election.”

The evening raised $30,000, thanks to generous bidding on auction items such as a bottle of wine signed by Julia Gillard, a WorkChoices corflute signed by Bob Hawke, and fair trade handicrafts from Nepal, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Before the “Uluru Statement from the Heart: Walk With Us” banner was auctioned off, Thomas Mayor from the Maritime Union of Australia spoke about the campaign to win a Voice to Parliament for Aboriginal people. The banner was hotly contested but eventually won by the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association.

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