A Show of Global Solidarity at ACTU Congress 2018

Jul 31, 2018

“We need new global rules”

In July 2018, more than 1000 unionists gathered in Brisbane at the triennial ACTU Congress to discuss how we can Change the Rules so Australia gets better job security, greater equality and a pay rise. The ACTU also welcomed its new President, Michele O’Neil. Through Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA’s stall, workshops, fringe events and crew of dedicated activists, we put in a concerted effort to focus on changing the rules for Global Justice.

New members and a buzzing global solidarity stall

Over the course of the Congress, the APHEDA stall was buzzing. 52 new members joined the Global Solidarity family and existing members flocked to the stall to get their ‘Change the Rules for Global Justice’ sticker on their lanyard.

One of our newest members, Sam Parker, did not only the union movement proud, but APHEDA and its staff proud. As ASU members, we were delighted to see Sam win the Jennie George Award for outstanding contribution by a woman to our movement. (if you haven’t seen the video of Sam in action, watch it!)

International Guests and Global Justice on the International Panel

Three international guests from Asia-Pacific attended this years’ Congress and were well received.  Maung Maung (Confederation of Trade Unions Myanmar), Ath Thorn (President of Cambodian Labour Confederation) and Josua Mata (SENTRO Philippines) spoke at either an ACTU workshop or at the International panel discussion alongside APHEDA’s Executive officer Kate Lee. Kate talked about the need for new global rules and how we need to fund labour-led development through the Australian Aid budget.


Nearly $8000 raised in the silent auction

The silent auction at Congress Dinner did not disappoint. APHEDA raised more than $7000. The exquisite Eureka Flag quilt hand-made by long-time unionist and Change the Rules activist in Gympie, Dolly Jenson, was our top selling prize. Danny from ETU Victoria took home the next hotly contested item, a framed anti-Vietnam war poster featuring the Union of Australian Women and signed by Audrey McDonald. One of the most talked about items was the Sally Sock-idarity package – a pack of three socks by Otto & Spike, in solidarity with Sally McManus. These were taken home by Sam Pidgeon.

Thank you to everyone who generously contributed to the Silent Auction. Special thanks to Jeremy Corbyn, David Pope, Neale Towart, Dolly Jenson, Otto & Spike, Rydges, Lion Indonesia, NTEU QLD and ETU QLD for a new member’s prize.

Global Solidarity to End Asbestos and Petition Launch

APHEDA held an Asbestos workshop on Tuesday lunchtime. Kate Lee our Executive Officer was joined by the Assistant Secretary of the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association Judith Kiedja, Terry Mason of the NTEU and National Assistant Secretary of the ETU Michael Wright. Attendees were shocked by news Russian asbestos companies are now putting Donald Trump’s ‘seal of approval’ on their products. It was against this backdrop we launched our petition to end illegal asbestos imports. Have you signed and shared?

Global Solidarity Lunch

On Wednesday APHEDA held a well-attended Global Solidarity lunch. Speakers Maung Maung, Sharan KC (APHEDA) and Caterina Cinnani (NUW) gave current examples of how financial and practical support to union movements in our region is building equality and justice. From Myanmar to Qatar, Bangladesh and the Pacific, attendees heard how international support helps build unions here at home and internationally. Currently, the Australian government does not fund trade union development, but it could join seven other wealthy countries that do, through their international aid budgets.

From Global to Local….

We also proudly received our certificate verifying Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA as an organisational member of the First Nations Workers Alliance.

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