Melbourne Update – December 2016
November and December have been great months for the Melbourne APHEDA Activists with a number of successful events and opportunities to bring more members into the Union Aid Abroad family.
South East Asia Ban Asbestos Network Conference (Jakarta): During the first week of November, four Melbourne union representatives joined the Australian Delegation to Indonesia to attend the SEABAN conference. They included ANMF activist (and Geelong Trades Hall President) Jacqueline Kriz, Kris Gretagriz and Matt Brown from the ETU and Michael Borowick, Assistant Secretary of the ACTU. Together with union activists from NSW and QLD, the team from Victora had the opportunity to hear and see first-hand how Union Aid Abroad APHEDA’s partner organisations across South East Asia are tackling the issues of asbestos manufacture, importation and use. It also reinforced why the Asbestos. Not Here Not Anywhere campaign is so important to link all of the workers, unions, NGO’s and professionals together with a shared goal of a Regional Asbestos ban.
Melbourne APHEDA Dinner: On Friday 18 November, Melbourne supporters came together for a huge night of food, wine, non-CUB beer, auctions and a great raffle. All guests joined in the fun of the night by bidding for sensational prizes including a huge framed poster from the 1998 MUA Docks Dispute and a magnificent print donated by First Dog on the Moon about the CUB55 Dispute. Attended by approximately 300 guests from 16 unions and peak bodies, we also signed up 23 new members to APHEDA on the night and heard from keynote speaker Peter Gordon, who talked about his work representing Asbestos victims in class actions and the importance of the Asbestos. Not Here Not Anywhere Campaign. Special thanks to Ged Kearney who hosted the evening and Leigh Hubbard who organised many of the auction prizes and donations of wine from local union branches. Thanks also to the many Melbourne APHEDA Activists who made sure their tables were full and their unions engaged both before and during the night. The food was fabulous and our auctioneer Tash Joyce, who had previously organised multiple functions at the same venue for APHEDA, was magnificent. Can’t wait for next year’s event which will need a bigger venue to make sure no one misses out!.
Korea General Strike action: On November 30, Melbourne unions also joined in an international Solidarity action for the unions of South Korea who have been fighting anti-union government actions including the arrest of multiple union officials and raids of union offices. Particular thanks to Lauren from the Women’s Team at VTHC who was able to create a message in Korean which was videoed to add to the Solidarity action.
Dare to Dream Book Launch: Union Aid Abroad APHEDA coordinated the Melbourne book launch of Tom & Audrey McDonald’s Memoirs – Dare to Dream on December 6 at Trades Hall. This event brought in over 60 guests from across the movement, including senior and past union officials who had the pleasure of working with Tom during his days as National Secretary of the BWIU or Audrey throughout her many Social Justice campaigns including her time with the Union of Australian Women. Tom & Audrey are generously donating part of the sales of their books to Union Aid Abroad APHEDA and for those who missed the launch, you can purchase a copy online through Union Aid Abroad APHEDA’s online shop.
Historic Union Event: Finally, the APHEDA Global Solidarity flag flew proudly at the inaugural meeting of the CFMEU and the MUA in Melbourne, consolidating the powerful amalgamation of two great unions with a strong history of Global Solidarity and ongoing support for Union Aid Abroad APHEDA projects. We wish both unions enormous success through this amalgamation period and look forward to ongoing Solidarity activity with leaders and members across all of our international work.