Australian Left Review


Ted Wheelwright


The last decade has seen increasing attacks on the working class and its major protective organisation, the trade union movement, by the managers of the capitalist system in most parts of the world. One aspect of this was noticed by Bill Kelty, secretary of the ACTU, in his address to the NSW Labor Council, in which he said that conservative governments had used unemployment to try to destroy the labour movement:

The Reagan and Thatcher governments had shown that the destruction of the union movement was now a practical proposition .... We have to appreciate that while we are not the United States and not the United Kingdom, and while we have a better organised trade union movement, the alternative will nevertheless be tried by conservative governments in Australia. It is being tried now by the conservative government in Queensland. (Sydney Morning Herald, 1/3/85)



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