EDITORIAL by Paul Bastian:
Tomorrow’s federal election provides manufacturing workers with the clearest choice in many years.
On the one hand you have Malcolm Turnbull and the Coalition. They want to hand $50 billion in tax cuts over the next decade to the big banks and multinationals
To pay, the Coalition will sacrifice the Gonski schools funding plan, slowly destroy Medicare by freezing GP rebates, keep starving TAFE and deprive the auto industry of essential assistance to diversify.
To help employers pay you less, its wants to cut back penalty rates and adopt recommendations of its Heydon Royal Commission to hamper trade union rights to represent you.
It won’t work – economists say nearly two thirds of the tax cut benefit will go to foreign investors.
All the Coalition’s delivered since 2013 has been rising unemployment, increased inequality, sluggish growth and near-stagnant wages as business lacks confidence to invest.
Mr Turnbull was part of the Coalition Cabinet which destroyed our car-making industry, refused to bring forward navy contracts to stop shipyards closing.
Apprentice places have dropped over 100,000 since 2013, jobs our unemployed young people could have filled but often go to foreign visa workers, themselves facing exploitation from a flawed system.
Labor have been up-front with voters on the need to invest heavily to rescue our ailing school and training systems, boost major infrastructure and protect Medicare.
Labor set the agenda by widening the requirement for Australian Industry Participation Plans on big projects, pledging a $100 million package to secure Whyalla steel-making and tens of millions of dollars more to help industry transition to advanced manufacturing. They will introduce bigger fines in a crack down on dodgy labour hire operators.
At least one in ten of all new jobs on infrastructure projects would go to apprentices, trained under a revived TAFE system with guaranteed funding and helped by a revived Tools For Your Trade subsidy.
For apprentices, that’s better than being in debt to the Coalition’s crippling loans scheme.
Voters face a stark choice.
Personally, I’ll be putting the Libs last on my ballot paper. I hope you do too.
Paul Bastian is the AMWU's National Secretary