The Labor Party in Australia has won a stunning victoryÂ in the state of Victoria with a swing of over 2% – basing their campaign on fighting for jobs, decent employment rights and working families.
New Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews summed up theÂ victory: â€śThere are people who wanted this election to be about workers and unions – and thatâ€™s exactly what it was.â€ť
The National Secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Paul Bastian said the direct community campaigning from unionÂ members to put jobs and training at the front of votersâ€™ minds helped set the agenda on election issues.
The success of unions in targeting key marginal electorates and undecided voters proved the decisive factor on election day in Victoria.
â€śHundreds of AMWU members worked hard to defeat the Liberals â€“ knocking on doors, campaigning in the community, calling other union members and helping on polling day,â€ť PaulÂ Bastian said.
â€śThe Victorian result gives us hope that we will see out the Abbott Government after one term â€“ we must keep up the pressure.â€ť
Â The solid swing against the Victoria Government was a stunning repudiation of its TV and print advertising, which tried to demonise Laborâ€™s links with unions, an outmoded scare tactic which fell flat with voters.
Over 2000 union volunteers spent months blitzing four key marginal seats hit by manufacturing job losses and Â cutbacks in southern Â Melbourne.
The Campaign For Trade Union Freedom’s Australian correspondent Barry Camfield reports that former union official Natalie Hutchins is Victoria’s new Industrial Relations Minister, one of nine women in the 22 strong cabinet announced by Daniel Andrews.
Ms HutchinsÂ worked as a union organiser and industrial officer at the NUW before becoming, in 1996, the first women to be elected as Victorian Trades Hall Council assistant secretary in the organisation’s history.Â In 2001, the Transport Workers Union employed Hutchins as a senior organiser.