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Sally McManus, the hero

Sally McManus is the hero of workers. Turnbull is welcome to try to villainise her, but in doing so, he’s only making himself the enemy.

In her first television interview as head representative of people who work, McManus was involved in what media-insiders call a ‘gotcha moment’. Courtesy of the get-me-a-gotcha-moment-in-place-of-any-useful-political-analysis-queen, Leigh Sales. In their version of events, McManus was in hot water for backing the safety of workers at any cost, even if that cost is breaking laws designed to help employers shirk any responsibility for protecting people who work for them.

Right wingers squealed in delight when Sales drew supposably controversial comments out of McManus so early in the piece. The attacks came thick and fast from all the obvious places, including many journalists, who tut-tutted about law-breaking as if the law-breaking in question was home invasion or carjacking. Even those from Fairfax, who were more than happy to illegally strike in protest at their own colleagues being sacked, apparently can’t see the irony of criticising workers who do the same thing when a colleague is killed. Christopher Pyne, jumping on McManus like a seagull on a chip, called on her to resign. Turnbull, grasping for something to divert from his own failures, said he couldn’t work with her.

A year ago, this whole episode would have been yet another predictable, not worth mentioning, union bashing media-beat-up. But things have changed in the past few months. People have woken up to wealth inequality. Australia saw this wake up contribute to Brexit and the election of Trump. Closer to home, we’ve had One Nation pop up in Turnbull’s double dissolution, only to be over-egged and come crashing back down in the WA election, where, lo and behold, Labor achieved an 8% swing in their primary vote without any help from minors.

Throughout this time, Turnbull’s government continues to be a mixture of insipid do-nothing indecision, scandal and destruction, infighting and chaos, ideological bastardy and economic incompetence while they sidestep from one policy disaster to the next. Amongst the attacks to Medicare, the undermining of welfare through the Centrelink debacle, the failure on energy policy, the distractions from fringe fundamentalists such as anti-marriage-equality and repealing hate-speech laws, there is one policy which stands shiny and red as the most detestable, a pimple on a bum of failure: an attack to wages through a cut to penalty rates. This decision was the nail in Turnbull’s coffin. Commentators and Federal Liberals can claim all they like that the electoral result in WA was a result of local issues. But there is absolutely no doubting that a cut to wages saw voters melting off Liberals like sweat from Turnbull’s, and Hanson’s brow.

Let’s get something clear. Wages are the central concern of the electorate. Yes, most of us have other concerns, including climate change, education, healthcare, infrastructure, housing affordability, energy policy, immigration, just to name a few. But first on Maslow’s Hierarchy of political needs for left-wing and right-wing voters alike is an economic indicator which is being felt personally in homes from Broome to Launceston, from Townsville to Bankstown: record low wage growth. To put it bluntly, workers aren’t paid enough for the productive labour they contribute to the economy. There is plenty of money being made. It’s just not reaching those who create it.

The electorate knows this. They might not be able to pinpoint exactly what the problem is, but they feel the anxiety of having to do more with less. They are working harder. They are paying more for housing, groceries, petrol, energy bills, healthcare and education. But they are not getting the hours they need to cover these costs, nor the pay-rises they deserve, to show how their contribution to profit is valued. Their jobs are too often casual and insecure, their wages stagnant and their lives feel stationary.

This tension and anxiety means the relationship between worker and employer, between labour and capital, is fraught. In turn, the relationship between those who represent workers – unions – in this case – Sally McManus, and those who represent capital – Turnbull, Pyne, big business, business lobbyists, Liberal donors, is more-than-usually-difficult.

When Turnbull said he can’t work with McManus, he was admitting he can’t work with workers. This isn’t a new state of affairs. Turnbull has never done anything positive for workers. Instead, he defends the employers who, as well as preferring to reward shareholders instead of workers, constantly fight for lower wages and less protections for workers. The penalty rate cut was just the latest in a long line of anti-worker policies rolled out by the Liberal government, including cuts to social and environmental policies which hurt all of us, worker or not.

When Sally McManus explained to Sales that her priority is to defend workers rather than defending laws designed to hurt workers, she wasn’t being caught in a trap. She was doing her job. Whether the media and right wing elite recognise it or not, we, workers, applaud Sally McManus for her principles. In that 730 interview, we saw a union leader standing up for us when our employers refuse to do the same. We saw a union leader standing up for us where the Liberal government refuse to do the same.

The political environment has changed in the last 12 months. Unions have been framed as the enemy for so long that the Turnbull government think they’re on a winner when they find a stick to beat unions with. What they’ve neglected to realise is that when they bash unions, they bash workers. Workers are sick of being the victim of Liberal governments. Workers are sick of being the victim of big business lobbying, which results in them taking home a shrinking share of the profits from their work. When Liberal governments bash unions, workers don’t see a hero fighting against a villain. They see a villain threatening their hero. With wage growth at record lows, workers need a hero. They have one in Sally McManus. Anyone stupid enough to fight the hero of workers, better be ready for an army poised to join their hero into battle.



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  1. paulwalter

    Spirited rejoinder from also, Badham at the Grauniad, to Tory illogic that I will add to make to make Victoria Rollinson’s piece a two for the price of one, with the only cost being a honest of read of both from interested readers..Victoria, for you I add it to show you that not only do you have it right for the effort of thinking it out, imho, but that a pretty respectable confratere if that is the word, has come to very similar conclusions.


  2. Kaye Lee

    from paul’s link…

    “The union leader had merely affirmed in her first 7.30 interview that in an Australia where unions are fined more for walking off unsafe worksites than corporations when workers die on the job, the ACTU would be backing in union members’ right to safety over any present, unjust law.”

  3. paulwalter

    Yes, Kaye Lee. That is exactly what nauseates me about them also.

  4. Terry2

    Sally is an intelligent and articulate woman and I would recommend that the troglodytes of the Liberal party don’t take her on ; it could be embarrassing for them.

    Australian Government has obligations under various international treaties (laws) to ensure that the human rights of asylum seekers and refugees are respected and protected. These treaties include the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

    These rights include the right not to be arbitrarily detained.

    We have sought to circumvent these obligations in numerous ways including contracting out our responsibilities to other countries ( Nauru and PNG ). We have seen these international laws as inconvenient to our national and political interests so we have broken these laws on a wholesale scale.

    It is unseemly and deeply cynical that people like Peter Dutton see fit to criticise people like Sally McManus.

  5. Ken Butler

    The political panorama includes three entities:

    The people
    The parliament
    The corporatocracy

    When the LNP is in power there are only two:

    The corporatocracy (within which the parliament vanishes like sugar in hot water)
    The people

    The bloated corporatocracy sucks the economy dry while the people,for whom government should exist, are absolutely screwed.

    This situation is untenable.

    There will be a reckoning.

  6. pierre wilkinson

    and yet if it was a Labor initiative, then the death toll would be front page news when the laws are relaxed to favour the corporations

  7. My say

    Sally will chew Turnbull up and spit him out,I take it she won’t back down ,and is only to willing to get down and get dirty
    Bring it on Turnbull

  8. kerri

    When business profits are up but wages have stagnated and the government is supporting cuts to penalty rates, then Sally’s promise to break unjust laws rings true with the workers, of which there are many, many more than there are business owners and politicians!

  9. Marilyn

    Worse still stupid Leigh thinks the rule of law means obeying the law. In 1973 when my daughter was born the law was that children of unmarried mothers were taken away, I kept mine and raised her almost entirely on my own, she is a stunning young woman now and a grand mother herself. I am proud that I broke that stupid law.

    I had helped another young girl 4 years earlier to keep the welfare scum from taking her baby from her because she was 16 and poor, my sister, the three neighbours girls and a few others ganged up on the authorities and she kept her son with the help of the 18 year old father. 40 years later she met a friend of mine and told him to tell me she had never forgotten what we did for her.

    17 years after my daughter was born she had a daughter who now has a son, it was not even dreamed of that her baby should be taken from her.

    It was only the work of my step mother that stopped the scum from taking my daughter, but it took 8 hours because she was whisked away at birth for ”adoption” without my permission.

    That was a law that needed to be broken and was, not the apologies by states have happened and children and parents of the stolen children (as depicted by Love Child) are being re-united.

    On a similar note it used to be a law to kidnap UK slum kids and traffic them around the colonies to be used as slaves and tortured, raped and beaten as shown Oranges and Sunshine and previously the Leaving of Liverpool.

    Only when light is shown on bad laws can they be changed and I say to the rwnj’s – get over it.

  10. Susan

    Sally was brilliant ??

  11. olddavey

    Saw Sally and Jay Weatherill this arvo in my local Bunnings buying a couple of chain saws and a flame thrower.
    Can’t wait till the gardening’s done and all the weeds have been sent to the tip and mulched!

  12. Zathras

    I can see how the media hyperventilate over that statement but I recall were many Vietnam conscripts that went to gaol rather than participate in what they believed was an illegal war.

    There are also a few shock-jocks out there with a history of inciting people to public violence and with personal histories of illegality all too keen to pass judgement as well, not to mention media owners.

    There’s also a Royal Commission still underway into what was done to children over many years under the umbrella of morality and legality.

    Martin Luther King once said that “one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws” and that “everything Hitler did in Germany was legal”.

  13. Deanna Jones

    Sally is consistently excellent. I had the pleasure of meeting her a few times when I was a union delegate in the non gov sector and she was head of the ASU. She has kept an online log of all the hideous things this gov has done since 2013, so they were well aware of her views. But now she is the first woman to head up the ACTU so of course an LNP gov wants to stomp her. Luckily, she’s pretty unstompable.

    People forget that laws are social constructs, pretty much all made up by rich white guys.

  14. Florence nee Fedup

    I think what Sally means is that unionists/workers are no longer willing to let fanatical neoliberals to trample them into the ground.

    Time has come to fight back. Time to do whatever it takes to bring equity back into daily life. Time for workers to take back their share of the pie, share of commonwealth that is produced by all.

    It might surprise some but striking has never been legal. Sometimes we have to withdraw our labour, strike just to make power that be take noticed. This is the real world were all we have has to be fought for. Never handed to us on a silver tray.

  15. Jaquix

    Brilliant article Victoria. Trumbull getting sillier and less relevant by the day, and all they seem to have up their sleeve is potato head, who’s got a margin of barely 3% so he should go under when the tsunami election hits, even if Labour only had a swing of half the WA average.

  16. Percy

    VIVA LE REVOLUTION only 100 years late

  17. MichaelW

    Spent all of my working life on building sites, through rain, sleet snow and heat, not the best way to earn a living, but it paid the bills. Conditions on some of the non Union sites I worked on were horrendous, one in particular where an ambulance was called everyday (I kid you not) for weeks because of injuries incurred on site.
    A demolition contractor stopped using his backhoe on a refurbishment building, he was instructed to pull down the ceiling causing the old sprinkler pipes to break water running everywhere, the electricity still turned on, Electricians running around trying to turn it off. The demolition guy was instructed by the company to carry on or he would not be paid and his contract would be terminated. One of the plumber bosses hobbling around on site on crutches with a broken leg after an onsite accident.
    I could go on and on about unsafe work practices, then again I could write a book about it, but people might think it’s fiction.

  18. Matters Not

    Lets’ be honest, Sally re the 7.30 Report – f*cked up. Not a good look, nor a good start, at least in terms of the mainstream political ‘outcomes’. Sensibly , Shorten ran away – very, very quickly. Sally’s political performance was inept – if winning hearts and minds in the broader political context was her goal.

    In many ways, Sally can be seen as being just just like Trump – both don’t know how to behave after the victory.

    Sally of course had a crucial point to make. Sometimes breaking the law is both necessary and desirable – not only ‘right’ but ‘good’ as well. Unfortunately, she didn’t make that point – at least in the minds of the average voter.

    Very confident she has learnt a valuable lesson

  19. Matters Not

    Fact is, an interviewee has no control over the questions that will or might be asked. Sure, if they (the interviewees) have done their ‘homework’ they, or their advisors, can anticipate same but the fact remains the power to ask the question remains with the interviewer. Having said that, the ‘interviewee’ is not bound to respond to any question in any logical or truthful way. One’s response is down to one’s self.

    As happens in Parliament on a daily basis – you can ask any question you like. But as a responder I can choose to respond any way I like.

    Smart people use ‘questions’ to set a new agenda. Hawke was an absolute master at it.

  20. Peter F

    I spoke to the lady serving me at the local grocery shop yesterday while she struggled to get the till to reboot. We found that we are in agreement about the values held by this government in relation to penalty rates.

    The conversation extended to my banging on a favourite drum. I mentioned that this mob pulled birthday dates out of a hat to send men to be killed in Vietnam.

    She did not know that, being too young. We agreed that they have not changed.

  21. Florence nee Fedup

    That statement of Sally’s was clever. She has people discussing what needed to happen. Taking the fight up to the government. We have a PM who said he can’t work with her. Suspect none of this mob can work with women. They are now up against not one but two strong women. Could it be the union worm is turning.

  22. Möbius Ecko

    “…she didn’t make that point – at least in the minds of the average voter.”

    Matters Not. How do you know that? Have you done a survey of average voters?

    On TV ratings, only a fraction of average voters would have seen that interview, which leaves the MSN and social media as their source as to what occurred in it and its context. How many average voters out of the total of them got information from those sources might be in part extrapolated by their registrations and page hits. Then a survey would need to be conducted.

    I gather by “average voter” you mean those not ideologically tied to either of the two major parties?

    On that front, and only going on my limited sphere, and putting aside the obvious ideologues, I would say the average voter are in favour of what McManus said.

  23. Deanna Jones

    She said exactly what the average voter wants to hear. She is principled and courageous and did not even look like effing up.

    MN did you want her to sound like politician?

  24. Wayne Turner

    If the MSM wasn’t just the promotional wing of the COALition,they would ask the likes of Turnbull: If you are all for the “rule of law”,when will George Brandis go by a ruling of the high court,and show us his diary?

  25. Deanna Jones

    Sally Mcmanus has just shared to her Facebook page a copy of a letter a Coles manager sent out to staff, asking for team members to each contribute four hours of free labour tonight, to get the backlog of stock in the back room, out to the shelves. Time to boycott Coles.

  26. helvityni

    Wayne Turner, I was going to ask the same…

    Also, have Mal, Tones, Michaelia, Ms Julie, Mutton et Morrison ever learnt any ‘valuable’ lessons…?

    Not impressed with Shorten’s response….

  27. Michael

    Matters Not – please do not inadvertently slip into an LNP swamp of sweeping generalised statements – you are needed in the “what is happening –> how it works –> what would make it better” world.

    Having such blessings from Trumble & Co, I would regard as a badge of honour – one now knows one is on firmer ground – a line drawn, is a line to defend.

  28. win jeavons

    I back Sally ! During the Vietnam war My husband and I debated which would risk jail so the other could mind the family, if arrested during a protest march. Bad laws , and there have been many, are made by bad people , or stupid ones , and must be attacked. These days too many laws are there to protect the sacred dollar, not the people . Good laws are urgently needed to protect the future of our climate and environment, which is to say, our planetary future.

  29. Matters Not

    One of the problems, ‘leftist’ sites such as this, must face is that contributors become mindless cheerleaders. You know: our heroes can never make mistakes – must always be supported – and any criticism must be disregarded. Look above.

    ME, I haven’t done a survey of average voters. But neither did Bill Shorten or Daniel Andrews when they bolted for the political exit door when confronted by Sally’s ‘misspoke’. Anyone who has even a little bit of political nous knows that it’s political poison to advocate the ‘junking’ of the rule of law. To proceed down that track when a discussion of the CFMEU provides the ‘context’ just compounds the error. After all we are talking about political ‘realities’ here and not philosophical musings.

    While Shorten, Andrews et al were aghast, Turnbull was ‘over the moon’. Couldn’t believe his luck – particularly with parliament sitting for the nest two weeks. Mark (not Chris) Kenny had this to say under the heading of ACTU own goal: Bill Shorten needs Sally McManus like a hole in the head

    He elaborates:

    Just when unions and their parliamentary champions in the ALP are mounting a campaign to protect weekend penalty rates comes a reminder of the old model of industrial relations: strikes, intimidation, and belligerence.

    Yes it’s Mark Kenny not Chris who is in full flight here.

    Enter the incoming ACTU secretary, Sally McManus, who frankly observed that unions will ignore industrial law when it suits them. … Shorten, who has never downplayed his union past, but knows the cost to his broad appeal, needs this frankness like a hole in his head . Unsurprisingly, the government leapt on it as proof that Labor’s workplace relations model is back-to-the-future. And further, to assert that with the ALP in thrall to its union paymasters, militancy would be Labor’s new industrial reality.

    … the best that could be said of it was it was an inconvenient truth. Politically inept might be closer to the mark.

    One could be tempted to ask: Why does Sally hate Bill? Why did she provide Malcolm with the ammunition to give him an agenda for the coming parliamentary session? No doubt Shorten is well aware that:

    Malcolm Turnbull called it “outrageous” and immediately invoked respect for the rule of law as the basic prerequisite of leadership. It was a slam-dunk. McManus had handed the PM an enormous stick.

    Expect it to be swung with nauseating frequency at Bill Shorten when Parliament resumes next week.


    Read more here.


  30. Roswell

    One of the problems, ‘leftist’ sites such as this, must face is that contributors become mindless cheerleaders. You know: our heroes can never make mistakes – must always be supported – and any criticism must be disregarded. Look above.

    Perhaps you’re not reading too much here then, Matters Not.

  31. Matters Not

    Deanna Jones re your comment:

    She said exactly what the average voter wants to hear.

    Well you can have your view of the average voter and what they want to hear and I can have mine – which by the way I happen to share with Shorten, Andrews and every other Labor member of Parliament. But yes, I entertain the notion that perhaps there’s one or two who wants to commits political suicide but to date there’re doing so in private.

    Not a mistake? Just watch Turnbull this week in QT. For the foreseeable future she has an albatross round her neck. The LNP knows it. The ALP knows it. And more importantly, she knows it.

    While I have a lot of time for Sally and wish her well – failing to recognise her mistakes is in itself a big mistake.

    Sally is now a significant political player, broadly defined. She carries enormous responsibilities on her back. And the vast majority of same are ‘political’.

  32. Matters Not

    Roswell, perhaps you can point me to a contributor here (apart from me) who isn’t in the business of being a hagiographer re Sally, albeit to a greater or less degree?

  33. Roswell

    Matters Not, I wasn’t referring to this post. I was referring to this ‘leftist site’.

  34. Kaye Lee

    Sally’s election relies on union members and I would suggest that they were probably quite happy with her. I watched the whole interview. In context, I didn’t feel it was an outrageous statement.

  35. Matters Not

    In context, I didn’t feel it was an outrageous statement.

    Actually, neither did I. But if you are going to aspire to be a serious political player, you have to be aware of what ‘meanings’ others will give to your utterances. Shorten, Andrews, Turnbull and a whole host of others understand that. Are you suggesting (as I am) Sally has some learning to do?

    Me – strong union background – the members I represented would support the ‘rule of law’ as a matter of course – common sense and all that.. Perhaps someone could point to a membership group that is/ was otherwise inclined?

  36. Kaye Lee

    I think she is aspiring to be a serious union leader. Sales questions were vacuous – no background, no context, no mention of unsafe work places, and all couched in the typical union bashing phraseology.

    This article is interesting. There have been plenty of “illegal” actions against unjust laws.

    A Fiery Defence Of Sally McManus: Thank Civil Disobedience For The Gains Of Today

  37. Matters Not

    Sales questions were vacuous – no background, no context, no mention of unsafe work places, and all couched in the typical union bashing phraseology.

    Yep! And yet Sally was ‘sucked in’? Or perhaps the ‘devil made her do it’?

    I agree she is:

    aspiring to be a serious union leader

    That she has some way to go won’t be helped by clapping all round.

    BTWS, Sally wasn’t elected by union members – only by union power brokers. And yes – that’s how it operates.

  38. Kaye Lee

    LEIGH SALES: Do you believe in the rule of law?

    SALLY MCMANUS: Ah, yes.

    LEIGH SALES: Given that, will the ACTU consider distancing itself from the CFMEU, which has faced 118 separate legal proceedings where it’s been found to have either broken the law or acted in contempt of court?

    SALLY MCMANUS: There’s no way we will be doing that. I’ll tell you this: the CFMEU, when they have been fined, they have been fined for taking industrial action.

    LEIGH SALES: Illegal industrial action?

    SALLY MCMANUS: It might be illegal industrial action according to our current laws – and our current laws are wrong. It shouldn’t be so hard for workers in our country to be able to take industrial action when they need to.

    Quite often these workers have stopped work because a worker has been killed on a building site.

    And know this: that union gets fined more than the companies that actually kill workers. So Grocon got fined $330,000 for killing five workers, where the CFMEU got fined even more. And I just think that’s totally wrong.

    LEIGH SALES: Yet nonetheless, we live in a country where there are laws that are established by a parliament that all citizens are expected to abide by. So, regardless of whether you agree or disagree with those laws, you said that you believe in the rule of law?

    SALLY MCMANUS: Yeah, I believe in the rule of law where the law is fair, when the law is right. But when it’s unjust, I don’t think there’s a problem with breaking it.

    Note Leigh Sales moved straight on after that answer. If it was so earth shattering you would have thought she would ask a follow-up question, instead of which she asked “Would you agree that it is a lie to claim that penalty rates are being abolished? ” Yet another stupid question to ask McManus.

    As if Sally was going to say that the ACTU would be cutting off the CFMEU. Sales was implying, or even stating, they are all criminals. Stupid bloody interview if you ask me – I wouldn’t have been as calm as Sally with those sort of silly questions.

  39. Matters Not

    Stupid bloody interview if you ask me

    Stupid bloody response if you ask me.

    If you want to ‘play’ at the highest political level, then you need to be aware of how it’s played.

    Dee Madigan – where are you? Sally is in need.

  40. Kaye Lee

    You know I respect your opinion MN but I disagree. I saw nothing wrong with what McManus said. She provided context which was, of course, ignored by the headlines. I found her truth refreshing. She is right – it should not be illegal for workers to withdraw their labour when negotiation fails or for safety reasons. That is the only power they have. Sally is a unionist, not a politician. I do understand the overlap but she showed her loyalty and willingness to stand up for the unions which is, after all, her job. More honesty and less playing politics is a welcome change in my opinion. She wasn’t belligerent or aggressive. She din’t roll her eyes at Sales stupid questions as I would have done. They were insulting to one’s intelligence. I thought she did well.

  41. Kaye Lee

    LEIGH SALES: Can the ALP take the support of unions as a given?

    SALLY MCMANUS: Of course not. I mean, the Labor Party will get our support where they support working people. They have a track record over time of doing that and occasionally they haven’t. And when they don’t, we let them know.

  42. Matters Not

    She provided context which was, of course, ignored by the headlines

    I agree to some extent. The ‘context’ she (inadequately) provided should have come well before she responded (in detail) and it should have been much broader, in an historical sense.

    That it was ignored by ‘the headlines’ should also have been expected. This lack of anticipation is a fail.

    As for:

    Sally is a unionist, not a politician.

    No longer. She is now a politician. And a significant one.

    And I am confident she will become an effective one.

    Re” .

    And when they don’t, we let them know

    ” – by recommending a vote for the LNP? I think not.

  43. Roswell

    By recommending a vote for the LNP!

    Did you make that one up?

  44. Kaye Lee

    To paraphrase Midnight Oil, when the donors speak you better listen to them

  45. nurses1968

    I am agreeing with Matters Not on this as I think Bill will have Question Time nightmares this week and it has given Turnbull oxygen
    The last thing Turnbull should get is a bump in the polls but he did
    Newspoll today have it back to 48-52
    After Mr Turnbull unveiled a “Snowy 2.0” plan for energy security, met gas company chiefs to ­improve domestic supply and ­attacked claims from ACTU secretary Sally McManus that it was acceptable to break “unjust” laws, the Prime Minister saw a small rise in his personal satisfaction rating and a fall in dissatisfaction with his performance.


  46. Michael

    Matters Not March 19, 2017 at 10:37 pm

    ” Anyone who has even a little bit of political nous knows that it’s political poison to advocate the ‘junking’ of the rule of law.”

    Some of us were you around during Vietnam protests – no mention of “junking” the rule of law.

    Two overlooked distinctions need to be raised
    (a) how law is made – on close inspection of the process one could say rigged/slanted/biased – and
    (b) how unions respond those laws aimed at the share of proceeds of enterprise (risk, capital).

    This is my interpretation which may not be Sally’s intent.

    With respect to “After all we are talking about political ‘realities’ here and not philosophical musings.”

    It is with philosophical musings that we can gain insight into what/how/better is happening.

    However, it would be uncharacteristic for Trumble-ites not to revert to a full frontal child-like petulant, vain, even maniacal distraction effort.

  47. Michael

    Sorry, Matters Not March 20, 2017 at 12:58 am

    As for:

    Sally is a unionist, not a politician.

    No longer. She is now a politician. And a significant one.

    Any 2 people in any room or vain person and a mirror = politics

  48. Terry2

    Ged Kearney made some good and sensible points this morning , for example :

    The suffragettes had to break the antiquated laws of that era to gain the vote for women : something the coalition are probably still smarting about.

    I remember the demonstrations by women, chaining themselves to the bar at the Regatta Hotel in Brisbane, breaking the law so that women could have equal rights in pubs : Dutton would have had them all locked up for that.

  49. nurses1968


    Anyone who has even a little bit of political nous knows that it’s political poison to advocate the ‘junking’ of the rule of law.”
    Early morning talkback radio are having a good time with this simply around the issue of who determines “unjust” and to what Laws
    It will inevitably lead to a whole can of worms for Shorten and the ALP
    A couple of examples of how this can get away from the original comment
    Caller 1 ” I buy smokes legally at a smoke shop in a shopping Mall,I should chose to break the law and smoke in the premises where the legal purchase of a legal and taxed product is sold so will the ACTU and Labor support my right?”
    caller 2 “I want to own a gun for my families protection as I live in an area where junkies and no hopers abound sp would Sally assist me in breaking an unjust law to help protect my family?”
    I understand Sallys intent but now it is out there where does it end as Australia is big on” Lora Nordor”

  50. Kaye Lee

    I am sick and tired of pussy-footing political games.

    The eight-hour work day, employer-contributed superannuation, holiday pay, sick leave, maternity leave, penalty rates, equal pay; you enjoy these rights, which we now take for granted, because people before you broke ‘unjust laws’ and fought for them.

    McManus was not advocating robbing banks, murder or breaking the road rules; she was talking about unions taking strike action, which, under most circumstances in Australia’s workplace law system, is illegal.

    Last year there was an investigation of more than 500 Fairfax journalists potentially being fined $10,000 each. Bloody thugs!

    I cannot for the life of me understand this hysterical overreaction to someone telling the truth for once. If Shorten can’t handle this, he doesn’t deserve to be leader.

    As for talk back radio, what a bunch of ill-informed morons. Striking doesn’t kill people but not walking off an unsafe work site certainly does. What the hell does the right to strike have to do with smoking and guns?

  51. helvityni

    Nurses, I could never listen to the talk-back radio, you must be made of sterner stuff than I, seeing Dutton or Hanson on TV, even with sound off is almost unbearable to me….

  52. nurses1968

    Kaye Lee
    “f Shorten can’t handle this, he doesn’t deserve to be leader.”

    Shorten didn’t in any way create this he will just be the one left with the bullseye on his back
    Want to guess what Question Time will be about this week?

    “McManus was not advocating robbing banks, murder or breaking the road rules; she was talking about unions taking strike action, which, under most circumstances in Australia’s workplace law system, is illegal.”

    No, she was on about unjust laws,

    Who determines whether a Law is unjust or not?

  53. Kaye Lee

    “Who determines whether a Law is unjust or not?

    Oh for Pete’s sake. Can you put your personal animosity towards me away for a change. What a ridiculous thing to say.

    Who gets to tell workers they cannot walk off an unsafe work site? Radio shock jocks?

    I don’t really give a rat’s ass what happens in the circus they call Question Time. Shorten can turn tail and run if he wants to or he can point out the many unjust laws that have been changed through civil disobedience and industrial action. He could talk about the power inequity between the owners of the capital and the workers. He could talk about the many workplace deaths and injuries and the countless legal breaches by employers. He could point out that not all unionists are criminals and thugs, just people who want a fair day’s pay for a fair days work, and the expectation that they will still be alive and uninjured at the end of the day.

    Of course he would never have the courage to do any of that because he is an ambitious politician. Self-interest is his prime concern. Thank God for people like Sally McManus who is not intimidated by what Ray Hadley and Andrew Bolt say.

    I note no-one is attacking childcare workers for striking last week.

  54. nurses1968

    Kaye Lee
    “Can you put your personal animosity towards me away for a change.”
    I have no personal animosity towards you. You really don’t rate on my scale to hold views on .
    I have learnt from past experience that on AIMN to word of Kaye Lee cannot be questioned.
    Again, Who determines what Law is unjust?
    ” Shorten can turn tail and run if he wants to ”
    I expected that but seeing He or any other ALP MP has made a view known it is hardly up to him to defend Sallys statements.

  55. Michael

    In support hopefully – Kaye Lee March 20, 2017 at 11:14 am – as citizens we have to realise and make our so called representatives realise that it is not THEM who give US permission – it is us who give permission to ourselves to act as citizens in a democracy guided by our morals, ethics, sense of justice, fairness and equity – WE (SHOULD) GIVE OURSELVES PERMISSION (MORE OFTEN), a permission to which we have been gradually anesthetised – democracy is not a spectator sport – and then maybe the representatives will not delude themselves that not acting in citizens’ interest over their own (I know what is good for you) is somehow regarded as Strength, Unity and Loyalty to another form of power/money/ideology making machine.

  56. Michael Taylor

    I have learnt from past experience that on AIMN to word of Kaye Lee cannot be questioned.

    I have not noticed that at all. What I have noticed is a trait that is similar to mine: she is intolerant of stupidity.

    Point is, if you want an intelligent debate … start one.

  57. Kaye Lee

    “on AIMN to word of Kaye Lee cannot be questioned.”

    Just stop it nurses – truly.

    The Labor Party is no friend of the unions. They have shown that very clearly. Workers’ conditions are almost always subordinated to Labor’s electoral success. By willingly subverting industrial muscle to legal processes through the Accord and the Fair Work Act, both initiated by Labor, the union movement forfeited its power. Unionism represents a chance for workers to hold power, but it’s unlikely to be realised as long as party affiliation continues with weak-kneed ambitious politicians who put their personal success in front of workers’ rights.

  58. nurses1968

    Sally McManus time would best be spent dragging the SDA into the 21st Century and stopping the free fall decline in Union Membership and that’s coming from a paid up Union member, me

  59. Kaye Lee

    The Retail and Fast Food Workers’ Union has recently formed in response to the systemic failures of the SDA.

    The Accord played a part in the decline in union membership as has the casualisation of the workforce, 457 visas and the offshoring of manufacturing. Many people are contract employees now too. With stagnant wages, uncertain employment, record private debt, and news in the control of Murdoch, we have exactly what Marx said capitalism needs to survive – an ill-informed compliant workforce too scared to risk making waves.

    “The capitalist maintains his rights as a purchaser when he tries to make the working day as long as possible … and the worker maintains his right as a seller when he wished to reduce the working day to a particular normal length. There is here therefore an antinomy, or right against right, both equally bearing the seal of the law of exchange. Between equal rights, force decides.”
    – Karl Marx

  60. nurses1968

    Kaye Lee
    “The Labor Party is no friend of the unions.”
    Now that is your opinion and I can understand where you are coming from with your total dislike of the ALP but the Union?ALP relationship is very strong still

  61. Michael Taylor

    Where has Kaye said she dislikes the ALP?

  62. Kaye Lee

    I didn’t Michael. nurses says it a lot though. Criticism of the Labor Party, whether real or perceived, immediately makes you affiliated with some other party in some people’s minds.

  63. nurses1968

    Michael Taylor
    Would you like me to go back through the comments and collect a few of the baggings .
    I don’t mind personally everyone is entitled to their views but it isn’t a bad idea to accept ownership

  64. Michael Taylor

    That would be so petty.

    I like Labor too, yet I’ve bagged them at times. Perhaps you can go through my comments as well. But for every bagging, you’ll find a thousand in support of Labor.

    But why stop and Kaye and I? Why not include all our writers? Chuck in a few commenters as well.

  65. Michael Taylor

    Memo to Kaye: start bagging Labor so nurses has something to research.

  66. Kaye Lee

    Ownership of what? The fact that I criticise the Labor Party? That I want better from them?

    Don’t bother trawling back through comments. I’ll give you Exhibit A right now.

    Speaking of ownership, why did Shorten say “We will support the independent umpire’s decision” when he should have immediately said we will not agree to the lowest paid workers taking a pay cut? Why did he agree to axing the Schoolkids Bonus? Where is the campaign against the cuts to paid parental leave proposed in the omnibus bill? Why didn’t they increase Newstart whilst in government? Why did he throw Julia Gillard under a bus? I could go on…..

    I criticise my children. Doesn’t mean I have disowned them. I criticise my husband. We have been living together for over 40 years.

  67. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    “When Liberal governments bash unions, workers don’t see a hero fighting against a villain. They see a villain threatening their hero. With wage growth at record lows, workers need a hero. They have one in Sally McManus. Anyone stupid enough to fight the hero of workers, better be ready for an army poised to join their hero into battle.”

    Powerful words, Victoria. Very well said. Sally McManus is a star. Thank goodness, one has finally risen!

    As said on another thread, I rang the ACTU to congratulate Sally McManus’ measured and thoughtful response to Sales’ question about breaking unjust laws. McManus was not caught in her trap. McManus knew exactly what she was doing and she won the hearts and minds of many ready and willing supporters.

    When I rang the ACTU, I also advised that the ACTU and she needs also to staunchly support UNemployed workers too because they also want to be paid for their labour and expertise. The young man I was speaking to was appreciably very supportive of my viewpoint.

    Scaredy-cat pollies need to come out of the closet and declare their support for people like McManus, who will fight for better conditions for vulnerable people. The stronger they call, the stronger the support they will get from the growing numbers of people in the community, who are increasingly finding themselves falling through the cracks.

  68. Mark Needham

    Not sure I agree entirely with Sally, but she has the Right to defy/break any law she wishes too.
    Kaye Lee, I am on your side with/agin Nurses, but I reckon nurses is a lot closer to your argument, than I am to yours.

    Me, Unions, nothing but , well, I’m no fan of theirs.
    Workers rights, yup, have some of that. Employers rights, even some of that. But Greed, Hypocrisy and bloody mindedness, reckon I am out of here.

    Get down to nuts and bolts though, you would be surprised, how close I am to you in political speak.

    I just question the seemingly, “Inalienable Right, to be Correct. You mate, are Wrong”

    When I break a speed limit, get fined, I must accept responsibility though. I can not just “flip it of” as being an unjust law.

    Or….Can I.?
    Mark Needham

  69. Kaye Lee

    Speeding kills people. So do unsafe work places.

  70. Michael Taylor

    I just think it’s a damn shame that in this country you have to watch what you say in case the government and the media (two entities that demand free speech) try to twist it around to get political points.

    So should have Sally said what she said? ‘No’ because the government and the media will use it against her, the unions and the opposition (which they have). ‘Yes’ because she was right.

  71. Michael

    Mark Needham March 20, 2017 at 3:01 pm

    Can a distinction be made between
    – unions and their reason for being and
    – the humans who are in charge and how they got there
    – ?

  72. Kaye Lee

    And therein lies the conundrum Michael.

    Everything, truth included, is subjugated to electoral victory at any cost. And instead of standing up and making the case for what is right, policy is led by focus groups and polls. That’s what gives shock jocks and Murdoch their power.

    In return for legislated wage restraint in the Accord, we were promised price restraint and an increased “social wage.”

    We got the wage restraint, and for a while the social wage thing was going ok. But bit by bit they are trying to take that all away. They want user-pays health, university is no longer free, they are winding back penalty rates and paid parental leave, they froze the scheduled increase to the superannuation guarantee, they didn’t get rid of regressive taxes that hit the poor the hardest – far from it, we got the super regressive GST while the top tax bracket dropped from 60% to 47% and tax concessions for the wealthy were expanded.

    There seems no price restraint either.

    Deal’s off as far as I’m concerned. Time to remind people of the power of numbers and I don’t mean in parliament.

  73. jimhaz

    It wasn’t very sophisticated, you know like Pauline is now sophisticated, but I’ve no issue with her saying it. Industrial laws to me are mere guidelines, not so much laws.

    I’d imagine most of those squealing about her saying it, probably tell porkies come tax time. If they are pollies well they constantly break the law by charging taxpayers for entertainment and party lobbying activities.

  74. nurses1968

    Kaye Lee
    “Time to remind people of the power of numbers”
    Here you have the opportunity
    It is March in March next weekend so get your numbers massed out there

  75. jimhaz

    [Would you like me to go back through the comments and collect a few of the baggings]

    While your at it, I have this special ring I’ve been looking for. Its really precious to me, more so even than safety or penalty rates. l’m a bit busy today to look myself – the darn LNP Nazgul are acting up as usual.

    [But for every bagging, you’ll find a thousand in support of Labor]

    Well, I think Bilbo would have voted ALP, but Frodo was probably a greenie trying to save the world.

  76. Kaye Lee


    I will be there again as no doubt will Father Rod. We see each other on a regular basis at protests.

    Date: 25/03/2017

    Time: 10:45 – 13:00

    Location: Carrawah Reserve

    This is what I wrote after the inaugural March in March

    To Tory Shepherd

  77. Kaye Lee


    I’m fairly certain Saruman was a Liberal but perhaps Pauline could have turned him.

  78. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    When is Melbourne’s March in March?

  79. nurses1968

    “but Frodo was probably a greenie trying to save the world.”
    Well i’d never find that as the Greens are a protected species on here or if I.m wrong could you give me a link to any article

  80. Mick Byron

    Jennifer Meyer-Smith
    I too have a problem finding locations times etc and I wrote on an article here on IMN just days ago

    So many reasons to March in March

    Mick ByronMarch 18, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    February 27, 2017 at 8:57 am
    Everywhere I’ve posted the March in March details, it’s attracted little or no attention.

    I have similar experiences and it seems that there are only about one third the venues of 2015 virtually no publicity no response from organisers regarding march locations dates or times and very little community interest.The very worst thing that could happen is a rally that turns out to be a flop and this is how this is shaping up.
    Sometimes it is better to have no rally at all than one the opposition can use as a tool of ridicule

  81. Kyran

    Try this one, Ms Meyer-Smith and Mr Byron.


    It might work. Thank you, Ms Rollinson, and commenters. Take care

  82. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Good one, Kyran

  83. paulwalter

    Speaking of unions and commonsense debates, what is with the black out re the Inpex sackings in Darwin?

    NOWHERE, NOBODY has elaborated on the mystery.

    Am I missing something? Please, somebody SAY something!!

  84. randalstella

    Kaye Lee,
    Do you think your opinions make any difference at all, including your criticisms of the ALP, if – as intimated – you would vote for them anyway? Why would they care what you thought?
    How’s the hunch going about the ALP supporting the Adani mine just as an electoral tactic?

    Why is this issue not a hot topic on this site in 2017? It is everywhere I go.
    Have all those interested been warned away by Labor lovelies?

  85. randalstella

    Oh yeh,
    There is going to be resistance to this appalling mine and this appalling mining company.
    Very unjustly Native Title rights are being annulled for Adani to take over the site.
    I wonder if the Labor spruikers will extend their sense of civil liberties to those opposing such a change of law, and opposing this calamitous mine.

  86. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Good points, randalstella.

    I want Palaszczuk and Shorten to be brought to account for Adani mine support.

  87. Michael Taylor

    I think that Melbourne has pulled out of the march.

  88. Jennifer Meyer-Smith


    is that after what Kyran posted @6.23pm?

  89. Michael Taylor

    Yes. It’s now been confirmed that they have pulled out.

  90. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Bad shit

  91. Kaye Lee

    “Kaye Lee,
    Do you think your opinions make any difference at all, including your criticisms of the ALP,”

    Probably not randalstella but I have to live with myself and keeping quiet is not an option. I express my opinion, I pass on information, and I do what I can in my community.

  92. Mick Byron

    Michael Taylor
    I received an email about centres withdrawing from March in March but have no way of confirming as the organisers do not respond.It seems 3 locations in W.A. Grafton Illawarra Byron Bay Shoalhaven and a number of regional Victorian Marches are no longer.I cannot confirm this but if you live in any of the regions and intend to participate it may be advantageous to check locally.
    Do you have any details of other cancellations Michael or do you know of any sources for verification
    It also seems that the Western Sydney March in March is not in Western Sydney but will be held at Belmore Basin.
    A few days out and this seems to be headed to disaster central

  93. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    My sources have told me that the Union Movement took over the March in March movement. I saw that myself 2 or 3 years ago in Melbourne.

    So where is the Union Movement now to ensure the March in Marches continue?


    People’s Movement or
    March in Marches or
    Women’s Marches or
    I Hate Neoliberalists Marches (my invention)
    should all go hand in hand and the organisers should not let their egos get in the way
    of the total Galvanised People’s Discontent being expressed.

    I want to hear Sally McManus explain why Melbourne won’t have the March in March. What’s gone wrong?

  94. Mick Byron

    Jennifer Meyer-Smith
    There doesn’t seem to be much control or ownership of the events by Unions
    March in March appears to be a branch of March Australia with other off shoots and I do note one domain is for sale

    An incorporated website based arm of the broader March Australia movement, March Australia Activist Interchange provides an event calendar and information exchange for activist groups, organisations and individuals to share and cross-promote their events and activities.

    About Us


  95. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    So does that mean March in March just boils down to a commodity?

    If so, I and other believers, have been fooled by the very people who should be trusted.

  96. Michael Taylor

    Jennifer, it’s basically the same person who started March in March. It’s just a name change.

  97. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    Which person?

    There are more forces than just one involved, Michael.

    So, where have they all gone?

    If March in March is extinct now, more reason to support McManus’ intent to lead the People’s Movement.

    Just one thing though, Sally and minders, don’t stuff around too long before you show when the People’s Movement will start.

    I expect it to be in 24 days.

  98. LOVO

    One wonders if’n joining an Union would increase the march beyond March….just sayin’.
    My view of Sally is that she will be oft divisive….and seldom wrong!!

  99. Roswell

    LOVO, I thought everyone was in a union up your way.

  100. Ella Miller

    I find it rather sad that what is a very important debate should deteriorate into personal attacks. The LNP are good at this. When they are loosing the debate they resort to the personal. Dutton’s comment “go back to your knitting” comes to mind.
    It is SAD that some people who make comment on this page resort to the same tactic.

    My question is ;
    Does GOD make laws or man?
    What is the purpose of any law made by man?

    To me the purpose of any law is to alter, behaviour, control behaviour, alter opinion.

    I for one agree with Kaye and Sally.

    Man makes laws , as society changes and attitudes change laws are seen as no longer just…therefore for the wellbeing of all it is our DUTY
    to fight against such laws.

    I for one am prepared to go to prison to defend my right to fight injustice caused by unfair, unjust laws.

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