Of the thousands of words in the hundreds of articles written about Sally McManus none describe her more passionately – or more succinctly – than these offered by Trish Corry:
“Sally McManus is everywhere. Fighting the good fight. Travelling all over Australia. Standing with workers. Speaking words of hope [my emphasis]. Fighting for workers. Standing in Solidarity with the unemployed. Fighting for all of us. Knocking down walls. Smashing the insidious thought that has permeated our culture since Howard, that “Workers will get what they are given.”
Telling us to stand together to not back down. A consistent strong unwavering message of hope and fairness, every, single day. Every, single day.”
These were the words that I carried with me when I was fortunate enough to be invited to hear Sally McManus speak to an enthusiastic crowd at the North East Borders Trades and Labour Council. These words were all I needed to know. Sally McManus filled in the rest.
And I was not disappointed. I was, in fact, inspired; inspired to hear a champion of the people who so clearly and precisely – and with passion – expressed her wish to help bridge the inequality gap in this country.
Ms McManus spoke of many things, but it was the way she expressed her concern for this vital issue that hit home for me, and which I will now focus on:
“Inequality is at a 70 year high, and the question to ask is how did we get here? How did we get to this situation where wage growth is at records lows? Where 40 per cent of working people are in insecure work? How did we get to this situation?”
“We got here because for 30 years federal governments have followed the ideology of neo-liberalism – trickle-down economics: An ideology that we should privatise everything we’ve got and we should attack worker’s rights. We should create a smaller government and we should should give tax cuts to the rich. This ideology follows that we should hand over our money to the wealthy.”
“So what have we now got? A fall in the number of steady jobs. Casualisation of the workforce. Record low wage growth. Inequality.”
“Those at the top now have so much wealth that policies work in their favour. Their money goes overseas and they get tax breaks. In the meantime, worker’s rights are being taken away.”
“There are two ways we can address this: We can make everyone pay their fair share of tax; and we can give workers stronger rights so they can get fair pay rises.”
“Worldwide the ideology of neo-liberalism has failed. And we need to replace it.”
“But who can we rely on to bring on this change? We can’t rely on the government, so who do we rely on? Us. Our parents did it. Our grandparents did it. Now it’s up to us.”
“We need to give people hope that there is a solution. But we need to move public opinion.”
“However, ready to stop us is the right-wing media and the government itself.”
“But people are up to it. We just need to give them hope.”
“We don’t want the next generation after us to have the same problems that neo-liberalism has given us.”
It was a simple message: Without activism now, the next generation will have fewer opportunities and the many benefits of a wealthy society will not trickle-down to them. Instead of their future being one of security; of employment, housing, education … it will be one of continued and ever-increasing inequality.
The reason we have so much inequality is because so many people have so little power. The time has come to change this imbalance. We need to swing the pendulum back.
The growing inequality can no longer be excused away and now is the time to take action.
There are so many people in the community who simply aren’t aware of just how serious is the issue of inequality and its ramifications for the future well-being of our nation. Sally McManus is bringing this awareness to the community, however, in spite of her clear and obvious talent in representing the hopes and dreams of so many, Sally McManus cannot do it alone.
Let’s stand by her.
See also on The AIMN: