After five years in power - two of them in a hung parliament - the federal Labor government was trailing badly in the polls and speculation was mounting about the future of Prime Minister Julia Gillard. A crucial element in the fortunes of Labor and its leader was the party's relationship with the trade union movement - particularly its peak body, the Australian Council of Trade Unions.
In her first address to the Melbourne Press Club, ACTU president Ged Kearney spoke frankly about the place of trade unions in Australia today, about the union movement's relationship with Labor in power and about the state of Australian politics.
Melbourne is the home of Australia’s union movement, and Kearney is passionate about the city’s culture and politics. She grew up in Richmond – and remains a vocal Tigers’ supporter – and began her working life as a nurse before entering the union movement.
After overseeing rapid growth by the Australian Nursing Federation, she was elected ACTU President in 2010, and re-elected at its Congress in May this year. She strongly believes that unions must be at the forefront of the national debate as a strong and independent voice for working Australians and their families.
In the Media
Workchoices far from 'dead, buried, cremated': ACTU president says | Clay Lucas, The Age
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ACTU to campaign against Coalition on IR | Nine News