As you may know, the Australian government is currently attempting to radically "reform" that country's industrial relations laws along the lines of our old Employment Contracts Act. But where the ECA at least had some minimal protections and the pretense of a "level playing field", the Australian legislation won't - workers will have no protection against unfair dismissal (allowing them to be fired for union membership or on the basis of political or religious belief), unions will be forbidden from representing workers in certain matters even by free consent of the parties, and strikes will effectively be banned. The "reforms" will also lower the minimum wage. The overall effect will be to allow employers to unilaterally dictate terms and put downward pressure on wages and conditions, allowing them to extract higher profits at the expense of their workers - exactly as happened here during the early 90's. And naturally, it's all being rammed through the Australian Parliament with no time for proper scrutiny...
The Australian unions are holding a National Day of Community Protest on Tuesday, November 15th to protest these changes. A spart of this, the NZ CTU has organised solidarity protests in Auckland and Wellington. Here's the details:
Wellington: 4.30pm, Nov 15
Rally outside the Australian High Commission
72-76 Hobson St, Thorndon (near cnr of Hobson St & Fitzherbert Tce)
Auckland: 4.30pm, Nov 15
Rally outside the Australian Consulate-General
188 Quay St (PricewaterhouseCoopers Tower, near cnr of Quay & Lower Albert St).
If you don't find solidarity to be a compelling reason, try selfishness: These changes will also affect us. If you are thinking of joining the brain drain and hopping the ditch, then these changes will directly influence the wages and conditions you get over there. In New Zealand, the ECA caused some groups to suffer a 25% cut in their wages. That's a lot of money that could be going to the student loan. More importantly, many Australian companies operate in New Zealand, and they will be looking to make similar changes here if they get away with it in Australia. And that is something that should concern every worker in New Zealand.
And OTOH, this will at least close the much vaunted wage gap with Australia...