It's time to hold corporate Australia to account

RTBU National Secretary spoke at the ALP National Conference in Adeliade on Sunday 16 October 2018.

Below is a transcript of his speech.




The forces of privilege hate us.

They hate what we stand for. They hate we get organised. They hate that we fight back.

And they particularly hate that their grip on power is slipping.

An unholy alliance of ideologically obsessed lawyers, politicians and executives seeing their grip on greed being replaced by a focus on fairness.

Delegates, through a series of rorts, technicalities and loopholes, we've seen the bar on acceptable behaviour for the big end of get lower and lower, and they have no compunction about mercilessly crawling under it.

Fees for no service, charging people after they've died, wage theft, tax avoidance.

Behaviour, flippantly explained away, because they claim Australia is built on a system of shareholder primacy.

Waging siege on workers by weaponising the economy to land the lowest rate of wages growth for decades.

Where full time jobs are being converted to part time jobs.

Part time jobs are converted to casual jobs.

And casual jobs replaced by so-called gigs.

Everywhere you turn, ordinary Australians under this watch of these vigilantes are being pushed down the ladder.

It's not that they don't get what they're doing.

They do.

And they don't just try to get away with it, they revel in it.

They paint their avarice as a virtue.

As if they are doing us all a favour by drawing on our labour, our creativity; social and natural capital to earn a quid - but leaving it to ordinary people to deal with the consequence of excesses, to pick up the pieces for workers; consumers; the environment.

The lying, cheating, polluting and rorting polluted with the same answer:"we're compelled to behave this way because our mission under the Corporations Act is to maximise value for our shareholders."

It's the all-purpose legal vindication for everything.

This isn't what Australia is meant to be like.

The excesses, the selfishness and the heartlessness of the last five years - that is not our Australia.

The gap between the haves and the have nots, between those gaming the system and those being gamed by the system

That's not my Australia. It's not our Australia.

Delegates, its times like this we don't just survive. We thrive.

For our opponent's, screwing people down is just a job.

For us, the need to build people up is in every fibre of our being.

Fairness, equality and inclusive growth, in every fibre of our being.

Unlike our opponents, this fight is personal - not just political.

Delegates, that's why it's time to hold the worst excesses to account.

To take a sledgehammer to the scandals; to the "greed is good" mantra.

To ensure the privilege of receiving a social license to make money is matched with a commitment to act ethically.

Much of the platform sets us on that path, and I can't wait to get in the trenches with Delegates - platform in hand - as we take the fight to the Tories in 2019 and give them the defeat they so thoroughly deserve.