Australia: May Day in Sydney and Melbourne

Opposition to the state Labor government’s plans to privatise the electricity industry.

The Sydney May Day rally got off to a good start with a large crowd gathering even before the official start time of 9.30am. It is estimated that almost 2000 people took part in the rally outside the venue of the New South Wales Labor Party conference on Saturday May 3.

The main theme of the day was opposition to the state Labor government’s plans to privatise the electricity industry. Many people were wore bright yellow ‘stop the power sell off’ t-shirts.

Most of the crowd were either union officials or from the various left political organisations. Some unions had a large presence on the rally but in general the unions could have done a better job of organising for more rank and file members to attend.

The vocal crowd marched around Darling Harbour in front of the ALP Conference venue calling on the delegates to vote down the privatisation proposal which was to be discussed later in the day.

The proposal was subsequently voted down by 702 to 107. Despite this NSW Premier Morris Iemma has pledged to defy the conference decision and go ahead with the privatisation.

If he is successful in convincing the parliamentary caucus, pressure will be back on the unions to step up the campaign and organise more protests and industrial action.

In Melbourne over 500 people attended the rally on Sunday May 4 outside the Victorian Trades Hall. The crowd marched through the city centre and eventually back to Trades Hall to hear several speakers and music.

For the first time a small group of Fascists disguised as Black Bloc ‘National Anarchists’ tried to infiltrate the rally. They were flanked by two mounted police officers at the rear of the march.

SP members warned the police not to support the Fascists and told them to leave the march. Despite the boldness of the Fascists to even attend the march they were visibly frightened and left the rally almost as soon as they were approached.

On a day when we celebrate internationalism and working class unity there is no room for the racist crimes of Fascism. The labour movement needs to ensure that this scum is not allowed to infiltrate our rallies in the future.

May Day rallies and celebrations also took place in several other cities and towns including Adelaide and Perth.

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