It really doesn’t seem that far away, but twelve months ago today FairWork Australia approved our application for a protected action ballot. Five days later saw the first of what was a record-breaking eight statewide members’ meetings.
I remember every meeting, every vote, every signature, every event, every t-shirt, every photo, every community rally, every speech, every post, every sausage, every walk-out, every interview, every ad, every letter to the editor, every visit to a politician’s office, every door knocked, every ribbon given, every song of our campaign.
And I would do it all again. But I would so much rather use that energy to fight for better conditions, not the same; for more graduate nurse and midwife places; for pay that comes close to parity. Or even for delivering patient care.
Our battle was won, but we do not stand alone – across the state emergency services (SES, MFB, CFA), other professionals (primary and secondary teachers, TAFE educators), and the future of our state are under attack. As I type this our Mental Health colleagues are still waiting for their EBA to be finalised – through no failure on the part of our tireless staff and Executive.
So when you go to vote – for the Federal government, in just over a years’ time, or for the State Parliament in two years, a months, three weeks and a day from now – think about what you want. Do you want a government that respects nurses and midwives, that won’t promise what it can’t deliver,t hat’s responsive to the needs of the community it serves? Or do you want another round of the hardest, most bitter, prolonged, divisive, uniting, triumphant campaigns in Victorian industrial relations history? Because I know we can do it all over again – I’d just rather we didn’t have to. How about you?