Not Dead Yet: The Australian Union Movement and the Defeat of a Government
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Australian unions launched the 'Your Rights at Work' campaign to combat the hostile 'Work Choices' legislation, introduced in an already difficult environment in which union influence had waned significantly. The campaign was central to the defeat of the Howard government. It was unmatched in Australian political and industrial history owing to: its scale and duration; its diversity of activities and technologies; its degree of community support; and its expense. The choice of specific repertoires of contention, the management of protest identities, the increased self-reflexivity of both the movement as a whole and many of the activists within it and the willingness of unions to devote vast resources to the campaign were critical to its success. The willingness of the union movement to adapt and innovate around its traditional responses - especially mass protest - and consciously repackage its image underpinned the success. Not all the union movement's goals were achieved, as union membership failed to increase, but the prospects for union survival and growth are much stronger as a result of having defeated Work Choices.
Social Movement Studies
© 2010 Routledge. This is an electronic version of an article published in Architectural Theory Review, Volume 9, Issue 2, 2010, Pages 215-228. Architectural Theory Review is available online at: http://www.informaworld.com with the open URL of your article.