I spent only two days in Melbourne – far too little time. This was my fifth visit to the city.
My first meeting was with Paul Slape of the ASU and members of his staff. We discussed a wide range of issues related to Internet activism and spent a considerable amount of time discussing mobile Internet, including SMS text messaging. If you visit the ASU website, you’ll notice the front page lists of LabourStart’s active campaigns and our global news feed.
My first evening in Melbourne I was interviewed by a union radio show in Adelaide — Your Rights at Night, which is broadcast every Thursday evening. Why does Australia have labour radio shows in at least three cities, while in Britain – to my knowledge – we don’t have even one?
Friday was mostly taken up by another full day seminar with trade unionists from a wide range of unions and from all over Australia, held at the ACTU headquarters. The all-day event was largely a repeat of what happened in Sydney two days earlier with a similar number of participants — between 40 and 50. As in Sydney, the event was organized by the ACTU’s Education Campaign Centre and we met in the Centre’s Bob Hawke Room.
This was followed by a meeting with ACTU President Sharan Burrow and several of her staff. Sharan wears several hats in the international trade union movement, also serving as president of the 168-million member International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) — a fact which oddly enough is not mentioned on the ACTU site. (The site does mention Sharan’s role in the ITUC’s predecessor organization which has not existed for nearly two years.)
The highlight of any trip to Melbourne has to be visiting the cafes and bookshops on Lygon Street, so even though we had only a short amount of free time, this included brief visits to Brunetti’s and Readings.