Cyclists deliver message to Canberra

By Hugh Clark RN, Rozelle Hospital, and Dr Mark Dalgleish, RPAH

In November, around 70 bicycle riders and supporters rode from Sydney to Canberra.

The 300km distance was cycled as a statement to the Howard administration about what we and millions of other working Australians think about the new industrial relations `reforms` the government refers to as WorkChoices.

Also the Howard Government’s spending of $100million of taxpayer’s money on a propaganda campaign, which is little more than Liberal Party ideology, was seen as grotesque.

This ride was a healthy way to deliver this message and support all workers, including nurses who will be particularly affected by this legislation.

The Unions NSW bright orange bus, together with our bright orange t-shirts, proved a very vivid sight that attracted the attention from well-wishers and local media.

After a three-day journey, the riders and supporters converged on Parliament House in Canberra. With whistles blowing, we delivered a powerful message to the government that this draconian legislation will not be accepted.

During the ride we were to learn some very frightening facts about this legislation. One that requires special mention is for those employees whom are currently on an enterprise agreement.

All the employer need do is give 90 days notice prior to the expiration of the agreement and they would be reduced to the five minimum conditions, not the award.

There are no choices in Howard’s WorkChoices unless you count the door as a choice. The claim that no one will be forced into an individual contract is clearly false.