Keeping up the pressure

A network of Your Rights at Work groups throughout NSW is giving nurses a voice on the federal government’s IR laws and the means to make a real difference in the federal election later this year.

After more than one year since the introduction of WorkChoices, the verdict is these laws are hurting working families, including nurses.

Concerned members of the community, including NSWNA members, have been organising meetings, holding campaign stalls and raising awareness about the consequences of WorkChoices with their families and friends and in their workplaces.

Across NSW more than 40 Your Rights at Work (YR@W) local groups have been formed, with many more throughout the rest of the country – including in regional centres.

The 2004 election was one in which John Howard tricked Australians to vote for an industrial relations revolution he had always wanted. This year unions, including the NSWNA, are determined their members are fully informed about the nature of the laws and that we turn the federal election into a referendum on their future.

Two years of campaigning by union members against these unfair laws have made both major parties sit up and take notice. Our challenge is to keep up the pressure until election day and see these laws scrapped.

In a federal election year, our enthusiasm and commitment will make a huge difference.

There are more than 1,300 NSWNA members who live and work in John Howard’s own electorate of Bennelong, on Sydney’s north shore. We have the ability to make a huge difference to the election outcome – in a seat that requires a swing of less than 3,000 votes to change hands.

Getting involved is easy and fun

YR@W local groups usually hold branch meetings around once a month. Here you can have your say about workplace issues and how the IR laws are impacting on you and your workplace. Events and resources are also coordinated and future activities are planned by the group. New members are always welcome.

Talk to your colleagues

Getting your own workplace organised is an important way you can help build and assist your local Rights at Work group. This could involve talking to your co-workers about the IR laws, encouraging your association branch executive to organise YR@W events at your workplace and identifying and signing-up new and potential members who are keen to help the campaign.

Training courses available

5 June – Targeted seat, 1-day workshop (Penrith Paceway).
6 June – Targeted seat, 1-day workshop (Lindsay, Bennelong, Parramatta, Inner City, North & Eastern Sydney). Ground floor training room 1, UnionsNSW.
18 –19 June – Targeted seat, 1-day workshop (Page and Richmond). Lismore.
20 July – Targeted seat, 1-day workshop (Eden-Monaro, Gilmore, Hughes & Illawarra/Wollongong).

If you wish to participate in any of the above courses or if you live in the electorates of Page, Eden-Monaro, Lindsay, Macquarie, Dobell or Bennelong and would like to get involved in the YR@W campaign in these marginal seats, then please email Rita Martin at for further details of the above events.

Marginal seats are the key battleground

NSW unions have targeted six marginal seats and here is how to get involved – let’s also send a message to the Prime Minister in his own seat of Bennelong …

  • Find the location of your local Your Rights at Work group and attend a meeting (see below).
  • Encourage your friends, neighbours and work mates to come along to YR@W meetings.
  • Make sure you are correctly enrolled to vote on the electoral roll.
  • Encourage your local YR@W branch and association branch to run a stall to distribute flyers and information.
  • Make sure your workplace has a supply of NSWNA posters, badges and YR@W stickers.
  • Make sure there are NSWNA membership forms, enrol to vote forms, posters and YR@W flyers and information available in your staff room.
  • Let your branch executive know you are interested in getting involved in YR@W campaigns.
  • Encourage potential non-members to join the Association and get active in the YR@W campaign.
  • Write a Letter to the Editor in your local newspaper and The Lamp about Howard’s IR laws.
  • Order a Nurses Rights at Work T-shirt.
  • Watch the latest Your Rights at Work advertisements on YouTube
  • Take photographs of Your Rights at Work events and submit them to The Lamp (email: and your local media outlet.
  • Visit the NSW Nurses’ Association website regularly for updates and news of upcoming events: