Change the senate change the rules

Regardless of when Scott Morrison and his hopeless government decide to call the election, on June 30 Australia will have a new Senate.  

Half of our 76 Senators will be replaced or returned for a 6 year term. 

For most of the last decade, the balance of power in the Senate has been held by a ragtag group of independent and minor party senators.

It is rare for a Government to hold a majority in the Senate in its own right, so the makeup of the crossbench has a significant effect 
on national lawmaking. 
In 2017, to pass its draconian anti-worker ABCC and Building Code Legislation, the Liberals negotiated deals on the rights of the ACT and Northern Territory and water management in the Murray Darling - neither of which had anything to do with industrial relations and were just a means of buying support for rubbish legislation. 

We have seen Liberal ministers running around parliament in the dead of night, with their staff desperately trying to think up some prize or promise which could be offered in return for supporting sub-par laws.   

It will be very challenging to Change the Rules without changing the makeup of the Senate. 

In the coming months, the union movement will show its political muscle. The Change the Rules campaign will put thousands of unionists on the streets, knocking on doors, making phone calls and standing on polling booths to 
make sure our voice is heard.
The campaign is the voice of working people in this upcoming election. It is also playing an important role in making sure that our politicians listen to and act on our demands.

At the ALP’s National Conference in Adelaide last December, the party adopted the most progressive platform in a generation. The platform’s industrial relations section includes serious reforms which will radically change the Australian workplace. 

ACTU Secretary, Sally McManus, spoke to the conference about the importance of the union movement working with the ALP to address the growth in inequality and improving conditions for Australian workers. 

Cemented in ALP policy are reforms including adding superannuation to the National Employment Standards, restoring penalty rates for 700,000 workers, labour hire reform, redefining what is a casual worker and abolishing the ABCC and the Building Code.  

There is, however, a severe challenge to our ability to work with a Shorten Government to achieve real workplace reforms - the makeup of the Senate. 

It used to be common thought that minor parties and independents would "keep the bastards honest", however the Liberal Democrats and Pauline Hanson have consistently supported awful government legislation. 

It will be impossible to demand the reforms highlighted by the Change the Rules campaign unless Labor, with the support of the Greens, can pass legislation through the Senate. We can’t sit back knowing that everything our movement has worked so hard for will be stalled by the Senate crossbench. 

ETU members can make a difference in this election. Voting in the Senate for the ALP will ensure that your vote is directed to help Change the Rules. 

Let’s not stuff this up. 

Check the roll to change the rules

Have you moved in the last few years? 

To vote in the upcoming election you need to be on the electoral roll. It only takes a few minutes to update your details.

Check your enrollment and update your details at

Enrol to vote

Have you or your child recently turned 18? 
It is compulsory for all people over 18 years old to vote. To enrol, head to

It is compulsory for all people over 18 years old to vote. To enrol, head to

16 and 17 year olds can enrol now and will be eligible to vote the moment they turn 18.