The Australian union movement stands with unionists in the Philippines who have become the target of frequent attacks, with 43 union members and officials being killed in the last three years. The ACTU is participating in a global day of action on Human Rights Day to draw attention to the treatment of unionists in the Philippines.

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has named the Philippines as being one of the worst ten countries in the world for workers’ rights. Unionists and other activists have been labelled as terrorists and enemies of the state.

Australia has a long-standing bilateral military relationship with the Philippines, including providing counter-terrorism capacity training. Despite the many reports of attacks by the armed forces of the Philippines against their own people, from 1 December 2019, Australia increased its support of Duterte’s military through the new Enhanced Defence Cooperation Program. 

Quotes attributable to ACTU President Michele O’Neil:

“We are taking part in this global day of action on Human Rights Day to demand that the Philippines government, led by President Duterte, stop the killing of unions and union activists.

“We are also calling on the Morrison government to stop enabling human rights violations in the Philippines – no Australian taxpayer money should be spent supporting a regime that routinely violates the rights of trade unionists, journalists and human rights defenders.”



Rally details:


10 December, 10.30am, Embassy of the Philippines, 1 Moonah Place, Yarralumla

Contact Alex White, Secretary UnionsACT, 0403 694 397



10 December, 9.00am, Consulate of the Philippines, 21 Biscayne Way, Jandakot

Contact Phillip O’Donoghue, Media Officer, UnionsWA, 0417 923 029



10 December, 1.00pm, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 55 Collins Street, Melbourne

Contact Peter Green, Senior Media Relations Officer, ACTU, 0400 764 200



11 December, 1.30pm, Consulate of the Philippines, 27 Wentworth Avenue, Sydney

Contact Charlotte Kennedy-Cox, Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union, 0419 268 918