The ACTU has urged Australians to vote for the political party that most clearly demonstrates its long-term commitment to jobs and jobs security.

Launching the ACTU’s election theme, tell John Howard it’s over, President Sharan Burrow said the election was critical to the security and wellbeing of working people, small business owners, and the investment and business community.

“At a time of great uncertainty in the world, every vote is vital for the future security of our families, our communities and our nation,” she said. “Australia can grow and prosper in the future, but only if we all work together.

“The Government’s record shows us that Prime Minister John Howard does not deserve another term in government. Over the past five years, Mr Howard has rejected fairness and cooperation in the workplace in favour of tactics that have divided working people and employers. Working life has become very difficult.

“This Government has encouraged employers to use aggressive industrial tactics in the workplace. Employees are working longer, often unpaid hours of overtime, and struggling daily to balance work and family. Thousands of people have lost full-time jobs because of down-sizing and corporate collapses. Too many families are desperate because sacked breadwinners have been robbed of their entitlements.

“The same hands-off approach that has destroyed job security has also eroded our health and education services, and turned regional and rural areas into poor cousins. All Australians should reject the widening gap between rich and poor, between regions and social groups that this Government has created.”

Ms Burrow said union members would work in marginal regional and rural seats to highlight the impact of the Government’s hands-off approach and the subsequent loss of services and tourism revenue.

“Five years ago, Mr Howard promised the Australian people that no worker would be worse off under this government. What a hollow promise that was. The time has come to tell John Howard it’s over,” said Ms Burrow.