Closing address by ACTU Secretary-Elect Dave Oliver
ACTU Congress Day Three
Sydney Convention Centre


Thanks for your participation in this Congress and for playing your part in the outcomes that will see us on a strong footing to campaign at a national level.

I asked for your support for several resolutions, and you gave it.

I made commitments to engage with you about those proposals over the next six weeks, and I will.

From here, we go back to our members and our communities to be active and grow our movement.

Just the way the nurses and Lisa and Brett showed us this morning with that great campaign report this morning.

That’s the kind of campaigning we all need to be part of at a national level.

And wasn’t it a great occasion last night?

I just want to reflect on Bill Kelty’s speech. It really struck a chord with me, and I think with all of us.

While we praised his achievements, he quite rightly said that none of it would have been possible without the commitment of the entire union movement.

“What was achieved, was achieved together”, he said.

And the same goes for us today.

We’re facing some big challenges, but earlier generations faced tougher odds than we do. In the early factories, the sweat shops, the goldfields, the coalmines and the shearing sheds. Inch by inch they built up our rights.

And as I said in my opening speech to congress, I know what it feels like to be in a tough position. It wasn’t easy taking on the employer when my mate John fell down the lift shaft not far from here in 1988.

But that’s what we do.

We are a proud and diverse movement – made of up cashiers and construction workers, cleaners and car makers, retailers and renovators, packers and printers, teachers and technicians, nurses, Ged, and even humble lift mechanics.

We should be proud of who we are, and what we fight for.

We are union. And we are proud to be union.

Delegates, thank you, now let’s get back to work for the working people of this countr