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Workers rally against proposed IR changes -

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(generated from captions) In just a few hours, the Senate will technically begin - a new era of Coalition control of held a majority in the Upper House the first time a Government has in 24 years. For that reason, to stage a mass show of strength the union movement chose today impending overhaul against the Prime Minister's of workplace laws. people marched in rallies - The ACTU estimates more than 100,000 an action the Government claims tens of millions of dollars. has cost industry from Canberra, And as Greg Jennett reports the protests marked

with Labor's blue-collar base, Kim Beazley's re-engagement attacks on his leadership. bringing relief from this week's they queued, for block after block. Up Melbourne's Swanston Street passions were high. Progress was slow, CHANTING: Howard's a coward! An old-fashioned show of strength. Its message couldn't be clearer. marches we've ever seen. It is one of the biggest protest John Howard. There's one reason for that - They came from schools and factories, construction sites, the waterfront, under the banner of the ACTU. for as long as it takes We are going to fight are respected in this country. to ensure workers' rights midnight tonight, When the clock strikes will come true. John Howard believes his dream a nightmare for Australian workers. The fact is his dream will be to prevent the workplace changes, In an Opposition leader unable the unionists found cause for hope. rolled gold guarantees, Let me give you who keeps his word: from a politician permit an individual contract we will not under any circumstances to undermine any conditions. in cities around the nation - The scene was repeated the streets of Perth. tens of thousands snaked through In Darwin, they marched too, where workers expressed fears and across in Brisbane, for a cut in pay and conditions. We just want a fair go. We deserve it. We're builders. We work hard for a living. Peter Beattie says

for his State to lead the struggle. there's an added responsibility we should be ashamed of ourselves. We gave him four senators and there's a reaction. But for every action, leave the protests unanswered. Business and Government would not Today's political action by the ACTU tens of millions of dollars. has cost the economy It's a return to the dark old days by the ACTU and the unions. of protests in the streets of truth There needs to be a counter-campaign and, in fact, the downright lies about misinformation the union movement is telling about industrial relations reform. The building industry estimates around $20 million in Victoria, today's action cost it and Holden about the same. the legality of the stoppages. Kevin Andrews questions to be left to industry. But any retaliation is a matter who marched today. I doubt we'll go pursuing anyone as I said. But I haven't discussed it, many more demonstrations, Unions are planning until the legislation - right through still being drafted - is passed. And from midnight tonight, close for the Howard Government. that's a prospect tantalisingly For the first time since 1981, Government control, the Senate has fallen under

re-engaging his base which is why Kim Beazley's Latham-inspired leadership sniping and trying to put this week's behind him. being internally focused We've got to stop in the Labor party

and we need to look at the job want us to do. that the Australian people nothing less. His union comrades demand Greg Jennett, Lateline.