Tens of thousands march in Australia for higher wages

People take part in a march for better work conditions and higher wages in Melbourne, Australia on April 10, 2019.
People take part in a march for better work conditions and higher wages in Melbourne, Australia on April 10, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

MELBOURNE (AFP) - Tens of thousands marched for better work conditions and higher wages in Australia on Wednesday (April 10), bringing the city of Melbourne to a standstill, ahead of national elections in May.

The opposition Labor party wants to make stagnant wages a focus of its election campaign, with its union allies claiming "Australians have seen the largest fall in their living standards in 30 years".

The governing conservative Liberal-National coalition has argued that the best way of boosting wages is through company tax cuts.

Many demonstrators wore fluorescent "hi-visibility" workwear and carried banners with "Change the Rules" written on them.

State premier Daniel Andrews said the rally should remind Canberra that Australians are demanding a proper "living wage".

"People are angry. They are out in the streets. They are out in force but they are campaigning for something very simple: a fair go," he told reporters as he joined the mass rally.

City commuters endured a second day of disruption in less than a week, after animal rights activists blocked busy streets on Monday during a surprise peak hour demonstration.

 

Some Labor supporters have argued for a slew of workers to receive higher minimum wages, and for a cap on the number of foreign workers entering the country.