On the eve of Labour Day on Sunday 13th March a group of church leaders, including Gordon Preece, CSSV’s Senior Policy Officer, gathered to celebrate the continued relevance of 8 Hour Day. It was a testimony to the 8 Hours Movement from when Australia led labour reform and other social justice movements. A stonemasons and building trades strike and march on 21st April 1856 to Parliament House was a great success. The government granted an eight-hour day (with no lost pay). Behind this was a concept of a balanced life of 8 hours of: Labor, Leisure, and Sleep. It recalls how ‘people were not made for the Sabbath but the Sabbath for people’.
People are not made for the economy; the economy is made for people. Why remember? Because such significant social justice events are ‘dangerous memories’ that can re-shape our ‘social imagination’ in more just, humane and liveable ways.
What a balanced life looks like today is up to us. It may include a four-day week or a universal basic income.
CSSV looks forward to this key commemoration becoming bigger and better next year.