CSSV Involved in Labour Day Commemoration

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.

Pictured above are Church leaders on the 8 Hour Day Memorial steps at Cnr Lygon and Victoria Streets, Carlton include from left: Dr Gordon Preece, Senior Policy Officer, CSSV; Rev Denise Liersch, Moderator of the Victorian and Tasmanian Uniting Churches; Rev Canon Dr Stephen Ames, St Paul’s Cathedral, Mrs Joy Friere (a relative of an original marcher), and Archbishop Philip Friere, Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne. Sponsored by Victorian Council of Churches and Ethos Centre for Christianity & Society.

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