Neil Rogers is a long-time Change the Rules activist in Forde – a federal seat based to the south of Brisbane including locations like Beenleigh, Eagleby and parts of Logan.
Retired now, Neil splits his time volunteering for a wide range of local community groups – including the Change the Rules Campaign.
“I might be retired, but that doesn’t mean I am not busy. I volunteer at a nursing home—one day a week. I volunteer at Eagleby Wetlands Network. And this is hands-on work! Pulling out weeds and planting. I volunteer at Moffat Park. I volunteer at the Slacks Creek restoration society. I am that tied up and involved in my community that when people say ‘You must have heaps of time for volunteering’ I tell them that what I need is a bloody calendar!”
“But it is worth it. We need to change the rules.”
Neil finds time during his tight schedule but is incredibly impressed with the time being given by others in the local campaign.
“I often hear people say that ‘we have no time to volunteer’ and I just shake my head,” said Neil when he was talking to the 200-strong crowd at the Forde Change the Rules kick-off meeting.
“I was talking to an electrician who came street-stalling with me one afternoon after he had been out in the heat all day—38 degree weather—fixing electrical lines. And he has two young kids; nine and 13 years old, and I ask ‘What are you doing here? You’ve been working in the heat all week and when you should be at home, kicking the football with the kids, you’re here talking to people, donating your time.’ What an effort!”
Neil explains that he is working to change the rules is because he know you can’t trust the Liberal National Party (LNP) to look after workers.
“I’m often asked: Why am I concerned? I am concerned because of the history of the LNP; their track record. If they get back in it will be murder. Not just for the union movement, but for the country as well.”
“I am a staunch unionist. I am concerened that if the LNP get in for another three years they will destroy the union movement. They have already started with their “Kill Bill” campaign, the Royal Commission into Trade Unions, federal police raids on the AWU—this is only the start.”
“The community knows what unions do for working pay and conditions. Long service leave, maternity leave, unfair dismissal protection and so much more. We have all benefited from these conditions.”
“But what I think the community misses out is the story of how unions have been at the front of every progressive social change for the benefit of this nation.”
Neils says it’s the crucial benefit that unions and workers play for the benefit of society that he wants to fight to protect them.
“We won’t be beaten. It is time for me to give back.”