Leader of the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA), Joe de Bruyn, has come out saying he will oppose the Rudd government’s plan to scrap the restrictions preventing Australian aid money being used to fund abortion services overseas.
Foreign Minister Stephen Smith has said that the Labor government is considering lifting the restrictions that prevent AusAid funding providers of abortions and NGOs that dispense abortion advice.
De Bruyn told The Australian newspaper that abortion was the “deliberate destruction of human life. To try to discover arguments which will somehow justify using Australian money to destroy human life overseas in my view is just (an) absurdity.” he said.
The SDA are the largest union in Australia with some 230,000 members. The leaders of the union, including de Bruyn are right wing conservative Catholics. As well as being the National Secretary of the SDA, de Bruyn is also a leading figure in the Labor Party.
This is not the first time that the SDA has taken reactionary positions on social issues. They have previously campaigned against abortion and the abortion drug RU486. They are also opposed to equal rights for same sex couples and have opposed Labor’s plan for state-based registers.
In 2005 the SDA made a submission to the Victorian Law Reform Commission opposing the provision of in vitro fertilisation and other assisted reproductive technologies for same sex couples.
President of UNITE, the left wing union for retail workers in Victoria, Kylie McGregor said “If only the SDA were as concerned about Australian money being used in the destruction of human life in places like Iraq and Afghanistan!
“Perhaps de Bruyn should spend less time pushing his right wing conservative views and more time looking after his members.
“I’m sure that the thousands of women who work in retail, and are members of the SDA, would be shocked to know the views of their alleged leaders.
“UNITE supports women’s right to choose whether or not they have children, and when. From the point of view of low paid workers we also think that abortion and contraception should be accessible and free.”