Robert, you've caught a few tough breaks. You're out of work at the moment. Your ex employer is playing games on a job you feel you should have and the union acts like it's helping but I always doubt that.
Buddy it happens. Not in the recent memory (15 years) of any Australian have times been this tough but this is nothing new. In 1991/2 I had no idea what I would do. 24 years old and thinking I'd never work again. I've since have 20 years of an amazing life, and it happened as quickly as September 1993. It was tough, but I didn't give up.
I'm not giving up now and neither should you. Stay strong. These things come and go. They become war stories for you, and it changes to good just as quickly as it changed to bad.