Wednesday, 31 October 2012


Media Release 

Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk says the LNP Government has again shown their disregard for regional Queenslanders by using their massive majority to push through legislation to move Labour Day out of May, starting from next year.
Ms Palaszczuk said organisers of many events in regional areas were banking on a long weekend in May 2013, and the LNP Government’s changes will leave them out-of-pocket.
“Festival organisers who usually work years ahead in their planning should not be left high and dry just because the Newman Government wants to play politics,” she said.
“The Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie has admitted the government consulted nobody before deciding to move Labour Day to October.
”That’s typical of a government that is not listening to regional Queensland.”
Ms Palaszczuk said events already being promoted for all or part of what should be the 2013 May Day long weekend included:
  • Hervey Bay Triathlon 
  •  Garter Belts and Gasoline Nostalgia Festival at Tamborine Mountain 
  •  River Rock to Mountain Top Community Festival in the Pioneer Valley 
  •  Ten Days in the Towers Music Festival at Charters Towers 
  •  Mount Morgan’s Golden Mountain Festival 
  •  Maleny Wood Expo.
“Although some major annual events do not cover the actual traditional Labour Day public holiday on the first Monday in May, they depend on people taking advantage of the long weekend to travel to and from their events,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“The Newman Government has made a purely political decision to shift Labour Day from the beginning of May to October, despite the massive problems this will cause to communities across our state especially those in regional Queensland.
“The previous government had kept Labour Day in its rightful place and moved the Queen’s Birthday holiday to October to give an even spread of holidays over the year.
“Typically the LNP now wants to put politics ahead of people and is not listening to those who will be affected.
“In Central Western Queensland the Barcaldine Regional Council stages a special festival on the May Day long weekend which has grown to be its biggest single tourism event featuring parades, markets, goat races, horse races, and drag races.
“The government Member for Gregory Vaughan Johnson obviously saw the ludicrously of his own government’s move as he made the unusual move of making a submission against his own government’s legislation.
“This just highlights the cracks that exist in the LNP Government’s backbench, as the Premier and his Minister’s continually do not listen to the people of regional Queensland.
“The first Labour Day march was held in Barcaldine on 3 May 1891 by striking shearers and the regional economy receives a huge boost from the festival that’s based on those events.
“Tourists book their travel and accommodation from year to year and the Council says it is no use having a festival in October because it is outside the tourism season and too hot.
“It is those sorts of problems the LNP government has failed to recognise in its rush to score political points,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Will Stuckey Stick with 8.5% Jobless?

Media Release

Shadow Treasurer and Member for Mulgrave, Curtis Pitt, says Small Business Minister, Jann Stuckey, needs to tell Far North Queenslanders how high she expects the state’s unemployment rate to rise and what “ripple effects” her own government’s mass sackings are having on the regional economy.
“Already unemployment in Far North Queensland hit 9.7% in September compared with 6.4% in September last year,” Mr Pitt said.
“As a Minister in a key economic portfolio it is up to Ms Stuckey when she jets in and out of Cairns to tell locals how the LNP plans to meet its election promise of 4% unemployment when others in her party suggest the jobless rate could skyrocket to 8.5%.
“Most people know the Newman Government’s mass sackings and savage cuts to frontline services are to blame for the spike in unemployment we have seen so far under the LNP, and that its first State Budget took away more than it gave to regional economies.
“The tens of thousands of people who have been sacked by the LNP and those whose jobs are under threat will be drastically cutting back on their spending. They are the families right across Queensland who will not be renovating their homes buying new cars or taking holidays in the Far North.
“All that will flow through to local shops, tradies and tourism operators so it is imperative Ms Stuckey explains how the Newman Government plans to meet its 4% jobless target.
“After just six months in office the Newman Government has seen Queensland’s unemployment rate return to the highs not experienced since the global financial crisis.
“The state’s jobless rate hit 6.3% in September — up from 5.5% in March and well into figures not seen since the GFC.
“There are now around 19,500 more people unemployed in Queensland than there were in March and almost 21,000 jobs were lost between the months of August and September.
“Queensland’s unemployment has not been helped by the fact the Newman Government has sacked 14,000 government workers and also slashed funding to hundreds of frontline organisations providing jobs in the non-government sector.”
Mr Pitt said there were reliable reports earlier this month from within the LNP party room that senior LNP MPs believe the state’s jobless rate could go as high as 8.5%.
“Ms Stuckey needs to explain what that would mean for small business operators in our region,” he said.
“The cloud of uncertainty created by her own government’s mass sackings will be having a negative impact on regional and local economies as government workers shut their wallets and cheque books and put away their credit cards,” Mr Pitt said.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Flip-Flopping Is Seeney’s Biggest Talent

Media Release
Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney is trying to mask his multitude of positions on proposals to expand port facilities at Abbott Point by latching on to an environmental report by North Queensland Bulk Ports, says Deputy Opposition Leader, Tim Mulherin.
“Jeff Seeney has flip-flopped so often on Abbott Point it’s a wonder he isn’t dizzy,” Mr Mulherin said.
“When he was in Opposition he was highly critical of any delays at the port.
“But since being in government he has done nothing but create uncertainty over the Newman Government’s plans and has preferred to play politics than properly handle an issue that is essential to our state’s export performance.
“In May the Deputy Premier wrongly claimed he was ‘ending uncertainty’ over the proposed expansion of the Abbot Point Coal Terminal by scaling back the plans of the former government.
“Then he later appointed a special facilitator for Abbott Point to ‘provide options’ about its future expansion.
“Now he cites an environmental report by North Queensland Bulk Ports in an effort to play more politics.
“Mr Seeney is being deliberately misleading by claiming the Labor Party had run a ‘scare campaign’ on plans for the port’s future.
“The only thing scary in all of this is Mr Seeney’s inability to handle such an important issue.
“His remarks merely serve to cement his reputation for spreading confusion about the LNP government’s infrastructure plans,” Mr Mulherin said.

Brisbane Tram Strike

Brisbane  July 8, 1893

The Tram Men Stand Firm.

The Brisbane tram workers' strike against the heartless slash in wages enforced by the company of which Patriotic Leaguer White is managing director still continues. All the men are standing as firm as the Main Range, and are being splendidly supported by a very large section of the travelling public, who don't forget that the men originally resigned against a scale of wages on which it was not possible for them to live, modified by the introduction of a 24s. minimum only after they had unanimously and indignantly refused to submit to the Company's proposals. All the employees, with the exception of a couple of old men (grooms), numbering between 90 and 100 came out with one accord, the grooms to support the drivers and conductors because of the manifest injustice of the cut.

On Tuesday night a public meeting to state the case of the men and enlist sympathy and support was held at the Town Hall. Four parsons, Buchanan, Stone Wigg, Whale and Wolstenholmes, besides other public men professing philanthropic leanings were invited to address the meeting, but not one of them turned up. The Labour Party thereupon at ten minutes' notice prepared resolutions, appointed speakers and carried the meeting through with a success that is characteristic of most of its undertakings when it has complete control.
Bradford took the chair. Kerr, a groom, told the gathering why his mates stood by the drivers and conductors. Hinchcliffe then moved and Bowman seconded a resolution to the effect that :--
This meeting records its most emphatic protest against the action of the Tramway Company in reducing the already paltry wage of their employees, and also expresses its sympathy with the men in their struggle against the unjust proposals.
Both speakers eloquently appealed to the public to abstain from riding in the trams while the dispute lasts and to insist upon the municipalisation of the tram system as the only final solution of the difficulty. Casey moved and Wallace Nelson seconded the next resolution:
That this meeting pledges itself to refrain, and by all fair and legitimate means to induce others to refrain, from supporting a company which seeks to lower the wages and the standard of comfort of the workers, and therefore to degrade them physically, mentally and morally.

Casey gave an interesting account of his formation of the first Tramway Employees Union, when the men worked from 13 to 16 hours a day 7 days in the week for 28s., besides having to sign a cast-iron agreement, which through organisation was broken down as wages were increased, Casey also denounced the Government as did Hinchcliffe and Bowman, for creating the unemployed by maladministration, and the squandering of public funds on immigration: and showed how if the unemployed were in earnest they could force the hands of the Government by demanding gaol or work. Wallace Nelson seconded the resolution, and the crowded audience, amongst whom were several of the wives of the men, decently dressed and comely enough to grace any assemblage of citizens, endorsed it with acclamation: and it now behoves all white residents of Brisbane to avoid the trams and ride in the buses.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Premier Slow To Act On Caltabiano

Media Release

Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk says the Premier has failed to act quickly to resolve doubts about Michael Caltabiano’s testimony to State Parliament.
“Far from moving quickly to clear the stench of scandal surrounding his government, the Premier has failed to take even the simplest steps to clear the air,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“The questions I asked Michael Caltabiano last Thursday were clear and precise and I specifically repeated one about his possible professional relationship with one of his Departmental Liaison Officers.
“The Premier has had a full week to simply pick up the phone and ask one of his Ministers, Ros Bates, if Michael Caltabiano worked in her former lobbying firm.
“If Ms Bates confirmed Michael Caltabiano’s professional connection with the lobbying firm the Premier should have sacked him immediately for misleading State Parliament.
“We need to remember that the Premier handpicked his mate, Michael Caltabiano to head up one of the biggest and most important departments in the state government.
“It is beyond belief that the Premier is not aware of the work history of his Directors General, let alone one who is a longstanding political operative and powerbroker within the LNP.”
Ms Palaszczuk said the Premier should today release Michael Caltabiano’s CV on file in the Premier’s office since the time of his appointment as Director-General.
“The Premier has no excuse for his slow response to this issue because he could have simply referred to Michael Caltabiano’s CV to clear up any doubts,” she said.
“The Premier would be expected to be familiar with the work history of all of his Directors-Generals, especially one who was an LNP powerbroker.”
Ms Palaszczuk said if the Premier had acted quickly, Michael Caltabiano could have been directed to correct the record last Thursday when the Estimates Hearings were still is session.
“Instead of moving quickly to clear the air, the Premier chose to delay and defer in the hope the issue would go away,” she said.
“He has acted now only because he realised the Opposition planned to raise the issue itself.
“The Premier has nothing to boast about on this matter, in fact it has taken him a week to enforce the bare minimum of standards expected of his government and those who work in it,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

Retrenchment from a Worker's Standpoint.

Brisbane  July 1, 1893

( By One Interested.)

Since the recent electoral campaign, retrenchment has been the order of the day in Mount Morgan. There is perhaps no mining town in Australia which boasts as great a proportion of non-producers in comparison to the total number of producers as Mount Morgan; there is probably no mining centre which has lavished money so uselessly; there is probably no mining centre where real retrenchment could be carried out so effectively and yet so carried out as to leave the non-producer undisturbed and comfortable. We have it upon the authority of a very eminent thinker that, where great evils exist, small remedies not only produce small results, but they produce no results at all; and the truth of this is beautifully exemplified in the present proceedings of the Morganaire management. About 46 men have been discharged from the service of the company, of whom 22 are married. Estimating their wages at forty-eight shillings per week we shall find that the company saves by this stroke something like 5,740 per annum or 478 per month.

At the present rate of a six-penny dividend the company is deriving an income of
25,000 per month from the mine, and by this brilliant piece of financing they increase their monthly dividend by something like 300. Just let us think; For the sake of an extra three twenty-fifths of a penny div. on a pound share, forty-six producers have been dispensed with; twenty-two families plunged into distress and a feeling of bitterness engendered that will rankle for many a day. Besides the hardships entailed upon the discharged hands there is also to be considered the effect of the change on those who remain in the retrenched departments. If it be stated that their work is increased by 50 per cent this statement will probably be rather under than over the mark, and to this glaring injustice the unorganised workers of Mount Morgan, like all unorganised workers, have to bow the head in silence, Little by little they may perhaps learn the truth of Marx's saying that “ Capital has no conscience.”

So much for the serious side of affairs – now for the ridiculous: Mount Morgan is the paradise of the non-producer; as petty boss he flourishes; in store and assay office he lifts his head aloft in proud consciousness of his superiority to the common worker. Beyond the shadow of a doubt the company could save 250 a week by retrenching among the aforesaid gentry – that is to say fully twice the amount gained by the present scheme at the expense of only a tithe of the suffering. Not that any such scheme is advocated in these columns for a moment – for it is difficult to see how a company paying a sixpenny monthly dividend on a paid-up capital of 17s. 6d. Per share or something like 30 per cent per annum, should find retrenchment necessary at all. But if curtailment of expenses be necessary it should surely be applied in such a way as to save the greatest possible amount at the expense of the least possible number of sufferers.

In conclusion the following facts are worthy of notice: It is notorious that the conditions under which men labour at Mount Morgan are most detrimental to health. The dust clogs the lungs: the gas inflames the bronchial tubes; the impure air gradually poisons the whole system. Surely men subject to such conditions should receive a little consideration. And if these disadvantages do not weigh with the powers that be a little consideration should be extended to married men who, upon the strength of assurances of constant work, have made little homes in the locality and sunk their little all in house and improvements, but who now, under the influence of the panic induced by fear of further dismissals find their property lying on their hands almost valueless. Do the directors not comprehend that every one of these dismissals is a finger-post pointing out to every thinking man the road to, and the imperative necessity of either State or Municipal Socialism?

Quotes from THE WORKER June 10, 1893:

 Within the past fortnight men have been dismissed by the Mount Morgan Company. Not because of their political principles of course – but still they happen to be men who worked for the return of Labour candidate M'Carthy and against Mount Morganaire Q.N. Bank director Callan.”

Writes a correspondent: Of all the elections in Queensland none equalled Mount Morgan for intimidation. For three days before the election, beer was sent by the bucketful to every shift, whilst a requisition to Callan was hawked round to every part of the mine and when a man refused to sign, remarks like this were made: ' Oh, then, we know which way you'll vote; take the consequences' On the week preceding the election tickets inscribed 'Vote for Callan or stay away,' 'Vote for and make no sacrifices,' were distributed by the thousand. On the polling day no one could vote without first passing by at least a dozen bosses whose business it was to put printed tickets into his hand and tell him what to do. The result was that 150 didn't vote and Callan secured the seat by a majority of 43.”

and another quote from THE WORKER June 24, 1893:

M'Carthy, the Labour candidate for Mount Morgan against Callan (director of the Mount Morgan Company), has since the election been dismissed from employment by the Mount Morgan Company. Such terrorism by the Law 'n Order moneybags will recoil on his head before he has done. M'Carthy has purchased a bakery on the Mount and will give the Dividendaire his quictus at the next election.” 

( Extracts from the Book:  Mt. Morgan: Gold, Copper, Oil. ~ By John Kerr.

“Little of Mount Morgan's wealth was evident to its residents.”

“The streets were muddy tracks, the houses perched anywhere and
the shanties suggested a chinese atmosphere. The untidy town, its
boundaries stopping feet short of one of the richest mines in the
world, paying no rates, made an uncomfortable contrast not only
with D'Arcy's London, but also with elegance, comfortable and
cleanliness of Charters Towers. Mount Morgan gold output
rivalled that of Charters Towers, far exceeding it from 1888 to
1890 and was double that of Gympie. The difference – Mount
Morgan's wealth left in the gold escort never to return.”

“The gold attracted visitors in droves, from Governors-General
down. When Lord Northcote visited in 1904, he was feted at the
spacious directors residence, Carlton House. Knox D'Arcy
visiting Queensland, was the gracious host, and carved the roast
for the banquet. As each pair of roast ducklings was carried in
steaming hot on silver platters, he carved off the breasts and they
were whisked away and replaced by another pair in an endless


Thursday, 25 October 2012

Newman LNP Government closes Wynnum Hospital

Media Release 

Newman Contradicts Springborg On Closures

Shadow Health Minister, Jo-Ann Miller, says the shock closure of Wynnum Hospital and the loss of nursing home beds at the Moreton Bay Nursing Care Unit demolish excuses used by Health Minister, Lawrence Springborg, to defend the LNP’s savage cuts to frontline services.
“Mr Springborg needs to explain how on earth it could be in the interests of families and their aged relatives to lose up to 129 beds at the Moreton Bay Nursing Care Unit at Wynnum West and for the bayside community to lose Wynnum Hospital,” Mrs Miller said.
“The Premier has today said on radio his government is abandoning the delivery of aged care services such as nursing homes.
“Yet Mr Springborg is still pretending the slashing of nursing home bed numbers is a matter for regional health boards to consider case by case. The Minister has clearly not been telling the truth.
“The Premier has today set out a clear position — his government is determined to abandon all state government aged care services which is why the Moreton Bay Nursing Care Unit is the latest to be shut along with the Wynnum Hospital.”
On radio this morning while trying to blame health boards for service cuts, Mr Newman was asked directly: “So you are wanting to get out of aged care?”
He answered: …yes, exactly.”
Mrs Miller said Mr Springborg needed to start earning his salary by taking responsibility for the closure of Wynnum Hospital and the loss of beds at the Moreton Bay Nursing Care Unit.
“It is Mr Springborg’s LNP government that declared it would protect and improve frontline services.
“Yet in just six months the government has earned a reputation for sacking nurses and other frontline and support staff, closing hospitals and reducing nursing home bed numbers.
“Mr Springborg must stop hiding behind his regional health boards or else he should hand over his job and salary to someone who is willing to take responsibility.
“If Mr Springborg continues to fail Queenslanders and take no responsibility for the boards’ decisions, he will simply prove how useless he is as Minister for Health and how ineffective LNP MPs are.
“As long as Mr Springborg hides behind the boards he and his LNP colleagues such as the Member for Lytton, Neil Symes, in the Wynnum area cannot give any guarantees to local communities about the future of health facilities.
“The truth is every Queensland Health facility in the state is now under threat and we are stuck with a Minister who doesn’t lift a finger,” Mrs Miller said.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Wholesale reductions of wages

Brisbane  July 1, 1893


Unionism at Bay.

The outlook grows more gloomy every day. First came the wholesale reductions of wages at the hands of private employers; then the Shipowners' Association took up the running; then the Railway Commissioners; and now we have the news of an all-round cut in the earnings of bush workers. In Brisbane, too, to make things worse, the tramway employees have been invited to take into consideration a scheme of readjustment by which as it was at first put forward the men would have been obliged to work for wages varying from somewhere about ten shillings to a pound per week. In other words they would have had to keep their wives and families upon the wages paid to the more fortunate domestic servants, who are “found” and often partially clothed, and still very properly do not consider themselves too well paid.

And here comes the rub. We have all had more or less the idea in the past that wages depended upon what some one or other, it might be ourselves or it might be our employers, thought “a fair thing.” Now for the first time in Australia it is made plain even to stupid people that the labour market is not and never was governed by any consideration of “fairness.” Under a system of industrial competition it must always be ruled by the amount of labour seeking employment and the amount of work waiting to be done. Under a system of competition based upon land monopoly the workers in search of billets will generally be more numerous than the billets which it is possible for them to fill. Thus at the present time wages are falling almost to zero not because it is fair and and reasonable that they should fall, not because the employers are more than usually desirous of bringing them down, but simply and solely because labour, crowed by monopoly out of free opportunity to exert itself, is a mere drug in the market. The men stand between the devil and the deep sea – the devil of monopoly and the ocean of want.

One thing, however, cannot be allowed to pass without comment. The employers themselves are distinctly responsible for whatever “bad blood” is the outcome of the present unhappy situation. Unionism was never less disposed to rise in its stirrups than it is to-day. Unionism is not only in a reasoning frame of mind, but it in eager to approach the discussion of the most unreasonable of proposals in a conciliatory spirit; and better illustration of that could not be had than the letters addressed by Mr. Seymour and Mr. Sam Smith, the secretaries respectively of the Brisbane and Sydney branches of the Seamen's Union, to the Shipowners of those ports asking for the simple concession of a chance to confer. Now it is obvious that if the employers, either of maritime or bush labour, have made up their minds to enforce another reduction the mere holding of a conference would not in itself stand in their way. Indeed, provided they could prove to the men that as things are it is an impossibility to carry on without a reduction, wretched as the new scale of wages is – it amounts in the case of seamen to slightly over threepence an hour – the union, we may rest assured would make a big effort to put up with the loss.

All that, at such a juncture, the shipowners have got to do is to convince the men that it is only by laying up some of their boats, which of course would mean a considerable discharging of hands, or by an all – round reduction of wages that they can keep themselves and their companies afloat. As they do not seem disposed to do that, however, they cannot reasonably complain of any course that may be adopted by the men. We have heard so much about “bad times” from employers in the past.

There is of course another way of looking at the matter. MLA Davis, of Sydney urges the men to stand together. But how is that possible? If they went down in the great conflict of three years ago how doubly certain is failure today. No strike could possibly succeed with the labour market in its present state of glut. And that being so, whatever may be thought of the action of the owners in refusing a conference, whatever may be thought of the necessity for the reduction from an owners' point of view, is it not better for us to consider chiefly the necessities of the case as they are likely to affect ourselves? To abandon the ships just now can cause the owners comparatively little inconveniences. Blackleg labour is ready to their hand. A Union men and more than likely in the temporary disintegration of the union itself.     E. B.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Campbell Newman gives the go-ahead for Unranium mining in Queensland

Media Release
Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk says the Premier has broken another election promise by giving the go-ahead for uranium mining in Queensland.
“This is an issue the people of Queensland believed they voted on in March,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“At the election the Labor and LNP policies on this issue were broadly the same — both parties told voters they did not support uranium mining. The Labor Party is keeping its commitment.
“Before the election Mr Newman was unequivocal in his promise that any government he led would not endorse uranium mining.
”Now he has established a committee — not to consult Queenslanders on the issue — but to help him break yet another key election promise.
“If the Premier can’t be trusted to keep his word on uranium mining, what value are his claims he will not proceed with a nuclear power industry in Queeenasland?”
Before the election Mr Newman said the LNP had “higher priorities” than uranium mining and he would not be dictated to by big business to change his mind.
He was reported on 16 November 2011 as saying:
"We have no plans [for uranium mining] and that's as clear as I can be. The parliamentary team are very, very clear that we have no plans to develop any sort of uranium mines in Queensland. We're not beholden to people - no matter how prominent they may be in the business community."
On 20 June this year the Premier was just as unequivocal when asked in State Parliament about uranium mining, and said:
“…we have no plans to mine uranium in Queensland…”
Ms Palaszczuk said Labor was sticking to the policy it took the last election and which had been reaffirmed at its 2012 State Conference in September.
“I do not believe Queenslanders want our state to be part of the nuclear cycle,” she said.
“Despite what the Premier says, people recognise that those who advocate an expanded uranium industry have an obligation to accommodate the waste generated from nuclear industries.
“We also need to recognise that nations that previously sustained major nuclear industries are retreating from it as an energy source, including Japan, Italy and Germany,” she said.

Springborg needs to explain nursing home closures

Media Release 

Shadow Health Minister Jo-Ann Miller says with a second government nursing home closing in Brisbane and a third under threat the LNP Government and Health Minister Lawrence Springborg need to tell the people of Queensland how many more they are planning to shut down.
Mrs Miller said we have had distressed elderly people and their families contact us worried about their nursing home closing, after it was revealed the Eventide home at Brighton was being cruelly closed by the Newman Government.
"Now another government nursing home, Ashworth House at Zillmere is being shut with Cabool at Kippa-Ring under threat,” Mrs Miller said.
“There are 20 state run nursing homes across Queensland and 10 transition services whose residents and families will be extremely concerned and distressed today
"Mr Springborg needs to explain when he or the LNP government decided to change health policy and abandon government involvement in nursing home care.
“If Mr Springborg hides behind the health board for the answer, it means he has outsourced government policy to 17 boards which also means no Queensland health service is now safe from being abolished,” she said.
“The Health Minister Lawrence Springborg is the meanest and trickiest Minister in a mean and tricky LNP Government.
“There was no mention of closing nursing homes during Mr Springborg’s Budget estimates hearing a few days ago.
“Mr Springborg did not mention throwing the elderly out of their homes and inflicting untold distress on them and their families.
Mrs Miller said the LNP Government obviously don’t care about the elderly and others needing nursing home accommodation.
“They must know, but don’t care just how difficult and distressing it can be to have to find suitable nursing home accommodation at any time, let alone when the government plans to force residents out at short notice,” she said.
“The cruel LNP Government needs to end the uncertainty for the elderly and their families across Queensland, and be upfront about how many homes they plan to shut.
“Mr Springborg should also front nursing home residents, their relatives and staff to personally explain the government's actions."

No Guarantees On Nursing Homes

Shadow Health Minister, Jo-Ann Miller, says the Newman Government is unable to guarantee that the loss of nursing home beds in Brisbane will not be repeated elsewhere in the state.
“The Health Minister, Lawrence Springborg, has outsourced what should be his responsibilities and decision-making to regional hospital and health service boards, including decisions to close beds at state government nursing homes in Brisbane,” Mrs Miller said.
She said Mr Springborg’s office had stated: “It’s [the board’s] decision to do it or not to do it or to mess it up.”*
“If the Minister refuses to set policy or intervene in key decisions such as the closure of nursing home beds it makes him and local LNP members even more irrelevant,” Mrs Miller said.
“As long as boards are making these decisions, then neither Mr Springborg nor any LNP MP can give a guarantee about the future of other government nursing homes.
“What is the Newman Government’s alternative to cutting the number of nursing home beds in our state? Have they any plans to partner with church or community groups or provide capital grants or land for new homes?
“At the bare minimum, that would be a sensible thing to do for any government contemplating such changes to ensure no net loss of nursing home beds.
“This is yet another broken promise by the Newman Government.
“Did any LNP MP distribute brochures during the March election telling voters they wanted to shut nursing homes?
“LNP local members in Central Queensland have quickly gained a reputation for standing by in silence as the Premier and his Ministers engage in mass sackings and savage cuts to frontline services.
“The closure of nursing home beds is no different. There has not been one word of protest uttered by Brisbane LNP MPs about the closure of nursing homes there.
“It is no wonder so many people are so badly disappointed in the LNP just six months after the election,” Mrs Miller said.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

1893 Election results

Brisbane June 3, 1893


Manifesto of the Queensland Labour Party.

At the commencement of the campaign the Labour party laid before you a manifesto criticising their political opponents and setting forth the objects of the party. It was then recognised, as it is now, what the party has to contend against in its efforts to permanently ameliorate the condition of the people. The labour party are evolutionists seeking to attain the welfare of the people by legitimate agitation and education. Even our opponents cannot but admit that the late elections have passed over as a model of sobriety and orderliness, and in that respect afford a striking contrast to those of previous years. We do not wish to take any credit for that, for we believe it is only right that the strictest order should be maintained when appealing to the sense of a reasonable people; but we rather wish to emphasise the fact because it was the first time the Labour party contented for the suffrages of the electors throughout the whole province. And we are proud of the success that attended our efforts whilst struggling against such stupendous odds as confronted us in the late political contest.

We had arrayed against us the greater portion of the press of Queensland particularly in the metropolis, where it is wholly the bonded servant of our political opponents; as the presence of deeds, mortgages, debentures, overdrafts &c., fully prove. We recognise the power of a Free Press for good, and maintain that no newspaper can be politically free that is under monetary obligations to institutions in which the interests of those occupying prominent positions in our political life are involved. This state of affairs accounts for the gross misrepresentations of the Labour Party that appears in most of the unfortunate newspapers of the province which are compelled to voice, not the opinions of their writers, but the opinions of those who control them and fool the people. We had arrayed against us the great majority of the ecclesiastics of the province who, true to their order as in all ages, insidiously strove to retard the Progressive movement. We were called by them the godless and atheistical party who wanted to disturb and upset religions. We remind them that in the first and second centuries of our era the members of the living and fighting church were called by the ecclesiastics of the older and what were considered the more respectable churches of the day by names similar to those applied to the Labour Party now.

We tell them that the latter day ecclesiastics will become extinct, giving place to a better and nobler one; that the real essence of Christianity is brotherhood; that the object of the Labour movement is not to dole out a beggar's charity, but to effect that brotherhood by giving the de-serving poor and down-trodden the rights which their very; existence is a warrant for. We had arrayed against us generally speaking, the “pillars of society” and the propertied class, who mostly receive their politics from the newspapers referred to – persons who have been deluded by the “heroes of civilisation” into believing that progress is destruction and they registered their votes wherever an unjust electoral law allowed and cast them solidly against us. The trustees for dead men's children claimed votes for the latter's property and cast them against us. Those who were qualified as freeholders on the rolls, but whose freehold estates were so encumbered as practically left them no interest in them, did the bidding of their masters and voted against us. The 4s. per week leaseholder who rents a wooden kennel for his place of business was lured on by the catch words of “ law and order” to vote against us. Some wage-earners got the hint and had to take it that it would please their employers if the Labour Party was not supported, and some others voted against us because they have not as yet thought out the question that is before all civilised nations clamouring for solution.

Votes were cast against us by land gamblers in polling booths hundreds of miles out of the electorates for which they were recorded. Yet in spite of all this in our first effort as a party we stand erect today with many sympathisers and fifteen representatives to voice our thoughts and desires on the floor of the Queensland Legislative Assembly. People of Queensland, think of this our first stand against such odds, and when you consider the history of great political movements you cannot but say that we have had a grand support. Then investigate what we advocate. Come amongst us with honest intentions to either array yourselves on our side if you think we are going the wrong way prove it to us by convincing reason and we will listen to you. This we say in order that all animosities may be interred in the grave of the past for the common good.

Out of the total votes on the rolls approximately 10 per cent belong to persons who have more than one vote, consequently there can only be 75,005 individuals as voters. Assuming that the adult male population of the province has been stationary since the census was taken, and from the total number subtract 2700 persons prevented from voting through being Government officials, in gaol, &c., there would still remain in the province 105,416 persons eligible to vote if the electoral laws were just. This clearly shows that there are 30,411 adult males who are disfranchised, and we have every reason for believing that nearly all of them are supporters of the Labour Party. In the face of this analysis the most despondent followers of the Labour Party cannot but lay aside their pessimistic feelings. But the Labour Party must never forget what it has to contend against. “Organise! Educate! Agitate!” must ever remain our motto. We must command a press free from the enthralling influences of capitalism to plead our cause before the people and to counteract mis-representations. The Labour Party in other countries have successfully grappled with greater difficulties than will ever confront us in Australasia, and as they are progressing so will we if we have but a sincere desire to overcome difficulties.

In the industrial disputes of the past the Labour Party of Queensland has appealed time after time for peaceful conferences, and such conferences have been refused us both in and out of Parliament. We claim along with Sir Thomas M'Ilwraith's colleague for North Brisbane that the “laws of supply and demand” should not regulate the conditions under which the wage-earners are employed. We go now to advocate in parliament that which has been refused outside, in order that the vexed question that permeates the civilised world may be guided through the peaceful paths of legislation to a happy conclusion and we ask all to support us to this end. Our members in parliament cannot effect this unless our opponents are willing to agree to reason and if it is refused us by force of numbers alone theirs will be the blame and the shame. Our re-presentatives will strongly advocate all measures that are just to employed and employers, that will insure industrial peace. Adversity has been a hard task master, but we have learned some good lessons through it. And no matter what our adversaries may do to keep the Labour Movement back in Queensland the result of the elections of 1893 proves that - “ it moves”

President Central Executive
Queensland Labour Party.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Transport Minister Hides Behind Out-Of-Date Patronage Figures

Media Release

Transport Minister Scott Emerson has today fudged South East Queensland public transport patronage figures in a cynical attempt to prove his discredited point that commuters are turning away from rail and bus networks.
Shadow Transport Minister Jackie Trad said the Minister had, during today’s Estimates hearings, used out-of-date, inaccurate figures from Translink’s annual report to show that patronage had dropped on the network when in fact it has increased.
“If you compare TransLink’s own accurate patronage data from 2010-11 to 2011-12  it shows that patronage increased by almost 4 million - not a decrease of 300,000 as this Minister is falsely trying to show,” Ms Trad said.
“Even the Translink CEO admitted in today’s hearings that TransLink has more accurate data that was not used in the annual report.
“He is doing this in a deeply cynical attempt to back up his argument that commuters are losing faith in our bus and train networks when in fact the opposite is true.
“To try and push this barrow is insulting to not only commuters but to our bus and train drivers and to the thousands of people who work behind the scenes on our public transport network – especially those who have already lost their jobs or whose jobs are on the line.
“It’s the Minister himself who has no faith in the network he has been charged to manage and grow – not the hundreds of thousands of people who use it every week.”
Ms Trad said the government was hiding behind out-dated patronage figures because it was obsessed with talking down Queensland and its transport network.
“He has refused to release the detailed TransLink Tracker for Quarter 4 (April-June) of 2011-12 which is the first snapshot of the performance of the public transport network in his time as Minister.
“The former Labor Government released this data four times each year but he has refused to release it because it paints the true picture.
“He has refused to release it because the tracker contains a range of measures such as detailed breakdowns of customer satisfaction that are not reported in the TransLink annual report.
“Just as he has refused to release the report he relied on when deciding to cap the Taxi Subsidy Scheme, instead today handing out just one page – the executive summary - of a 36 page report.
“He is misleading everyone who uses that scheme and everyone who uses public transport and that is a disgrace.”

Thursday, 18 October 2012


Media Release

Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk says Disabilities Services Minister Tracy Davis has refused to commit funding to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in tonight’s Budget estimates hearing.
Ms Palaszczuk said we have already heard Ms Davis say the funding of an NDIS was “not one of my priorities” but now the Minister has gone one step further and refused to commit any funding for a trial site in Queensland.
“This shows the twisted priorities of this LNP Government which will spend $260,000 a year on charter flights for the Deputy Premier but will not provide funding for some of the most vulnerable Queenslanders and their carers to fund a NDIS trial site in Queensland,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“Similarly, the LNP Government will spend $3.5 million for the planning of the new Executive Building for the Premier and his Ministers, but the LNP won’t stump up for an NDIS trial.
“This is a disgracefully callous approach to a scheme which is designed to make life easier for people who have or acquire a disability.
“The attitude of the Newman Government means Queenslanders suddenly confronting such circumstances will still need to run the gauntlet of the courts to secure any compensation.
“Their approach is enshrining high costs and uncertainty, as well as the distress they cause to those who are injured, their families, and carers,” she said.
Ms Palaszczuk said as a former Minister for Disability Services I know many Queenslanders will be disappointed at such a cold-hearted approach from the Newman Government.
“Other state leaders recognise an NDIS trial is a once in a lifetime opportunity to make a real and lasting difference in the lives of people with a disability, and the lives of their families and carers,” she said.
“Queensland should not be missing out – it is time for Premier Newman to step up with funding for a NDIS trial.
“For Ms Davis to simply rule out supporting the scheme is closing the door on some of the most vulnerable people in our community.”


Media Release

Shadow Health Minister, Jo-Ann Miller, says today’s Budget Estimates hearings had exploded the multitude of myths Health Minister Lawrence Springborg has been peddling about the Queensland Health payroll.
“The admissions the Opposition was able to secure from the Minister and his Director-General, Dr Tony O’Connell, show Mr Springborg has been deliberately scaremongering about a ‘$1.25 billion’ cost to fix the payroll system when no such figure exists,” Mrs Miller said.
“The answers given today also show Mr Springborg is focussed on playing politics and not on fixing the payroll system and helping Queensland Health staff already under pressure from his government’s mass sackings and savage cuts to frontline services.”
Mrs Miller said today’s Budget Estimates hearings had revealed:
  •  Mr Springborg’ s own Director-General had explained the “$1.25 billion” cost over eight years to fix the payroll repeatedly claimed by Mr Springborg consisted largely of operating costs. 
  •  Dr O’Connell had been D-G and Deputy Director-General under the former government and for a period had been a member of the executive team overseeing the payroll project. 
  •  The Director-General had admitted the KPMG report used by Mr Springborg was an analysis not an audit. 
  •  Mr Springborg had rejected an offer by payroll technology provider IBM to meet with company representatives. 
  •  In the past 79 days and after having access to the former government’s legal advice he claimed he needed to see urgently, Mr Springborg had made no effort to view the advice with the Crown Solicitor who could provide him with further advice. 
  •  Mr Springborg knew what the advice contained because his Director-General had stated at the hearing he had paraphrased it for the Minister. 
  •  Mr Springborg had also made no effort to seek fresh advice, preferring to wrongly claim he could not access the previous advice written in mid-2010. 
  •  Mr Springborg had misquoted a letter from the Queensland Council of Unions about the payroll issue, omitting the QCU’s statements that their efforts to warn the former government had been blocked by departmental bureaucrats.
“All we saw and heard from Mr Springborg today were more misleading claims, more myths and a series of badly choreographed stunts that backfired,” Mrs Miller said.


Brisbane, May 6, 1893

The Beginning but not the End.

Baptism of Fire.

Labour in politics in Queensland, the hotbed of corruption and slavery, is for the first time in the midst of a general election. Sorties were made by the Labour Party towards the close of the last parliament, and it received its baptism of fire at three by-elections – in the Barcoo, at Bulimba and at Bundaberg – and in two out of the three skirmishes against the enemies of order, progress and justice Labour came out on top.


In 1888, when Griffith and M'Ilwraith wrestled with each other for the flesh-pots of money and power, and made sacred pledges which they broke with the shamelessness of men lost to all sense of political decency, Labour-in-Politics hadn't cut its umbilical cord. When these political mountebanks tumbled over each other for the prizes of office and the opportunity to advantage themselves and the concerns in which they are interested, at the public expense, the Labour Party in the Southern Hemisphere existed solely in the form of trade and labour organisations, with no definite end in view and only a nebulous notion of getting there. When the Liberal and National claptrap of five years ago was flaunted in our faces the Labour Party as an organised Political factor didn't exist; and the workers – unionists and others – ranged themselves under the banner of the boodlers and flew at each other's throats to – secure victory for the enemies of the people. For the men who took oaths that slavery would not be re-introduced; that retrenchment would be made; that Land Grab railways wouldn't be sprung on the confiding people; that Naval Tribute wouldn't be levied, and that our electoral rights would be maintained. Thus the people fought against themselves by taking sides between Tweedledum and Tweedledee – like soldiers who shoot each other to the order of kings who look on while the battle is raging, and grab the spoil at the end of the fight.


But the day of enlightenment came. The lessons of the maritime and bush workers' strikes and the formation of a Coalition Government put an end to all that. Then arose the sun of New Unionism, with its brilliant rays lighting up the pathway to the Rights of Labour and a higher social state for everyone in the community by means of the ballot box. That conjunction of events brought everything sought by the white workers of Queensland within the range of practical politics; and although there then also arose the forces of capitalism even unto the gatling guns of the Government, it transformed in three short years an aimless body of workers into an army of fiery political warriors, capable of marching to victory with no more explosive missile than a vote.


Seeing the inevitability of this march along the line to freedom the Griffilwraith Government sought to block it by trampling all rights under foot. Wage workers were disfranchised wholesale. Plural voting was hedged about with diabolical ingenuity. Standing orders were passed to stifle outside criticism and the closure was introduced to gag honest members within the walls of Parliament. No wonder then with such machinery that loans were floated and paid for at usurious interest to be lodged in a bank in which members of the Government are or have been directors. That a Meat Works loan was effected on security that wouldn't have satisfied on lunatic. That 1000 miles of rabbit-proof fencing was ordered at the people's expense to be used by the class to which M'Ilwraith belongs. That money would be voted to Naval Tribute and denied to corporations for replacing bridges, repairing roads or carrying out necessary public works. That kanaka labour should be reintroduced and inspectors appointed and paid for out of the public purse.

That a meat expert would be appointed at 1000 pounds a year and an agent
for the syndicates sent to England at 1400 pounds a year to do the business of M'Ilwraith and his salary drawn from public funds. All this, too, and more than can be enumerated, while its citizens are unemployed, in receipt of pauper relief and a national beggary fund is opened to save (save the mark!) the sufferers by the floods.


Seeing that an end was about to be put to this rascality and order evolved out of chaos, the man who is justly “scouted as a liar” fixed the first batch of elections to further his own ends. The stupendous legal land steal had to be perpetrated at all hazards. Consequently all the constituencies that were fixed to be polled on Saturday, April 29, it marked as certain prey for the syndicate cormorants Seeking by that poor trick – the last resort of utterly discredited ministers – to away electors in constituencies in succeeding batches and delude them into the belief that the voice of the people was expressed by plural voting and the operation of the Prevention of Working Men from Voting Act.