Sunday, 31 March 2013

Australian Economy is the envy of the world

An extract from a Michael Pascoe article:

The weak world champion

March 6, 2013, 2:06 pm Michael Pascoe Yahoo!7

"Given the problems in the rest of the developed world, Australia extending its run into a third decade of unbroken growth is an amazing achievement, but you’d be hard pressed to find anyone cheering.
The December quarter national accounts confirm Australia’s status as the (developed) world champion of economics – yet the attitude of business and much commentary remains that of weakness and misery.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show gross domestic product grew by 0.6 per cent in the December quarter to give a final score for 2012 of either 3.1 or 2.9 per cent, depending on whether you prefer the trend or seasonally adjusted version.
Let’s split the difference and call it 3 per cent – which is “about trend”, as the Reserve Bank had been forecasting.
Given the problems in the rest of the developed world, Australia extending its run into a third decade of unbroken growth is an amazing achievement, but you’d be hard pressed to find anyone cheering.
Instead, we continue to look for ways to find the glass half full. And if you look, you can indeed find some dark lining to the silver cloud.
For a start, the spark in the annual figure was provided by the first half of the year – the December half was running at an annualised pace of about 2.5 per cent.
And the biggest impetutus for the December quarter growth was a surprising lift in investment by governments. That’s surprising because governments of all shapes and sizes are busily trying to reduce their spending. That December quarter lift is likely to be a bit of a one-off.
So the RBA’s forecast of economic growth in 2013 of about 2.5 per cent looks more likely than anything stronger. In the conservative language of central bankers, that becomes “a bit below trend”.
The problem for much of Australia is that we have become used to doing “about trend” and better. The adjustment that’s taking place in our economy over the next year or so rules that out and – despite what politicians and much of the commentariat might try to tell you – there’s precious little the government can do about it.
It has been Australia’s extraordinary achievement to experience a massive terms of trade windfall and explosion in private capital investment without the economy getting seriously out of kilter. Yes, some regions and industries have done better than others, but that’s always the case. Overall, we’ve come through the bubble part of the boom without inflation getting out of hand – something we’ve never managed before.
We are now going through a double adjustment that won’t be as easy as the unsustainable pre-GFC boom years when we were partying very hard indeed.
The first adjustment has had plenty of publicity: the construction phase of the commodities boom tailing off. Based on last week’s ABS capital investment survey, it looks like the tailing off will be nicely gradual, but it’s tailing off nonetheless. Our economy won’t be getting the lift to growth that it received when the capex numbers were skyrocketing.
What’s less understand is the second adjustment that would be occuring with or without the resources boom: returning to normal behaviour by collectively living within our means.
That was the core of RBA governor’s “Glass-Half-Full” speech last year. The boom and bubble period from about 2003 to 2008 was not normal, we were spending everything that came in the door and a bit more. The Federal Government made the situation worse by throwing tax cuts and more middle-class welfare handouts at us. From the mid-1990s to 2008, per capita real consumption growth averaged a massive 2.8 per cent and consequently, our household savings ratio fell to zero.
That was not sustainable at all. Adjusting to a more normal economy is painful for those in the front line, but there really is no alternative. Politicians on both sides can prance around and pretend otherwise, but they can’t change those fundamentals.
That we’re making those adjustments with an unemployment rate starting with a “5” is the envy of the rest of the developed world. GDP growth of 2.5 per cent will mean the labour market will remain soft this year, but more jobs will still be created than are lost.
You still wouldn’t want to be anywhere else on earth.”

(Just a reminder the period between 2003 and 2007 was under the Howard Government ~ The Worker)

The Australian Economy is the envy of the world, the three rating agencies give us a triple "AAA" rating. But going on the polls, the Labor Government who got us to this level, is doing very badly, it appears some of the Australian people have ignored a lot of the good things this Government has achieved. 

We have had growth for over 21 years most people can't remember the bad times, is it a case of "you have to have the bad times to really appreciate the good?"

The Worker

Saturday, 30 March 2013

A letter on Women's Franchise

Brisbane June 30, 1894

Another Young Women on the Franchise.

Dear WORKER – I should like very much to reply (as far as I am capable) to “School Teacher's” letter on Women's Franchise, which appeared in your issue of the 23rd. She says “about four years ago she was great enthusiast on women's rights,” but I doubt if she ever seriously thought on the matter, or perhaps her enthusiasm received a severe blow when she found the vast majority of women did not take the interest in matter she expected. It shows a little want of thought to say “ the average man is on the Labour side and the woman on the other,” meaning the Conservative, and making it a reason why woman should not have a vote. The average man is nothing of the kind; the average man is a fool, who thinks with his eyes. If it were not so, wage slavery would be a thing of the past and we should be experiencing something like “Socialism in our time.” Woman's Franchise is not a question of intellectual equality or of benefiting the Labour Party.

It is a demand based on the grounds of Justice, and as such it must be recognised and fought for. There is no foundation for the fear that giving woman equal political rights with man would cause her to use it so that it would prove detrimental to her own interests. We can but look at facts. So far, women have not acted in that manner. Men have been busy in brief intervals in looking after their own rights, but have quite neglected woman, who must now step into the ranks and do battle for herself. Women have suffered equally with men in the great battle for Liberty, but have not equally shared the benefits, small though they be. Even amongst our advanced men, I'm sorry to say, there are some who are opposed to granting women their rights. They feel and declaim against the present rotten state of society, where the workmen are in a state of dependence on the capitalists, but the same men refuse to see that the dependence of woman on man is equally pernicious – it touches nearer home. I do not believe that all women are angels and all men devils, but believe in many things they are just about equal, and considering his many advantages man does not show the moral and mental superiority one would expect.

I would like “School Teacher” to regain her old enthusiasm and do her utmost to obtain for women some of the benefits of civilisation. After all it matters but little if we obtain them for ourselves; the sweetness of the battle is when fighting for others. Think of the future generations to come and endeavour to make their lot easier than ours.

Maryborough     A.A.P.


Brisbane June 23, 1894


Political Programmes.

It is most astonishing to note the numerous spurious imitations of the Labour platform which, as the time for the final struggle at the polls draws nearer, are day by day being showered upon the unoffending heads of a long-suffering people. Labour is now the idol before which the would be politician hastens to prostate himself. We have Free-trade and Labour and Protectionist Labour candidates coming forward in answer to requisitions “from numerous prominent citizens,” and protesting with tears in their eyes that they have loved the worker like a brother all their lives, and are now only too anxious to show their unanswering zeal in the cause of Labour and their undying affection and solicitude for the workers' welfare, the only thing requisite, they tell us, is to return them to Parliament and Labour may confidently sit back await the millennium.

* * *

The Country Party.

One of the most recent examples of what I may term fossicking platforms is that issued by the “Country Party.” This party is made up of the country members of the House and comprises such members as O'Sullivan, Gormly, Dickens and others of their ilk. These would be saviours of their country have issued a platform which contains among other proposals for land reform, local government, mining on private lands and a national bank. Now these men, who have sat in the House year after year and quarrelled over fiscalism, scrambled for the spoils of office and gulled the workers with old party cries and kept their attention fixed on the issues of Free-trade and Protection while land alienation, log-rolling, roads and bridges corruption was rampant, who assisted to put through infamous banking legislation and who are always prepared to support existing conditions when the question is one of straight and radical reform: these men with all their sins on their heads have now unblushingly stolen several planks from the Labour platform, and in the light of their past actions, and with the fox's tail plainly protruding from under the sheep's skin clumsily drawn over them, hope to again deceive the people and to be again returned to the scene of past misdeeds and their career of broken promises, but they will be grievously mistaken; the workers are now recognising the sham politicians who parade these reforms for the hour preceding an election and then straight way forget all about them after being returned.

* * *

Advantage in a Platform.

They are also beginning to see the advantage of having candidates advocating certain definite reforms, and moreover who are pledged not to allow themselves to be led aside by any fiscal or other issues, but to present a solid front to all opposing parties until their objects shall be attained and their reforms realised. It is the growing recognition among the workers forming the great bulk of the electors of the pressing need for such a party as this which makes those who are working for Labour and have its true interests at heart, hope for it and predict for it a glorious victory at the next elections and the utter defeat of the country and all other such reactionary parties.                                                      MAY DAY.

Thursday, 28 March 2013


Media Release.

Shadow Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Curtis Pitt, says the Newman Government has changed its tune on the Cape York welfare reform trial.

“Minister Glen Elmes has already decided to end the trial even though he is on the record in State Parliament lauding it on several occasions,” Mr Pitt said.

“He has also directly linked his decision to the outcome of the federal election, which raises doubts about his motives.

“I certainly hope he does not intend to make this issue a political football in coming months.”

Mr Pitt said it was difficult to comment on the evaluation report until it was released publicly.

“I also understand that Mr Elmes may have a draft report and is basing his comments on that,” he said.

“It would be better if he waited for the final report before starting to make decisions.”


Media Release.

Shadow Health Minister Jo-Ann Miller says the Newman Government must heed the advice of former conservative cabinet minister Beryce Nelson and stop cuts to sexual health services delivered through Biala in the Brisbane CBD.

“I welcome the decision to retain HIV/AIDS services at Biala, but the much higher-volume services for sexual transmitted diseases are still facing the LNP’s axe,” Mrs Miller said.

“Decisions by regional health boards are decisions by the LNP government, so the Minister for Health Cuts and Closures, Lawrence Springborg, needs to start earning his $6,000-a-week pay packet and take responsibility for these cuts and reverse them.

“Beryce Nelson has correctly identified this decision as part of the ‘pattern of decision-making’ by the LNP.

“The LNP’s approach is a purely political one designed to shift costs and responsibility from the LNP government to the federal government.

“By closing state-provided services and telling patients to used GPs instead, the mean and tricky LNP government knows the costs will be picked up through Medicare by the federal government.

“The cuts to these specialised services will have major implications for public health and Mr Springborg should make sure they are reversed just as he reversed his government’s decision last year to close the TB clinic at princess Alexandra Hospital.

“The AMA has today said GPs are not equipped to deal with the complex physical and mental health needs of the 13,000 patients who each year use Biala services.

“The AMA’s Dr Alex Markwell has also said it is not possible for public hospitals to pick up the slack if patients cannot afford to access GPs.

“Beryce Nelson also correctly identified the possible outcomes from the LNP’s short-sighted and blatantly political approach — an increase in STDs and in turn more hospital visits, more treatments, and ultimately more costs to taxpayers.

“It is time Lawrence Springborg stopped hiding behind the Metropolitan North Hospital and Health Service board and reversed the cuts to services delivered through the Biala centre.”


Media Release.

Deputy Opposition Leader and Member for Mackay, Tim Mulherin, says the LNP’s secret Costello Audit report could torpedo the Newman Government’s own “buy local” campaign.

“While the Premier is spruiking a ‘buy local’ message his own Treasurer is sitting on a secret report that could see up to $6 billion in government purchases being spent outside Queensland,” Mr Mulherin said.

“We know that the still-secret Costello Audit report advocates asset sales, and the privatisation which includes outsourcing of government services.

“Once government services are sold or privatised through outsourcing, there is no doubt that the private owners or providers of those services will not only cut jobs, but will also centralise their buying to ensure they make a profit.

“Any purchasing that is now done locally in regional centres will be centralised in Brisbane, or will go directly to interstate or overseas suppliers.

“The state government spends around $6 billion a year on goods and services alone, so while the Premier wants to encourage a ‘buy local’ approach his own government is actively sabotaging that approach.”

Mr Mulherin said the failure of the Newman Government’s leadership team to release the LNP’s secret Costello Audit report showed how little they cared for Queenslanders who would lose their jobs or regional business operators who would see a drop in trade through asset sales, privatisation and outsourcing.

“The LNP leadership team has had the final Costello Audit report for more than a month yet it is still being withheld from the taxpayers who footed a $3,300-a-day bill for Liberal party activist Peter Costello to draft the report,” he said.

“Queenslanders deserve better than to be kept in the dark on the report’s push for asset sales, privatisation, and outsourcing of government services that will cause job cuts as the government walks away from its responsibilities.”

Premier Must Clarify Surrogacy Confusion

Media Release.

Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk says the Premier must clarify his government’s position on surrogacy laws.

“There are reports that the Attorney-General has quietly dropped plans to amend laws to ban access to surrogacy services by heterosexual de facto couples, single women and same-sex couples,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“Our current laws are consistent with laws across Australia and we don’t want Queensland going backwards under Jarrod Bleijie’s plans.

“The Premier’s office is today saying no decision has been made, yet before the election the Premier said: ‘We’re not making any changes to the laws on those matters.’

“The Premier must make a clear statement today on the position of his government,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013


Media Release.

Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk says the Premier must admit his government is dysfunctional or explain why the LNP has been running a protection racket for the Member for Redcliffe.

“It is simply unbelievable that the LNP organisation knew back in November that its MP Scott Driscoll approached Woolworths for cash, yet they chose not to tell the Premier or anyone else in the LNP government,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“The Premier expects us to believe his own party allowed him to vigorously defend Mr Driscoll week after week inside and outside of State Parliament, but those same party officials never once mentioned the Woolworths scandal to anyone in government?

“Absolutely nobody believes that fairy tale.

“Either the Premier admits his government is totally dysfunctional or he admits his party organisation has been actively covering up for the Member for Redcliffe.

“Did senior Ministers in the LNP leadership group, Jeff Seeney and Tim Nicholls, know of the Driscoll approach?

“Did any of the Premier’s senior staff or anyone else in his office know?

“They all have close business and personal links to those in the LNP organisation, yet we are expected to believe nothing as seedy and shady as the approach to Woolworths was communicated to the government?

“Have the LNP powerbrokers been protecting Mr Driscoll because he was once one of them, as a former campaign director for the National Party?”

Ms Palaszczuk said the revelations reinforced her view that the Premier should direct the LNP to send all material it held on the issue to the CMC along with all material held by government agencies.

“I am also very concerned by suggestions that staff at the Regional Community Association Moreton Bay fear they will not be paid,” she said.

“I urge the Premier to ensure staff are paid and their superannuation entitlements are met.”

Tuesday, 26 March 2013


Media Release.
Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk says instead of showing leadership the Premier has reduced himself to a bystander as the Scott Driscoll scandal enveloping his government grows murkier.
On the Scott Driscoll scandal the Premier is doing an impressive impersonation of an ostrich, but his excuses don’t fly with Queenslanders,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
For three months he has preferred ignorance and oblivion, hoping it would all go away.
Yesterday his only action was to insulate himself from the scandal and abdicate his responsibilities by having Mr Driscoll suspended from the LNP.
Last Thursday the Premier defended Mr Driscoll by saying his personal explanation was adequate, but yesterday that same explanation was suddenly not good enough.
The Premier needs to say today if he has received any new information or new documentary evidence of allegations against Mr Driscoll since defending him last Thursday.
If he has received new information or evidence, he needs to explain why he has not referred it to the Crime and Misconduct Commission.”
Ms Palaszczuk said it was not good enough for the Premier to claim the scandal had nothing to do with him and his government just because Mr Driscoll now sat on the cross-benches.
The fact Woolworths has confirmed an approach from Mr Driscoll combined with the fact the retailers’ organisation he represented changed its policy on trading hours in January this year means it has everything to do with the Premier and his government,” she said.
If small retail operators have been sold out by their peak group seeking cash to change its policy in favour of the big players, then that is a problem that leads directly to the Premier’s desk if he is fair dinkum about fostering small business.
At the time the Premier said he was ‘surprised’ by the change of heart. But has he done anything to find out the motives of the retailers’ group management and whether it received payment from any large chain retailers?”


Media Release.
Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk says it is the time the Premier and his LNP Ministers and MPs took responsibility for their government’s broken promises.
Today is Responsibility Day for the LNP,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
It is now more than 12 months since Campbell Newman was elected Premier of Queensland and began breaking election commitments.
People are sick and tired of the Newman Government playing the blame game and running away from responsibility.
In the past year the Newman Government has delivered its first State Budget and endorsed the LNP’s still secret Costello Audit blueprint for asset sales, privatisation, and outsourcing.
It is responsible for its own decisions, yet we continually see Ministers like Scott Emerson hide behind TransLink and now the Brisbane City Council when the savage backlash against his cuts to bus services gets too much for him to handle.
We continue to see Health Minister Lawrence Springborg hide behind regional health boards when nurses and essential health professionals are sacked and services are cut.
But decisions by regional health boards are decisions of the LNP government and the Minister has direct responsibility. Mr Springborg is also responsible for the $3 billion worth of cuts he is imposing on regional health boards over four years including sacking around 4,000 from Queensland Health.”
Ms Palaszczuk said the Premier was responsible for not having launched a single major capital works project to generate jobs, especially in regional Queensland.
The only project the LNP government has started is a new Executive Building in the Brisbane CBD to provide new offices for the Premier and his Ministers,” she said.
Ms Palaszczuk said the past 12 months had seen a total lack of leadership from a Premier who failed to act against Ministers or MPs when action was needed.
It has got to the situation where the seemingly untouchable Member for Redcliffe and the serious allegations swirling around him is the face of the Newman Government’s first anniversary,” she said.
It was the Opposition — not the Premier — that forced the resignations of Bruce Flegg and Ros Bates and had a director-general stood down and later sacked.”
Ms Palaszczuk said the LNP must take responsibility for its string of broken promises to cut the cost of living including:

  • the promised $80 annual ongoing saving on all household water bills which was now  a one-off for only the south-east corner.
  • the promised car rego freeze changed which after the election excluded CTP.
  •  the promised ongoing annual savings of $120 on power bills which had also changed  to a one-off cut.

 She said the “freeze” on household electricity bills for a year backfired by forcing the Queensland Competition Authority to recommend a price catch-up year with a recommended rise of more than 21% in power bills.
The record of the LNP in the past year is a broken record – broken promise after broken promise,” she said.
Many Queenslanders have been disappointed by the LNP’s string of broken promises and arrogant behaviour.
The Premier said none of his own workers had anything to fear and then promptly sacked 14,000 of them.
The Premier promised to govern with ‘humility, grace and dignity’ and we are yet to see any of those.
He promised openness and accountability, yet we see secret LNP fundraising dinners at secret locations with secret guest lists, plus an LNP fundraising lunch built around a taxpayer-funded health blueprint,” she said.

Monday, 25 March 2013


Media Release.
The Newman Government’s decision to walk away from its responsibility for planning and delivering an efficient bus network is a significant step backwards for public transport in South East Queensland.
Ms Trad said while the Government’s TransLink review was deeply flawed, the decision to hand over control to Brisbane’s City Council (BCC) is not in the long-term interests of Queensland commuters.
Scott Emerson has done what Campbell Newman and Graham Quirk have wanted for years, he has destroyed TransLink and handed total responsibility for buses in Brisbane back to BCC,” Ms Trad said.
There is no doubt that strong, local community campaigns were extremely successful in halting the Newman Government’s plan to slash local bus routes.
However, we must all remain vigilant for future cuts to services and ensure any proposed changes create a more efficient and integrated transport network.”
Ms Trad said the Transport Minister’s judgement had to be called into question.
Clearly, Minister Emerson could not handle the heat from the public backlash and instead of stepping up to the job, he simply gave up and walked away,” Ms Trad said.
Now the question must be asked – how much tax-payer’s money was spent on creating and promoting this Minister’s failed review?”
Ms Trad said that at every stage of the bus review Scott Emerson has made the wrong call:
  • The Minister failed to understand the importance of off-peak services, particularly for pensioners, students and low-income families. 
  • The Minister failed to allow enough time for proper community consultation in December last year; 
  • The Minister failed to properly engage BCC in the formative parts of the review;

  • The Minister failed to provide enough consultation time from the beginning, extending the consultation time only a week after it was announced; 
  • The Minister failed to listen to feedback in a methodical way, instead announcing a series of disorganised backflips on individual routes, including some in his own and the Premier’s electorate;

  • The Minister failed to take ministerial accountability, blaming TransLink, which is part of his own Department, for getting the review wrong;

  • The Minister failed to sit down with concerned commuters and BCC to work through issues in a mature and considered way, instead he gave up and told BCC they could fix the bus review and gave them the powers to do it.

Ms Trad said Minister Emerson would regret his hasty, ill-considered decision to hand transport planning powers back to BCC.
Ultimately it will be Queensland commuters who will pay the price for Scott Emerson’s lapse in judgement yesterday.”
Ms Trad called on the Lord Mayor Graham Quirk to use his new powers responsibly and consider the whole network when making planning decision for bus services in the future.
Graham Quirk needs to understand that we can’t have a proper integrated transport network if the different transport modes – train, bus and ferry – are competing against each other,” Ms Trad said.
Now is the time for Graham Quirk to do what Scott Emerson failed to – he needs to consider other modes of transport as well as the needs of Queensland’s most vulnerable who rely on these services every day.”

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Tony Abbott and the Coalitions Industrial Relations Policy

Nearly all the Liberal National Party opposition front bench where Howard Government Ministers, basicily what you have now is the Howard Cabinet minus Howard, nothing else has changed. At the time they willingly agreed to the full implementation of Workchoices, regardless of the hardship it brought on the Australian people, at the time they new exactly what they where doing.

It's in their DNA, that if they get a chance they will bring back Workchoices in a different form regardless of their denials, remember the Liberals core and non – core promises?

A person just has to read their so called blueprint “Our Plan” which is very short on detail and full of generalisation, the contents can be interpreted in many ways i.e. “Inflexible work practices are holding our industries back” and “unnecessary barriers on productivity and flexibility” and “the need to make Australia more competitive and productive; about growing union militancy in workplaces” and "we need to address Australia’s growing workplace militancy, flexibility and productivity challenges" using these phrases alone the Liberal National Party have given themselves a blank cheque to do anything they want to Industrial Relations.

Regardless what they say a future Liberal National Party Government could change working conditions, alter wage rates, hours of working, making it harder to collective bargain. All they had to say is that it was either a core promise or non – core promise.

The Worker

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Three bye-election wins for Labour

Brisbane June 23, 1894


Our Motto: “Socialism in our time.”

Townsville! Ipswich! Burke! Three bye-election wins for Labour in the space of six months. This is good. And what a majority in the Burke contest! 313 to 81 – a majority of nearly four to one. Labour will surely be getting “swelled-head.” But Labour must not become afflicted with that enlarged self-esteem for which the Americans have found so appropriate a name. There is much work yet to be done. A vast amount of education is necessary before the country will grant that majority of seats to enable the putting into law those proposals which Socialist economists agree must be placed on the statute book before every man, woman, boy and girl can get that equality of opportunity which a sense of justice dictates should be given to all. Labour must not forget its chief aim in Parliament: Education! Education! Education! all the time. While a majority of the electorates return Anti-Labour Politicians the Labour members in the House, even with scanty support of the Opposition, can do little, if anything, to force Labour legislation through both chambers. Their policy, it would appear to the writer, is to obstruct the unjust measures of of the M'Ilwraithians, to avail themselves of the forms of the House to introduce their own Labour bills and by this means educate the people through the pages of HANSARD and the daily press: and to use their railway passes in stumping the country as freely as their 2. 17s. 8d. per week will allow. This is a stiff programme it is true, but it will never do for Labour to sit down and gloat over past victories. Labour must only rest when there are no more political worlds to conquer.

* * *

The WORKER is more than glad Mr. Glassey has been returned with such a splendid majority. If he had been defeated this time, his defeat would have been to the Burke what his defeat at the last general election is to Bundamba, a lasting disgrace. Wage-earners are sometimes prone to forget past services, and thoughtless ingratitude is then the reward of the agitator who might have saved his health and many an hour's bitterness and worry by choosing a more rosy path in life. Numbers of those who work for wages and whose lot the agitator endeavours to improve, sometimes silence their easy consciences by saying: “Ah, well! he's doing it to gain his own ends, or to gratify a hobby.” Of course, if the reformer has the grit and the health to stick to his task. Recognition is sure to come in the long run. But he often has neither the grit nor the health and “goes under” to join what Justin M'Carthy calls the great army of the unappreciated.

* * *

Mr. Glassey will probably be elected leader of the Labour Party. (We say “probably,” because the Parliamentary Labour party is not a one-man show like the M'Ilwraith Government, and each man has a voice in the selection of the leader.) If elected leader, Mr. Glassey will have a splendid opportunity of pursuing the stern and uncompromising course of fidelity to Labour which characterised him in the last Parliament . He is a Socialist, and will be ably and well supported by the other Socialists and not-now-but-will-be Socialists in the party. He has publicly stated that the only solution of the Labour problem is the State ownership of the means of production and distribution of wealth, and that augurs well for his career in the future. He has spurned with contempt the suggestion of a coalition, and Labour has therefore nothing to fear from that quarter. He is too much of a man to follow the leader of the Opposition, Mr. Charles Powers, who, with his little seven or eight supporters, must in future give up their tail-wagging-the-dog-tactics, and take a back seat.

* * *

One man should not be forgotten in connection with the Burke victory, and that man is John Plumper Hoolan. Mr. Hoolan is a man of marked ability as speaker. His readiness to follow any anti-Labour politician and dress him down is spoken of with amused admiration, and he is one who will be sorrowly missed by more than the Labour Party. He has his peculiarities, of course, like every other man; and was not well accustomed to that discipline in Labour circles which requires everything undertaken officially on behalf of Labour to be duly agreed to by the majority; but all must clap their hands in grateful appreciation of his action in resigning his seat for Mr. Glassey, and in piloting that gentleman so successfully to the winning post. The Labour Party must hold his name in reserve as one who must not be forgotten.

* * *

Our friend the enemy, the Daily Press, has suggested that there will be dissensions in the Labour Party. Perhaps there won't. The members of every party have civil growl sometimes. They would not be men if they didn't. That Human Nature the Courier and Telegraph so often trot out as the objection to Socialism (which by the way is no valid objection to State ownership and control) will see that they don't nestle together in caucus like a number of turtle doves; but the members of the Parliamentary Labour Party are not above heeding the warnings of experience. Having observed the ill effects of the want of unity in other Labour Parties, they know that if they fall out the only persons who will benefit by the split will be the capitalist Individualists whom they were sent into Parliament to fight. The present Queensland Labour members have passed through their most trying time – the first session in Parliament. Having safely preserved their unity, their friendship for one another, and having received the commendation of grateful constituents for so doing, it will take more than the cunning of the opposite side to break them up for many years to come.

* * *

Sir Thomas M'Ilwraith is “ but a subordinate member of the Ministry.” So the gentleman himself stated. Yet the legislative business of this immense territory must await consideration until he has recovered from some complaint caused probably by high living. To the WORKER it appears nearly time the province awakened to the fact that no one man is indispensable to the country's welfare. Each individual of us might cease to exist to-morrow and cause no more interference with the current of progress than a needle falling into a river. New South Wales once thought it couldn't get along without Sir Henry Parkes; then it found that Parkes was superfluous and Dibbs a necessity. Now our southern elderly sister proposes at an early date to do without both of these political despots who consider a Parliament incomplete without them. And Queensland must see that Sir Thomas M'Ilwraith , far from helping the colony out of the troubles into which he and other individualist politicians have placed it, is only hindering it from righting itself. Don't let us indulge in any sham crocodile's tears over his indisposition. Not a man amongst us who had lived the life he is said to have led would expect anything else. It is the duty of the community to be kind and even generous; but it must be even handed kindness and even handed generosity. Sir Thomas M'Ilwraith is not the only Queenslander who is ill at the present time. There are thousands of men, women, boys and girls on this end of Australia who are ill – not from OVER – feeding, but from UNDER – feeding brought about by the legislation which Sir Thomas and his “strong personality” have forced through both Houses of Parliament.

* * *

There are hundreds of men and hundreds of women ill in body and in mind through want of employment and through over employment, who require redress and will not get it till the whole tribe of M'Ilwraithians are thrown out of Parliament or compelled to legislate in the direction of radical reform. The sensitive nerves of opponents of the WORKER will be quite shocked at the vulgar brutishness of anyone who would say anything against Sir Thomas M'Ilwraith at the present juncture. We know all about that. As we write we can see their hands raised in unspeakable horror at our want of common decency. And perhaps not a few working man will join them in their surprise. But then are object to cant and hypocrisy every time. If Sir Thomas is really ill, we are prepared that he shall receive at State expense the very best medical attention and advice; but we can't silently see the Parliament of the country closed until M'Ilwraith is reconstructed, while men are driven to beg, steal, or starve, women are driven to vice and despair, and girls are driven to the streets for want of that work which it is the duty of Parliament to provide for all who ask it. Until the country is on its legs again and the people are prosperous Parliament should be sitting for at least nine months out of the twelve. This, of course, does not suit the politicians who would “legislate” for three months in the year and holiday-make for the remaining nine. The WORKER doesn't suppose it's much use calling public meetings about the further prorogation. The anti-Labor press will excuse the delay by bemoaning M'Ilwraith's illness. Long-suffering Labour must only bear its burden a little longer. Old Father Time heals many wounds. Perhaps he will soon heal M'Ilwraith.                                                    W. G. H.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Caucus vote

After months and months of rumours and innuendoes by the Media about Leadership challengers in the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party, the Prime Minister brought it to a end today and called a party room spill of positions and Caucus reaffirmed it's support for Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan but the Media even after this, still had to save face and it changed tack, and raved and ranted about it and going on about high drama that this could happen, that could happen and it was all negative, negative.
Why can't the Media just say that the Labor Caucus reaffirmed it's support for the Prime Minister. No not our Media there just like sharks in a feeding frenzy chasing fish, never let the truth get in the way of a good story. As usual the Opposition Abbott, Bishop and there other underlings are running around like henny penny screaming the sky is falling, the sky is falling. Mr. No, negative Tony is at it again.

It really amazes me how people can actually change their vote over internal Party leadership contests, the Parliamentary members of a Political Party choose their leader, not the Australian people, the main concern to the average Australian should be am I better off under this Government, is my family better off under this Government? Am I doing okay under the policies of this Government in regard to i.e. Health, Education, Industrial Relations, fighting Climate Change, etc. If it is, they should make that judgement on that, and that alone and vote accordingly. Isn't that what should concern you?

I quote part of Section 24. of the Australian Constitution: "The House of Representatives shall be composed of members directly chosen by the people of the Commonwealth, and the number of such members shall be, as nearly as practicable, twice the number of the Senators."

That's where the obligation of an Australian citizen begins and ends at the Ballot Box, in regard to the running of Government.

The Worker

Saturday, 16 March 2013

The type-writer

Brisbane June 23, 1894

Profit-producing Machines.

It is a fond argument of pseudo-political economists that the invention of labour-saving machinery even under our present social system, results in benefit to the many. How about this: The type-writer is a labour-saving machine, as many unfortunate solicitors' clerks out of employment can testify to their sorrow. Previous to the general use of this invention, the scale of costs allowed by law provided that 8d. per folio should be allowed to a solicitor for copying. That he made a reasonable profit can be understood when you hear that he could get the copying clerk to do this for 2d. per folio piecework, leaving him sixpence for doing nothing. The typewriter can turn out three copies of a document at once in half the time an expert copying clerk can do one, and at less than half the cost. By the way, the usual thing in a solicitors' office is to have three copies of a document made, especially in court work. The scale still remains unaltered at 8d.                       Squire.

Shop Assistants Early Closing Association

Brisbane June 23, 1894

Early Closing.

A deputation from the Shop Assistants Early Closing Association, introduced by Labour Member Reid interviewed Premier Nelson on Tuesday, with a view of obtaining legislation next session of Parliament protecting shop assistants and others from long hours of labour. Mr. F. M'Donnell, the secretary of the association, put the case before the Premier excellently, pointing out how grocers' assistants worked an average from sixty-five to seventy hours per week; drapers, from fifty-three to fifty-four hours, and in some shops from sixty to seventy hours per week; and that shops in many instances were kept open very late at night, which was most unfair, not only to the male but to the female assistants also that worked in them.

The association had made every effort for the past five and a-half years to remedy this great evil in our midst, but, owing to the action of some shopkeepers, its efforts were unavailing here, the same as in all other places where an attempt was made to bring about shorter hours in similar occupations; and, as Mr. M'Donnell pointed out, it was found out by experiences that the only possible way to cope with the difficulty was for the legislature to assist the wage-earners by enacting such laws as would protect them from long hours. The matter had received favourable attention from the legislatures of the other provinces, and likewise in the British House of Commons.

He assured the Premier that the majority of the members of the present Parliament were pledged to support an Early Closing Bill when introduced there; and he now asked Mr. Nelson, as head of the Government, to bring one in. The Premier merely stated he sympathised with the object of the deputation and promised to look into the matter.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Bleijie Backlfips On Bikie Laws

Media Release.

Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk says today’s High Court of Australia ruling has seen Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie hypocritically embrace the anti-crime gang laws of the former government which the LNP has repeatedly promised to strike down.
“Since the Criminal Organisation Act was first debated in State Parliament in 2009, Mr Bleijie has been just one of a number of LNP politicians to denigrate it,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“At the time the laws were debated in 2009 people like the then Shadow Attorney-General Lawrence Springborg repeatedly voted against them.
“The LNP even tried to introduce 27 amendments to weaken the laws put forward by Labor.
“The then Opposition Leader, John-Paul Langbroek, led the LNP’s move to vote against the laws.
“Even after the LNP was elected last year, the Premier, the Attorney-General and the Police Minister continued to criticise the laws.
“They said they planned to roll back Labor’s laws because Mr Bleijie said they affected the civil liberties of criminals.
“In a statement in April 2012 he said: ‘The Newman Government does not think anti-association laws are the way to go with rogue bikie gangs and other organised crime syndicates.’
“Yet today when the laws stand up to challenge in the High Court of Australia – as Labor believed they would – the LNP suddenly backflips.
“In typical hypocritical fashion Mr Bleijie is now not only claiming a victory, but also claiming Labor’s laws as his own,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

LNP Must Disclose Regional Secret Fundraising Plans

Media Release.

Member for Mackay and Deputy Opposition Leader, Tim Mulherin, says the Premier must direct the LNP to release full details of its secret fundraising efforts especially any plans for “fee-for-service” dinners in regional centres.
“Local LNP MPs should say if their party is planning to duplicate its secret Regional Round Table dinner series in regional centres such as Mackay, Cairns, Townsville, Rockhampton or anywhere else in Queensland,” Mr Mulherin said.
“It is amazing that the LNP Government have continued to defend their “fee for service” dinner on Monday, but would still not reveal who the guests were who coughed up $11,000 for the pleasure of dining with them in Brisbane.
“A ‘fee for service’ dinner suggests those attending are receiving something in return for their $11,000,” Mr Mulherin said.
“It is therefore in the public interest for Queenslanders to know who attended this exclusive dinner — the first in a series of six planned by the LNP.
“If he has nothing to hide the Minister for Agriculture, John McVeigh, who was the main attraction at Monday night’s secret Brisbane dinner, should say whether any more dinner series are being considered, especially in regional centres.
“So far the only thing that is clear about these murky fundraisers is that the LNP is doing all it can to avoid scrutiny and reporting of its fundraising activities.
“Why else would it deliberately stage ‘fee-for-service’ dinners instead of declaring ticket prices to be donations which require reporting to the Electoral Commission of Queensland?
“It is these secret cash-for-access dinners that show just how much we need to resist the LNP’s attacks on the anti-corruption institutions of our state including the Crime and Misconduct Commission and its oversight body, the Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Committee.
“It is the CMC and the PCMC that have been the subject of a full-frontal attack by the Premier, the Treasurer and the Attorney-General in the past week.
“The LNP’s secret dinners are a good reason to maintain the CMC and the PCMC because of the scope for ethical standards to be breached when fundraising is done behind closed doors and at secret locations,” Mr Mulherin said.
View the email correspondence and the invitation for the “fee-for-access” dinners attached.

Newman Government must restore confidence in rail safety

Media Release.

The Opposition has welcomed the Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s (ATSB) preliminary report into the incident at Cleveland Station on 31 January 2013.
Opposition Transport Spokesperson Jackie Trad acknowledged the finding that debris and contaminants on the track were to blame and not driver error or the failure of train mechanics.
“It is disappointing that Transport Minister Scott Emerson has used the release of the ATSB report to score political points against unions instead of working cooperatively to fix any safety issues,” Ms Trad said
“Furthermore, the Minister needs to guarantee job cuts at Queensland Rail would not slow down the implementation of the ATSB report’s key recommendation.
“The Newman Government cut 500 jobs from Queensland Rail in the State Budget since then there have been report of further job losses,” Ms Trad said.
“I call on the Government to guarantee Queensland Rail is fully resourced so that the work can be completed quickly and full confidence in the safety of the rail network can be restored.”
Ms Trad said it was important to remember the ATSB will continue to work on the final report and the Queensland Rail Safety Regulator is still investigating the incident.
“I note that Queensland Rail has established a Wheel Rail Interface Working Group that will address the issues raised by this preliminary report,” Ms Trad said.
“As yet there is no timeframe for the completion of that work, but it’s critical that it is completed quickly and the public is kept up to date on any progress.”
Ms Trad said the Queensland Government is yet to publish any results of an investigation into the serious collision between a train and a truck at Banyo station in September 2012.
“I ask the Minister to explain why this report has not been made public and immediately release it,” Ms Trad said.
“Queenslanders need to know whether this accident has any safety implications for the rest of the network.”

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

LNP Ministers Star In ‘Fee For Service’ Fundraisers

Media Release.

Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk says a series of “fee for service” fundraisers involving the payment of $11,000 for access to LNP Ministers highlights the need to protect the state’s anti-corruption bodies.
“The LNP is planning a series of six Regional Round Table fundraising dinners which will cost $11,000 for industry representatives to attend, with the first being held tonight at an undisclosed Brisbane venue with Agriculture Minister John McVeigh,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“Leaked emails inviting timber industry representatives to attend the McVeigh fundraiser show the events will allow those who attend to shape government policy.
“This sort of activity is why we need to protect anti-corruption institutions such as the Crime and Misconduct Commission and the bi-partisan Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Committee.”
Ms Palaszczuk said LNP Ministers would be the star attraction at the dinners which would be hosted by the LNP organisation.
“If they are designated as LNP activity, then under the Newman Government’s own guidelines the Premier and his Ministers will not be required to declare them in their published diaries.
“Following on the scandalous use of taxpayers’ funds to stage the launch of their health blueprint last month, the new series of dinners show the LNP views government policy as just another source of fundraising.
“If the LNP wants to discuss or develop policies it should do so openly, not behind closed doors by charging people to attend.
“The Premier has already abandoned the question-and-answer sessions at Community Cabinet meetings and has also scrapped the original plans for a series of ‘town hall’ meetings across the state.
“This new series of fundraisers shows the LNP is only interested in listening to those that can afford to buy their ear,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

Monday, 11 March 2013

LNP Government Pre-Empts CMC Inquiry

Media Release.

Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk says the Premier and senior LNP Ministers are pre-empting the work of a bi-partisan parliamentary inquiry by calling for CMC chair Ross Martin QC to resign.
The Premier and his Ministers down must butt out and let the all-party parliamentary inquiry find the facts,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
The LNP has had a longstanding hostility towards anti-corruption watchdogs stretching back to the CMC’s predecessor — the Criminal Justice Commission — and further back to the Fitzgerald Inquiry itself.
Statements by the Premier today and the menacing remarks by both the Attorney-General and the Treasurer in State Parliament this morning show the LNP government is acting as judge and jury on Mr Martin.
If this attack on the CMC chair continues, then Queenslanders should start questioning the LNP government’s real agenda.”
Ms Palaszczuk said the Opposition supported moves to address problems arising from the mistaken early release of files linked to the Fitzgerald Commission of Inquiry.
This is an extraordinary situation which I understand has never arisen anywhere in Australia, so we have an obligation to protect anyone who may be under threat from unauthorised release of Fitzgerald Inquiry files,” she said.
The Opposition backs the inquiry by the bi-partisan Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Committee into this matter.
But unlike the LNP government we have made no judgement about Mr Martin’s role except to say he needs to explain what went wrong. He will do so to the PCMC’s inquiry.
The PCMC will report back in April but already the Premier, Mr Nicholls and Mr Bleijie have pre-empted that bi-partisan process by suggesting Mr Martin has to go now.
Queenslanders must question why the LNP takes any chance it can to attack and denigrate the CMC,” Ms Palaszczuk said.


Media Release.

Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk says the Premier is now leading an LNP full-frontal attack on the state’s anti-corruption institutions.
In the past few days we have seen the Premier and senior Ministers including the Treasurer and Attorney-General not wait to find out the facts before attacking the now-resigned chair of the Crime and Misconduct Commission, Ross Martin,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
Now the Premier has turned his attention to attacking the all-party Parliamentary Crime and Misconduct Committee that oversees the CMC.
In an extraordinary assault on the committee the Premier has labeled it and its members ‘a lap dog’.
He has accused PCMC members of being implicated in the unauthorized release and shredding of Fitzgerald Inquiry files.
This is an unprecedented attack on the same oversight committee the LNP government has tasked with investigating those matters.
Either the Premier has spoken out of ignorance and stupidity, or his remarks are another calculated attempt to tear down public confidence in our anti-corruption institutions.
The LNP has a longstanding hostility towards anti-corruption bodies like the CMC.
But for the Premier to now attack a parliamentary committee that includes his own MPs and Opposition and cross-bench MPs is an insult to those on the committee and a chilling signal to Queenslanders of the government’s real agenda.
The Premier and the LNP now appear to be set on a full-frontal attack on our anti-corruption institutions including the CMC and now the PCMC.
The Premier should at minimum retract his comments and apologize to PCMC members,” she said.


Media Release.

Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt says today is the day the Premier can and should answer questions about the LNP’s Costello Audit report.
On Tuesday last week the Premier promised he would read the full final report of the LNP’s Costello Audit within five days,” Mr Pitt said. 
It’s Sunday, so time is up for the Premier. He should now be able to answer basic questions about the contents of the full report.
If he and Treasurer Tim Costello want to maintain their arrogant approach of hiding the report by delaying its public release, then it is only fair the Premier answer questions about it in the meantime.”
Mr Pitt said at the bare minimum the Premier should today be able to say:
  • What is being recommended for sale?
  • What is being recommended for privatisation?
  • What is being recommended for outsourcing?
  • What services will be hit?
How many jobs will disappear with the disposal of assets or services?
These are simple questions Queenslanders would expect the Premier to answer,” he said.
If he can’t or won’t answer them today, then the Premier should immediately release the full and final report of the LNP’s Costello Audit report so Queenslanders can see it for themselves.
We are still waiting for the release of the second secret report by Mr Costello presented to the government in November 2012 — about four months ago.
That second hidden report should also be released as soon as possible,” Mr Pitt said.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

The last Union prisoner released from St. Helena.

Brisbane May 19, 1894


Union Ex-Prisoner.
Released from St. Helena on April 27th 1894.

John M'Namara, or as he is well known by bushmen, “Happy Jack,” was arrested in Augathella on the 30th March, 1891, and was taken by the police on a journey of some 300 miles to Rockhampton. But perhaps we had better allow Jack to tell his own story: “There were 71 of us unionists riding from Blackall to Charleville to make a camp during the '91 strike. It was somewhat unfortunate for us that during our ride to Augathella, the grass on Lorne station caught fire – probably caused by the carelessness of some smoker, or by the usual natural causes which occasion bush fires. On arrival at Augathella, 23 of us were charged with rioting at Lorne, but this charge was with drawn. We were then charged with setting fire to the grass at Lorne. I was then charged in company with C. F. Latrielle with arson at Oakwood, but after waiting nearly five months we were acquitted on this charge. On leaving court Latrielle and myself were rearrested on the charge of arson at Lorne.
Arriving in Blackall in the middle of August, 1891, received a sentence of two months for being in the company of a man who called another a scab. C. F. Latrielle got a month also on the same charge. Latrielle and I were committed on five charges of arson, viz, setting fire to grass at Lorne, woolshed at Lorne, grass at Minnie Downs, grass at Ravensbourne, grass at Langlow Downs. Eleven others were also charged with the same offence, but I was the only one against whom a bill was filed. The jury found me not guilty of arson, but said I had aided and abetted, and I was sentenced to three years imprisonment.”

Yes,” said John, in reply to an inquiry; “although I was glad that their time had expired in November last, I did feel a bit lonely when my mates were released, because although within a gaol, yet we were a union amongst ourselves, and when they left I sadly missed their companionship.”
Did anything happen down on the island that you would care to make mention of?”
Yes; the treatment I received from Dr. Wray. You must know that, shortly after I was sent into the bootmakers' shop, I found that it was seriously affecting my health owing to the sedentary nature of the work, which I had not been used to; and, in consequence, I made application to be sent to outdoor work in the gangs. This was refused me, owing to the unfair representations of Dr. Wray, as I will show. I was therefore, kept in the shop. I then made application three different times to that gentleman for a change of diet, but he refused my requests, and afterwards denied that I made any such applications, and said he believed their was nothing the matter with me.”

What did you do, then?” “Why, I was compelled to apply to the Colonial Secretary, who stated he would send down another doctor to examine me.” “What was the opinion of the other doctor?”
I never saw any other doctor but Dr. Wray during the whole time I was on the island. I consider the Colonial Secretary very ungentlemanly in not keeping to his promise .”
What was the result of all this?” “Well, you see, shortly after my mates left the island, Dr. Wray, owing to my representations to the Colonial Secretary, gave instructions that I should be weighed. It was then found that I had lost 21lbs. Of my original weight. He then ordered me into probation, to be kept for a time under medical observation.”
Did you have a spell when you were on probation?”
Spell!” said Jack, “you would not call it much of a spell if you were locked up in such a small cell both day and night with only one hour's exercise during the day, and I truly hope you will never have to apply to Dr, Wray for any of his prison medical probation comforts.”
Did the doctor examine you the next time he went down to the Island?”

The reply received to this query was a very emphatic “No.” “But, said Jack, the time after when he came down I made up my mind that I would have no more to do with Dr. Wray even if my illness was to cause death. The consequence was that without seeing me the doctor gave instructions that I was to be sent to outside work, but it took him twelve months to find out what I told him was the cause of my illness at first, and I had to suffer all the time, but then perhaps the doctor wanted practice, you know, and what's the odds when a prisoner is the subject.”
What do you think then of the doctor generally, Jack? ”
What do I think of him? Why, I think he is a perfect autocrat, who is rather inclined to believe in the sufferings of a sick prisoner, as described by Deputy-Governor Hamilton, than the prisoner himself, who may be suffering extreme pain.”
Why do you complain so of the doctor Jack? ”
Because I have suffered under him, and although I am now free I cannot forget what others may suffer from this cause who are not free to state their case. Although they may be prisoners they are at the same time human beings, and I like to do them a good turn if I can without injuring anyone else.”