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Issue #1546      9 May 2012

Serious questions from council elections

Last month elections for local governments were held in Queensland. Unlike in the rest of Australia local government areas are more akin to regional elections. Brisbane city has a budget bigger than Tasmania and an electorate across the whole city. The council election is as significant as state elections. The Liberal National Party under the Mayor Graham Quirk has control of 17 wards so far with Labor having five and remaining five undecided. The Greens candidate, former Democrat Andrew Bartlett, ran a credible third. The shift against the Labor Party continued and seems certain to be sustained into the next federal election.

This raises serious issues for the progressive and left movements and for the people’s struggle against the dominance of the monopoly corporations.

These elections have continued to show the shift in the political centre away from the dominance of agriculture and towards industry and finance. The reorganisation of the Liberal Party and the National Party into the Liberal National Party is the result of a shift in the ruling class forces and reflects the dominance of mining and the banks; this has had an effect on all political parties, including the Labor Party.

Working farmers are being pushed towards struggle by the dominance of miners and monopolies. The working people are angry about the sale of assets and the carbon tax has resonated as a potential cause of inflation of costs, electricity rates and many other essentials of local government have risen.

This saw changes in local governments throughout Queensland but populist rhetoric has seen that the Ipswich Mayor Pascale has retained his position.

The confusion and disarray caused by asset sales has had an effect in the organised working class and Labor is “on the nose”.

The performance of the Labor administrations in threatening and carrying out privatisations has undermined the support that has been given by the organised working class to Labor.

There is now a constant striving to find a way to end what is growing pain and poverty amongst the people. This reflects in the growing swings in political changes and will increase. Unemployment is on the rise; the increase in the aged workforce and the youth of unemployment is a major factor in the conservative approach developing amongst the population.

The weakness is emphasised by no candidates advocating a change of system. The Communist Party must find a way to change this position.  

Next article – The repression of the Patriotic March movement in Colombia

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