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Issue #1670      January 28, 2015

Queensland State Elections

Let’s dump the Newman govt

A snap election poll has been called for January 31st in Queensland by the incumbent Campbell Newman government. The Newman government has distinguished itself by sacking thousands of public servants, endangering the Barrier Reef, reversing sand mining decisions on Stradbroke Island (off Brisbane) and increasing the rights of gambling corporations.

The government has now announced that it will lease government assets as part of a means of putting electricity and other government assets further into private hands. Trade union rights have been further restricted with the outlawing of payroll deductions for Union dues, the 24 hours notice for right of entry and the removal of redundancy and contracting out provisions from enterprise agreements.

The Costello report commissioned by the Newman government from former federal treasurer Peter Costello recommended extensive privatisation of assets including the Brisbane City Council buses. The Liberal National Party government has committed to competitive tendering of bus routes in 2016. Along with these measures extensive freedom of association laws have been passed and no doubt will be used wider than the so called criminal motorcycle gangs which are not even mentioned in the legislation.

The trade union movement is leading a campaign to remove the Newman government and should be supported in this endeavour. The main contender is the Labor Party with the Greens and Palmer United also involved in the elections.

The Labor Party is hampered in its campaign by the role of the previous government in privatising the railways, ports, main roads and forests. The privatised ports are pivotal in that their development in association with the coal industry has been one of the risks for the barrier reef.

This government, as with the previous government, are under the domination of the miners and the raising of funds through asset leasing (sales) is to fund developments in the Galilee Coal Basin which development was handed to the Indian mining giant Adani (ahead of Palmer and others).

The Labor Party through leader Annastacia Palaszczuk has committed to opposing electricity privatisation and apologised for Labor getting it wrong in the last term of government.

Unemployment is a huge issue with youth unemployment reaching some 20 percent in different parts of the state on official figures.

The state of Queensland has been subordinated to the mining Industry for too long and faces incredible problems if new environmentally sustainable developments are not begun and the contradictions between mining companies and the environment are allowed to be decided in favour of the mining companies.

The removal of the workplace laws is also of importance to the working class movement. In these circumstances the right wing extreme parties of the Liberal National, Palmer United and One Nation should be placed last and the Greens and other progressive parties placed first and a preference to Labor to ensure the removal of the Newman government.

There is a need for support to the independent environmental movement and the trade union movement to rebuild civil liberties which are vital issues in Queensland, a state with a history of authoritarian governments.

Next article – War memorial flogged off to New Hope Coal?

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