Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Newman Government privatisation of Health services

At a LNP fund raiser at $200 dollars a plate in Brisbane today, the Queensland Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said that their going to privatise Health services, he also said and I quote "if they don't get on the train we will run over them" what a arrogant man.  
Hearing him speak, I can't believe how arrogant Mr. Springborg is, if that's an example of the Newman Government they are capable of anything. I think this mob don't understand the meaning of the word "empathy." 
All they want to do is worship the idol of economic rationalism which says that markets and money can always do everything better than governments bureaucracies and the law, economic rationalism is a load of rubbish!

The Worker

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Hockey backtracks on carbon tax compensation

An extract from the ABC website:

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet has described the Coalition's plan to cut carbon pollution as a "farce", after Liberal frontbencher Joe Hockey was forced to issue a clarifying statement about the policy.
Mr Hockey yesterday suggested the Coalition would provide compensation to businesses that are negatively affected by the scrapping of the carbon tax under a future Coalition government.
"We will consider it on a case-by-case basis, and we have allocated funds under our direct action plan to deal with initiatives that are underway," he told reporters in Launceston.
However, there is no provision in the direct action policy for compensation.
Late yesterday Mr Hockey issued a statement backtracking from his original comments.
"The Coalition will not be paying compensation for repeal of the carbon tax," the statement said.
Mr Combet says Mr Hockey has made a "goose" of himself by contradicting the Coalition's policy.
"The Liberal Party's policy on climate change is a joke, it's a farce, it's a subsidies-for-polluters proposition," he told reporters in Adelaide.
"The fact of the matter is also that many companies are investing [and] are creating jobs as a consequence of the carbon price coming in, because it's supporting investment in renewable energy.
"Make no mistake about it, the carbon price is creating jobs."
Mr Combet warned that if the carbon tax was scrapped by the Coalition, investment in renewable energy would dry up and job opportunities would go.
Asked this morning whether companies which have benefited from the carbon tax would be offered compensation, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott told ABC radio: "There are some businesses that are taking advantage of the carbon tax and there's nothing wrong with that.
"The tax arrangements that particular governments put in place are often made the most of by business.
"But instead of a carbon tax, we're going to have some incentives available for our emissions reduction fund and businesses that are contributing to reducing emissions can certainly apply to the emissions reduction fund to benefit from that."



Businesses like Hydro Tasmania have become more profitable under the carbon tax because they generate carbon-free electricity.
Greens leader Christine Milne says any plan to offer compensation to such businesses would leave the Government with an "astronomical" bill.
"For Joe Hockey to suggest the Coalition would compensate companies for lost income and stranded assets resulting from a repeal of carbon pricing is laughable," Senator Milne said in a statement.
"It shows he has little comprehension of the way market-based policies actually work.
"How is it that when in Tasmania, where the Hydro earns $70 million a year thanks to the clean energy package, Joe Hockey is keen on compensation, but once he leaves the state the backflip comes into play?"
Tasmania's Deputy Premier, Bryan Green, says the extra money flowing to Hydro is providing a "significant boost" to the state budget, helping to pay for things like hospitals, schools and police.


Penalties or no penalties?

Speaking to reporters in Rockhampton later today, Mr Abbott said Mr Hockey was clearly referring to plans for an emissions reduction fund that would provide incentives to businesses to cut carbon pollution.
"We believe in incentives. We don't believe in penalties," he said.
However, the direct action policy document states: "Businesses that undertake activity with an emissions level above their business-as-usual levels will incur a financial penalty.
"The value of penalties will be on a sliding scale at levels commensurate with the size of the business and the extent to which they exceed their business-as-usual levels."
Mr Combet says the Opposition Leader's comments are further evidence the policy is a "shambles".
The Coalition's policy says the value of penalties will be set in consultation with the industry, but are only expected to be applied in "exceptional circumstances" given that "economic growth projections... have been built into business-as-usual emissions estimates".

Newman’s Plan To Plan

Media Release.

Deputy Opposition Leader and Member for Mackay Tim Mulherin says Premier Campbell Newman needs to clarify apparent confusion over his plans to develop his vision for Queensland’s future.
Mr Mulherin said in January the Premier announced a proposal for a series of town hall meetings to develop a 20-year vision for the state’s future.
“But now he is talking about two summits to develop a 30-year vision. Has he watered down the original plan, or is this a new plan?” Mr Mulherin said.
“Is the Premier limiting his exposure to Queenslanders by only holding two meetings as he is afraid of what people have to say about his mass sackings and savage cuts to frontline services?
“The Premier already shies away from scrutiny by not taking questions from the public at Community Cabinet meetings and now he is again limiting consultation with Queenslanders.
“The Premier needs to explain how these two plans relate or if there will be any collaboration in the processes.
“To add to the confusion the Newman Government also has a six-month action plan and 30 year plans for electricity, water and agriculture – there seems to be lots of planning to plan and not much action.
“Mr Newman also has not explained who will pay for the 89 MPs to invite constituents to Mackay for his latest summit.
“Will taxpayers fund this talkfest or will only those who can afford to take time off get to Mackay and pay for accommodation be able to participate?
“The Government already has an avenue to garner ideas and initiatives from the Queensland public, through the Community Cabinet process.
“However, as the Premier refuses to take questions from the public during Community Cabinet it limits the level of public input Queenslanders have with the LNP Government,” he said.
Mr Mulherin said the previous Government already conducted extensive consultation throughout Queensland on regional economic and social infrastructure needs as part of the development of three long-term planning documents aimed at strengthening regional Queensland.
“Following extensive regional consultation the previous State Government released the Queensland Regionalisation Strategy (QRS), the Queensland Infrastructure Plan (QIP), and the Bruce Highway Upgrade Strategy (BHUS),” he said.
“Following six months of consultation at 13 forums across the state, which more than 500 people attended, 35 recommendations were adopted to create stronger regions in Queensland.
“If the Premier had not fired all the senior public servants with all their corporate knowledge he would be aware that this data is already available to him.”

LNP Cashes In On Health Cuts And Sackings

Media Release.

The Newman Government will cash in on its massive cuts to the public health system by charging Queenslanders $200 a head to learn how it will Americanise hospitals and health services.
Shadow Health Minister Jo-Ann Miller said the LNP will stage a fundraising event tomorrow to launch its slash and burn health policy, channelling thousands of dollars into the party coffers.
“This is a government that’s not only happy to sack thousands of health workers it’s happy to profit from their misery,” Mrs Miller said.
“The Premier needs to either cancel this event or do the right thing and funnel the profits to the victims of Queensland’s latest flood disasters.
“It’s an absolute disgrace that this Premier would seek to line his party’s pockets by charging $200 a head for people to hear how his government plans to gut our public health system and sell bits off to the private sector.
“It is extraordinary that the LNP has found a way to turn the government’s mass sackings and savage cuts to frontline services into a cash cow, by bragging about their efforts at a five star hotel and charging people for the privilege.
“It’s even more extraordinary that they lack the basic compassion to distribute the money they stand to make to the right place – and that’s into the Red Cross disaster appeal.
“I am sure this will not impress communities that are losing frontline health workers having their hospital and health services closed or scaled down and losing nursing home beds.
“I am sure people in Cairns and Moura will be interested to know the LNP sees a chance to make money by selling tickets to hear about a policy that means the loss of their community’s hospital services.
“The same goes for Wynnum and the rest of Brisbane’s southern bayside suburbs that are losing their hospitals and nursing homes, as well as those on the northside who will see the Eventide Home close.
“If the Premier won’t cancel the LNP fundraiser, then he should at least offer free admission to the thousands of nurses and other frontline staff he is sacking in our health system.
“It is an insult to those who have lost or will be losing their jobs.”
Mrs Miller said the refusal of the Newman Government to release the final report of the Costello Audit this week indicated 2013 would see the LNP move to sell off as many state assets as possible, with the health system a prime candidate.
“There is no doubt tomorrow’s event will focus on outsourcing or privatising hospital and health services.
“That’s why Queenslanders must see the secret final report of the Costello Audit which no doubt recommends the sale of as many state assets as possible.
“If there is nothing to hide in the report why keep it under lock and key?”

Monday, 25 February 2013

LNP Government Back Down On Emergency Services Cadet Program

Media Release.

Shadow Emergency Services Minister Bill Byrne says today’s announcement by the Newman Government to reinstate the Emergency Services Cadet program is an admission they got it wrong when they scrapped the program last year.
Mr Byrne said Emergency Services Minister Jack Dempsey had bungled the scrapping of the cadet program from the outset last year.
“Now Mr Dempsey’s Assistant Minister Ted Malone has had to come in to fix his bungle and reinstate the Emergency Services Cadet program,” Mr Byrne said.
“This is another embarrassment for Mr Dempsey, who already needed Mr Malone to clean-up his rural firies debacle.
“It is clear the Assistant Minister Ted Malone should actually be the Minister, as he is the one doing all the work.
“It is obvious Mr Malone has more of the necessary experience and knowledge to be the Emergency Services Minister after being the Shadow Minister for 11 years.
“Mr Dempsey needs to admit he is out of his depth and step aside,” he said.
Mr Byrne said the admission by the LNP Government that they got it wrong on scrapping the Emergency Cadet program was good news for all the young people who were involved in this important program.
“Mr Dempsey said last year the Government would save $1.18 million by scrapping the Cadet program, he now needs to explain how the new program will be funded,” he said.
“Now the PCYC are running the new cadet program is the funding for it coming out of the police budget?
“When the previous program was scrapped last year Mr Dempsey was highly critical of the 10% uptake from the Cadet program to adult SES programs.
“Mr Dempsey now needs to guarantee that the new Emergency Services Cadet program will have a higher take-up rate than the previous program,” Mr Byrne said.

Premier Fails To Act On Driscoll

Media Release.

Deputy Opposition Leader Tim Mulherin says the Premier needs to state if he still supports his LNP Member for Redcliffe Scott Driscoll following a number of revelations about Mr Driscoll’s business dealings.
“It seems that every day there is a new story casting doubt over the suitability of Mr Driscoll to be the elected representative for the people of Redcliffe,” Mr Mulherin said.
“It is time we heard from Premier Campbell Newman if he still stands by Mr Driscoll as an appropriate person to be in the Queensland Parliament.
“Mr Newman may be the Premier, but he is no statesman, he has proven time and again that when it comes to the tough calls he can’t act.
“Mr Newman failed to act to remove Bruce Flegg and Ros Bates from Cabinet when Queenslanders and his own colleagues had lost faith in the two Ministers’ abilities.
“Now, after a week of ongoing revelations about Mr Driscoll the Premier has again failed to show leadership and either act to kick out Mr Driscoll from the LNP or make a clear statement of support.
“The people of Redcliffe need to know if the Premier has full confidence in Mr Driscoll,” he said.

Premier Continues To Offer False Hope On Power Prices

Media Release.

Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt says the Premier is again raising the hopes of Queenslanders with his cost-of-living promises.
"His latest effort is to guarantee Queenslanders will not be hit by double-digit power price rises without explaining how," Mr Pitt said.
"His new benchmark promise means he is committing to more than halving the average 21 per cent rise recommended by the QCA.
"Double digits start at 10 so if the Premier is now saying all households will face rises of less than that, it's still a hefty increase after promising ongoing savings.
"That is now his benchmark and his guarantee so he needs to fully explain how he will do that, at what cost, and how that will effect the budget position.
"By finding money for subsidies after sacking 14,000 workers supposedly because of the budget position, he truly shows there is no strategy and he's making it up as he goes along.
"He must provide details immediately on how it is to be achieved or stop offering false hope to Queensland families who are already hurting thanks to decisions by the Newman Government."
Mr Pitt said the Premier's comments smacked of desperation to fix a political hole he now finds himself in, and they do nothing to explain how he plans to turn possible jumps in power bills of up to $500 a year announced last week into the ongoing saving of $120 a year he promised for all Queensland households at the election.
"Nobody likes the price rises recommended by the Queensland Competition Authority but that is no excuse for making promises that are ill-considered and may only disappoint people," he said.
"The whole issue shows how badly the LNP misled voters at the last election when they guaranteed they could lower the cost of living."

LNP Fails Cost Of Living Test

Media Release.

Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt says the Newman Government needs to explain how it will turn possible jumps in power bills of up to $500 a year into its promised ongoing saving of $120 a year for all Queensland households.
“The latest proposed price rise shows how badly the LNP misled voters at the last election when they guaranteed they could lower the cost of living,” Mr Pitt said.
“So far they have delivered nothing resembling their promises to cut power prices car rego or water bills.
“The Queensland Competition Authority report (page 101) shows that an average rise of 21% or $253 a year in Tariff 11 translates to rises of anywhere from $123 up to more than $500 a year depending on household types.
“The bottom line is that the Premier and the Treasurer said before the 2012 election they had an answer to power price rises, so now it is their responsibility to outline what they plan to do to cut bills by $120 a year.
“This mean and tricky LNP government is now trying to renege on its promise by claiming it was only ever a one-off $120 saving, but their commitment to ongoing savings was crystal clear in the election campaign.”
Mr Pitt said comments by the Energy Supply Association suggested a large part of the proposed price rise was due to a catch-up to compensate suppliers for the tariff freeze imposed last year by the LNP government.
“This was confirmed by the QCA in its report,” he said.
“So in effect the LNP has so far delivered nothing and consumers have so far saved nothing, let alone $120 a year.
“Mr Nicholls cannot blame the proposed massive rise on the impact of emissions pricing because that price was already factored into bills from July last year and has not changed.”
Mr Pitt said the Premier’s promise of ongoing savings of $120 a year on power bills could not have been clearer.
“Despite fiddling with its policy in November 2011, the minimum saving the LNP promised was always to be an ongoing $120 a year,” he said.
In January 2012 2011 the LNP released a statement that said it would “….act to address Queensland's rising household energy bills and immediately freeze the standard domestic tariff (Tariff 11) providing savings of around $120 a year on power bills compared with Labor…”
“The $120 cut was promised as a bare-minimum, ongoing, annual saving. There was no mention of it being a one-off,” Mr Pitt said.
“The LNP’s promise on power prices now joins other broken promises on the cost of living.
“It promised to freeze car rego but once in office argued its election promise did not cover CTP costs, despite never previously making that distinction.
“The LNP promised all Queensland households ongoing annual savings of $80 on water bills but once in office limited the promise to households in South East Queensland and in January the Premier suddenly said the $80 saving was a ‘one-off rebate’.
“In just 11 months in office the LNP has broken all of its key promises to reduce the cost of living for Queensland households,” Mr Pitt said.

“Tin Man” Fails To Help Whale Watching Industry

Media Release.

Shadow Environment Minister Jackie Trad says local Member for Hervey Bay “Tin-Man” Ted Sorensen has proved how badly his own LNP government ignores regional communities.
“Mr Sorensen has pointed out that his own government is failing to protect the Hervey Bay whale watching industry from proposed law changes that will lift a ban on commercial whale watching in state waters outside of marine parks,” Ms Trad said.
“The changes could spell disaster for the Hervey Bay region which is now synonymous with whale watching as they will allow operators in other areas to run whale watching tours.
“I understand Mr Sorensen has unsuccessfully attempted to alert his Cabinet colleagues to how much of an impact these changes will have on the Hervey Bay region, but clearly no-one has listened to him,.
“Mr Sorensen has been so unsuccessful in lobbying his Cabinet colleagues that he has had to write a submission against his own government’s legislation.
“The Newman Government drafted these changes without consulting the Hervey Bay community or even Mr Sorensen so obviously they have no intention of listening to their concerns now.
“Again we see Mr Sorensen playing catch-up on a local issue he is grappling to get on top of.
“The leadership team of the Premier, Deputy Premier and Treasurer continue to fail to listen to the concerns of their backbench which results in the disgruntlement we currently see on the LNP backbench.
“This is another example of the Newman Government not caring about regional Queensland,” she said.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Labor plans changes to 457 visa conditions

An extract from the ABC website:

The Federal Government has announced changes to conditions for foreign workers on 457 visas.
Employers will be required to demonstrate there is a genuine skills shortage, and they will not be able to send foreign workers to an area where local skilled workers are available.
The Government will also close a loophole allowing foreign workers to be paid less than local workers.
Immigration Minister Brendan O'Connor says the changes will reduce the number of 457 visa applications, which have outstripped national employment growth.
"We have seen too many examples of abuse across the nation," he said.
"We have seen situations where people's jobs have been dressed up to be so-called skilled jobs, but in fact when they come here, they are working in unskilled areas.
"We have seen situations where people have come out on this visa [who] are friends or family of the sponsors, and that is not the way in which those people should come here.
"They have perfectly good streams of migration to apply and this stream should not be used in that manner."

The new Trades and Labour Hall 1894

Brisbane May 12, 1894


The Labour Church.

The new Trades and Labour Hall was opened on last Saturday afternoon in the presence of a large gathering of prominent agitators and friends of the Labour movement. Many ladies were present and took a great interest in the proceedings, probably preparing for the exercise of that noble privilege – the right to vote. Mr. F. M'Donnell, trustees, opened the business in a few chosen words by handing the key of the building to Mr. Hewitt, the president of the Trades and Labour Hall Board of Management, and requesting him to declare the building open in the name of the workers of Queensland.

It is significant of the growing solidarity of the Labour movement that there was no disposition to go outside the labour ranks to secure a man fitted to take the responsibility of declaring the hall open. In the past Labour has been too prone to invite some person – often the Governor or some other equally well – paid gentleman – to condescend to rub shoulders for the time being with workers, and silver trowels and golden keys have been purchased with money which might have been better applied; but on this occasion Labour showed a commendable absence of jealousy and growing confidence in itself by appointing to the position of honour one of its own men. The only gentleman outside the Labour movement present as a speaker was Sir Charles Lilley, who laid the foundation stone. However, Mr. Hewitt, who is a member of the Stonemason's Union, acquitted himself very creditably. In the course of a good speech he briefly sketched the history of the building, and pointed to it as an evidence of what could be done by means of co-operation. “If a Trades Hall could be so built, why not any other? The building stood erect there proclaiming what societies united could do. It would not have been possible for one society to accomplish so much. It was proof of the necessity there was for all to act concertedly. Let them all have their little differences of opinion. It was human for them to do so; but let them also agree to differ. No one society could afford to remain isolated for long. As it was good for the individual to unite with his mates so also was it good for societies to come together and join hands under the roof of the Church of labour. (Applause)

The proceedings up to this time had been carried on in front of the hall on a raised platform. Mr. Hewitt then invited the large audience into the public hall, when the member for the Flinders Charles M'Donald, took the floor.

After an apology for the absence of Messrs. Dawson and Dunsford, M.L.A., Charters Towers, Mr. M'Donald said he was pleased at the erection of the hall, as it was another temple erected to the sacred cause of Labour within the walls of which he hoped to hear preached the doctrines which would ultimately emancipate the people. Referring to unionism he said he had great faith in industrial organisations – (applause) – and he believed that it was through their industrial organisations they were eventually going to be emancipated, and the sooner the workers of Queensland and other colonies recognised that the better it would be for them. Now from their industrial organisations they were enabled to wield a large political influence, but in the exercise of that political influence they would have to be very careful whom they selected for their candidates at various elections. He also would like them to understand this, that there could be no compromise between the Labour Party and any other party. The Labour Party was a distinct party – (applause) – and anyone who ran with the Labour Party must sign the Labour platform. If a man was not prepared to do that then he was against them. It was far better to have an open opponent than a man sitting on a rail pretending to be their friend.
[Sir Charles Lilley; “hear, hear,” and applause.] Anybody who wished to sit between the Labour Party and the Capitalistic Party let them not touch him. (Laughter and applause.) Let him go right for them or right against them. (Applause.) Mr. M'Donald also urged the meeting not to forget the terrible sufferings of many of the bushmen, who, notwithstanding the depression and the distress he believed, would have their union stronger by thousands this year than it was last. (Applause.)
Cambooya Daniels, M.L.A., followed Mr. M'Donald, and in his usual happy vein dilated on the benefits of unionism. The conditions under which shearers now had to shear was far different to what they were before the union came into existence. It was unionism which enabled the workers to return men to Parliament. The fact that they could return their own men showed the remarkable growth of the power of unionism. He supposed that nine or ten years ago, before the time of unionism, if any man from among the labouring class had put up for Parliament, he would have been brought up before a gentleman holding a position similar to the one recently held by Sir Charles Lilley, and sent to a lunatic asylum or to gaol. (Laughter.) Referring to the views held by the farmers on the Darling Downs and in other agricultural centres, he said the people, like the office boy's kittens, now had their eyes open, and if they were given a chance would not return followers of Sir Thomas M'Ilwraith, but would go straight out for labour, (Applause.) He was sure this would be the case in Warwick and Stanthorpe. He urged upon every man, woman and child the necessity for combination. He had not time that day to go into all the benefits that would spring from it, but this much he would say: That if they had had fair government and proper legislation there need not be one man out of work in Queensland. (Applause.)

Sir Charles Lilley then addressed the meeting, and was well received. In opening he spoke favourably of the woman suffrage movement, his remarks being received with applause. Then referring to the speech of Mr. C. M'Donald he said: Their friend from the West had spoken of men who sat on the rail. Well, he (Sir Charles) was not sitting on the rail – (laughter) – and he declined to be so classed, although he could not perhaps sign the Labour manifesto or whatever it was. [A Voice; “Why?”] He believed in every principle contained in it, but he had a very curious spirit. He would submit to no man's dictation. He was born free; he had lived free; he had been a free lance; and to place him under the dictation of King or council, Kaiser or prince, would be impossible. He had been and would still be his own King and prince; following only his own lights and conscience. As he began so he would continue and end. But the Labour Party in all the principles with which he agreed would have his aid, whether he ever saw the inside of Parliament or not. There was applause during this part of Sir Charles's address, but it was not the unanimous cheering which greeted other portions of his remarks when he spoke of the urgency of many reforms.

Mr. Thomas Glassey said he was glad to be with them on the present occasion, however, and he joined in the very commendable congratulations which had been tendered to the promoters of the building. Reference had been made by Sir Charles Lilley to the law which operated in Prussia 100 years ago. He believed it was sometimes a British boast – nay, it was British brag, to say that all good things belonged to the genius of the British people. He believed there was genius and ability in every land in the world, and that there were hearts in those lands which throbbed for human elevation and happiness. It was a very reasonable law which was passed in Prussia, which enacted that it was the duty of the State to see that every man capable of working should be found work to do; and working – this was the point which Sir Charles had perhaps neglected – of such a character that the individual was capable of doing. That was both wise and prudent. Some of their critics would say. “That is Utopian.” It might be Utopian; but was it wise, prudent, or just to say the aged or infirm, or the weak should carry the same load that persons of strong physique were capable of carrying? That he believed was the spirit which had animated the people of Prussia when they executed the law to which he had referred. It had been said that men declined work when it was offered them. He did not wonder if they did, if they were asked to do work which was beyond them. Would it not be wrong to ask a person of 55 or 65 years of age to take a pick and a shovel and do roadmaking which stronger men were only able to do? But those making the charge did not tell them the reason why the work was not taken. One of the elements in the successful discharge of human labour was touched by the Labour Party when it said that the persons who were least able to perform the hardest work should not be asked to do it, but so far as the working of the machinery of the State was concerned work was to be provided for those who were able to perform it, and what was more that it should be well and sufficiently rewarded when it was done. (Applause.)

Mr. J. M. Cross, member for Clermont, said like the other speakers he congratulated them on this building. He regarded it as the outward sign and symbol of a great organisation. He denied that the Labour movement was a movement for class legislation, as was frequently stated by the Brisbane press. With Mr. Frederick Harrison, than whom there were few abler men, he fully agreed when he told them that the “working class is the only class which is not a class – it is the people, the nation.” (Applause.) They knew also that nearly 90 per cent of the people in any country of considerable population were wage – earners, wealth producers. That being so he maintained that they formed the people and not a class. (Applause.) The crash of the banks in 1893 was the result of persistent class legislation of the most cruel character. (Applause.) He did not think that would be denied at all. So long as party government existed and so long as party warfare went on in politics, the Labour Party would have to stick together round the Labour platform, and fight for its accomplishment. (Applause.) The strength of the Labour movement and its guarantee for success in the future was its hopefulness. It asked nothing more than fair play for the labourer and a full reward for his labour, not as beasts of burden, as some men would make and keep them, but as brethren and heir's of God's bounty, of the legacies of progressive ages, and of the benefits of civilisation. These were the ends of the Labour movement; its unconquerable plea and its unconquerable moral force. (Applause.)

Mr. W. H. Browne, member for Croydon, said he had always been a straight-out trades unionist and, leaving politics alone, he wished, on behalf of the Croydon Miners Association and Gulf Workers' Association, to congratulate the Trades Hall Committee on the success of their work which had resulted in this building, which, he was sure. Would be a credit to any town in Australia. In speaking of unionism and strikes he said; Strikes had never been favoured by the unionists. They had been forced on them. When speaking of strikes, the question was often asked; “Well, how will you remedy them?” One remedy they had time after time offered – namely, conciliation and conferences. And in speaking of conciliation he meant that alluded to by Phillips in his “Labour and Wages” when he said, “Arbitration is perfectly useless unless backed up by the strong arm of the law.” At present a few men who were up in the matter, and who were, perhaps, greater than some of the Labour men could ever hope to be, and certainly greater than those who were opposed to them, came to his mind. First and foremost, in his opinion, was Sir Gearge Grey – (applause) – a man at the very least equal in ability to any of the opponents of compulsory arbitration in Queensland. There was Mons. Goblet, an ex-Premier of France, who sought to introduce compulsory arbitration in dealing with mining disputes in that country. The bill he introduced provided that if after the lapse of five weeks the mine-owners persisted in their refusal to meet the men in conference, the workmen should resume the mines. (Applause.) Then there was Cardinal Manning and Cardinal Moran, Mr. Reeves, of New Zealand, wound up a recent article in the Review of Reviews by saying that the only remedy was compulsory arbitration. (Applause.) There were few men and women in Australia who had not indirectly or directly suffered from strikes; the matter of arbitration therefore was one which interested everyone in the community, unionist or non-unionist, labourer or capitalist. (Applause,)

Mr. M. Reid, member for Toowong, referred in terms of praise to the work done by the Australian Labour Federation, without which, he claimed, there would have been no Labour in Politics movement, and no WORKER. He spoke of the strike question. They heard a great deal about strikes and Labour agitators. He had been an agitator and he was proud of it. (Applause.) He was more proud of that than of being an M.L.A. It was not the agitators who brought about strikes, but the men themselves, and the men themselves did not love strikes. The men only struck because they could suffer it no longer. (Applause.) Now they heard strikes universally condemned. He was going to have the audacity to say a word or two in their favour. Take the cotton strike in Lancashire. The employers there about eighteen months ago were the most bitter opponents of the eight-hour movement they had. They were the most conservative working men in England. Since the cotton strike the men had revolted – and it was one of the most magnificent fights from a battle point of view that the workers of the old country ever went through – and now every one of these cotton men and every working man in Lancashire were the strongest supporters of the eight-hour movement that they had got there. (Applause.) Now they would put all these strikes together and balance the suffering against the advantages and the education that the workers had received from them, and he dared to say that with all the suffering, with all the misery, and with all the money that had been wasted through the strikes the workers in England and Australia to-day were better educated and in a better position to look after their own affairs than they would have been had the strikes never occurred. (Applause.)

Mr. Reid then referred to the signing of the Labour Platform. Sir Charles Lilley had said that the Labour party, in the shape of Mr. M'Donald, had rejected him [Cries of “No, no,” and Sir Charles Lilley: “I said I did not know who I belonged to,” and a Voice: “That is better,”] He said the other side would not have him. [Sir Charles Lilley: “No, not at any price.”] He (Mr. Reid) said that the Labour Party, as far as they were concerned – he said as far as they were concerned as the Labour Party, that if they were going to take up their position in politics they would have to keep solid, and the only thing that they could do before they took a man into their party was to get him to sign their platform. [Sir Charles Lilley: “Hear,hear.”] And if Sir Charles Lilley wished to belong to the Labour party he could sign the labour Platform the same as Mat Reid or anyone else did. (Applause.) He had not lost his liberty in doing that, nor had he lost his individuality. (Applause.) Mr. Reid concluded his remarks by explaining briefly the principles of Socialism, and using the hall as an illustration of what the workers could do by united efforts.

Mr. Fisher, M.L.A. for Gympie, moved, and Sir Charles seconded, a vote of thanks to the chairman
which was carried with acclamation, and the meeting terminated.

[It is impossible with the small space at the disposal of the WORKER to give anything like a fair record of the speeches delivered at the opening of the hall. The Brisbane Courier and the Brisbane Telegraph contain most excellent reports, which will repay anyone who takes the trouble to peruse them – Ed.]

Friday, 22 February 2013

Multinationals using loopholes to avoid paying a fair share of Tax

I’ve  highlighted a serious problem we have with  big multinationals using loopholes to avoid paying a fair share of tax in Australia.
Every year Australia misses out on significant amounts of tax revenue from these global corporations while they use our taxpayer funded roads, staff educated in our schools and universities and our ever improving communications infrastructure to underpin their profits.

We’re not the only country facing this problem, but we are taking action to put a stop to it. The Government has been tightening our rules on tax avoidance and profit shifting and we'll amend the laws to make sure there’s transparency around how much tax these corporations are paying.

There also has to be international cooperation and the Treasurer last week worked with the G20 on a commitment to develop a global action plan.

The companies are dodging their responsibilities with complex global structures and transactions like the “
Double Irish Dutch Sandwich” and that puts an unfair burden on ordinary Australian workers and small businesses.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Increased hospital funding by 50%

While a billion dollars was ripped out of the health system when Tony Abbott was Minister, Julia Gillard and Labor are committed to fixing our health and hospitals which will be funded nationally and run locally.

Key Achievements:

  • Increased hospital funding by 50%
  • More doctors – as part of the largest single investment in the health workforce, we have doubled the number of GP training places to 1,200 a year by 2014.
  • More Nurses: funding over 1,000 new training places for nurses every year
  • More beds - a record investment to build 1,300 new sub-acute hospital beds
  • Record numbers of Australians getting their elective surgery on time: more than 76,000 elective surgery procedures have been delivered in the last two years, and over 125 hospitals have received new elective surgery equipment and operating theatres
  • Upgrades to more than 37 emergency departments in public hospitals and rolling out a new four hour cap on emergency department waiting times
  • More than 850,000 dental check-ups provided under the Medicare Teen Dental Plan
  • Increased aged care places by more than 10,000 including 838 new transitional care places to help up to 6,285 older Australians leave hospital sooner each year
  • Introduced a health check-up for every 4 year old to make sure they are fit, healthy and ready to learn when school starts
  • Cut Binge Drinking - closed the tax loophole that saw alcopop sales soar and implementing a $103 million binge drinking strategy. This has seen alcopops consumption fall by 30 per cent
  • McGrath Foundation specialist breast cancer nurses employed and trained as part of our National Cancer Plan
  • Rolling out preventative health programs in schools, workplaces and communities across the country

Wednesday, 20 February 2013


Media Release.

Member for Rockhampton and Shadow Corrective Services Minister, Bill Byrne says the LNP government’s plans to privatise prisons including the Capricornia Correctional Centre breaks the Premier’s promise in December of “no more job cuts”.
“The first impact of privatisation will be job cuts, it is that simple,” Mr Byrne said.
“This is yet another blow for regional Queensland and the numerous communities where prison staff live, work, raise families, and spend their money.”
Mr Byrne said in August last year when asked about privatisation of prisons the Police and Community Safety Minister, Jack Dempsey, had clearly stated: “We have no plans for privatisation. None.” (Brisbane Times 16 August 2012)
“This sentiment was repeated by the Minister at the Budget Estimates Hearings, so he needs to explain his backflip,” Mr Byrne said.
Mr Byrne said in addition to prisons in Brisbane, the state’s network of government-owned prisons was heavily regionalised with facilities in:
  •  Far North Queensland (Lotus Glen Correctional Centre)
  • Central Queensland (Capricornia CC)
  • Fraser Coast (Maryborough CC)
  • North Queensland (Townsville CC)
  • South East Queensland (Woodford CC; Palen Creek CC near Beaudesert; Numinbah CC in the Gold Coast Hinterland
  • Brisbane-Ipswich corridor (Brisbane CCC; Brisbane Women's CCC; Wolston CC)
“There are more than 3,200 jobs in the prison system including almost 2,500 frontline jobs at both government-owned and privately operated jails,” Mr Byrne said.
“Reports today on the privatisation plans suggest new owners would cut running costs including their wages bills by 10%. Mr Dempsey needs to say today how many jobs will go.
“The LNP government’s mass sackings have already hit hard at local and regional economies and the Newman Government has already closed the Darling Downs Correction Centre, taking jobs out of the Toowoomba region.
“Just in December the Premier promised no more job cuts but now we find more cuts are in the pipeline through the LNP’s previously undeclared privatisation plans.
“This plan has come straight out of the second secret Costello Audit report and was never mentioned at the time of the 2012 state election.”
Mr Byrne said the loss of any prison jobs would mean fewer pay packets being spent in local and regional economies.
“It could also mean whole families leaving towns as people take new jobs elsewhere.”
20 February 2013

Baillie Henderson Hospital to close within 12 Months?

I have heard that the Baillie Henderson Hospital in Toowoomba will be closed within 12 months.

Will future generations understand 
The turmoil of these days, the strain and stress,
The dawn's despair, the night's uneasiness,
The greed of itching palms throughout the land?
Will they conceive the fires fanatics fanned,
Of time the universal wastefulness,
The strange philosophies the mobs confess
That every throat cry out some new demand?

Time was when men held saner counsel here.
Will that time come again? Shall we behold
From this grim madness some new love unfold?
We pray for gentler times, when man shall cease
His brother man to bully or to fear
Great God, among ourselves let us have peace!    
                                                                                          Max Ehrmann 

Sunshine Coast University Hospital privatisation latest LNP broken promise

Media Release.

Shadow Minister for Health Jo-Ann Miller says Sunshine Coast residents never voted for the LNP to Americanise their regional public health system by privatising the new Sunshine Coast University Hospital.
“The former Labor government initiated this $1.8 billion hospital as a public hospital while the LNP sees a chance to flog it off in whole or part so private conglomerates can put profits before patients,” Mrs Miller said.
At a meeting with the Kawana community coalition to save the hospital, Mrs Miller said the Minister for Health Cuts and Closures Lawrence Springborg should personally explain to the Sunshine Coast community his plans to privatise the hospital.
“The proposal for the privatisation of the Sunshine Coast University Hospital was not foreshadowed by the LNP Government before the election and was not part of Premier Campbell Newman's contract with voters of the Sunshine Coast region,” Mrs Miller said.
“It is a huge broken promise, but as we have seen, the LNP specialises in breaking election promises by also sacking nurses and other frontline staff and cutting frontline health services.

“The Sunshine Coast community is overwhelmingly opposed to the privatisation and wish the hospital to remain a public hospital to ensure job security, fair work conditions safe, quality health care and excellence in training our future health workforce.
“I am sponsoring a petition against the privatisation of the Sunshine Coast University Hospital and I urge all concerned members of the community to sign the petition which will be presented to Queensland Parliament,” she said.
Mrs Miller said the privatisation of the SCUH was only the beginning of the Americanisation of the Queensland health system under the ruthless and callous LNP Government.
“This is yet another move by Mr Springborg to privatise hospital services across the state jeopardising Queenslanders free universal access to hospital treatment,” she said.
“Along with privatising the new Sunshine Coast University Hospital Mr Springborg has also flagged Blackwater and Springsure Hospitals in Central Queensland for privatisation and Eidsvold and Moura in-patient services to be outsourced.
“This signals the first step along the path towards a US-style health system where profit is put ahead of patients and health care is priced out of the reach of vast numbers of people.
“The Minister also needs to tell Sunshine Coast doctors, nurses and other Queensland Health employees working for the local hospital and health service whether they will be forced to work for a private company at lower salaries and less job security.
“This inevitably means more job cuts and more frontline service cuts and the potential wind-back of hours within which outpatient services are offered.
“We saw just a couple of days ago Mr Springborg announce the axing of 234 jobs at Cairns Base Hospital, this is on top of mass sackings across Queensland Health last year.
“Mr Springborg is ripping the heart out of Queensland Health across the state.”
Mrs Miller said the former government made provision for a private hospital to be collocated at the SCUH site but the LNP planned to go much further by selling off the public hospital to a private, profit-focussed company.
Sign the petition to save the Sunshine Coast University Hospital

LNP Government Must Stop Bundaberg Job Cuts While Recovery Continues

Media Release.

Deputy Opposition Leader Tim Mulherin says the Newman Government should immediately cease their program of job cuts while the flood recovery efforts continue in Bundaberg.
While visiting Bundaberg today to inspect the flood recovery efforts Mr Mulherin said it was just plain cruel of the LNP Government to continue slashing jobs when some of the people being affected had already lost their homes due to flooding.
“There were reports last week that the Newman Government is slashing 50 Home and Community Care (HACC) positions in Bundaberg,” Mr Mulherin said.
“Some of the employees who jobs are being slashed also lost their homes in the recent floods.
“Now thanks to this callous LNP Government these people have no home and no job at a time that for many is the biggest crisis of their lives.
“The LNP Government needs to halt all job cuts in the Bundaberg region while the flood recovery continues,” he said.
Mr Mulherin said the HACC program supported frail and elderly people and their carers to continue to live in the community.
“By slashing 50 HACC positions many elderly people in Bundaberg region will struggle to continue to live independently in the community,” he said.
“This is a false economy, as the Emergency Department at Bundaberg Hospital and aged care facilities will be overrun with people who ordinarily would have been accessing these HACC services.
“Bundaberg is difficult enough to get around following the floods, however, the elderly and the frail will find it near impossible without HACC services to assist them.”

More Dairy farmers being 'screwed by supermarkets'

 An extract from the ABC Website:

Regional Australia Minister Simon Crean believes there is a future in dairy farming but concedes the industry is being "screwed by the supermarkets".
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has launched an investigation into allegations that Coles and Woolworths have bullied food suppliers.
As part of the so-called supermarket price war, the retail price of milk was slashed to just $1 per litre more than two years ago, prompting widespread concerns about the sustainability of the dairy industry.
Farmers say the move has put downward pressure on farm gate prices, and forced many people out of the industry.
Anecdotally, some farmers reckon they have lost tens of thousands of dollars because of the cut-throat discounting.
Speaking at the National Rural Women's Conference in Canberra this morning, Mr Crean launched a broadside at the behaviour of supermarkets, but sought to reassure the audience that new technology will provide new opportunities for the industry.
"We've got to demonstrate that there is a future in farming," he told the conference.
"I believe that there is a strong future in farming and we have to work with the communities to secure it.
"The other thing which I think is important is the way they're being screwed by the supermarkets, and I'm delighted that the ACCC is looking at these questions of the uncompetitive practices."

Tuesday, 19 February 2013


Media Release.

Deputy Opposition Leader, Tim Mulherin, says Premier Newman must ensure a full independent and public investigation is conducted into allegations against LNP backbencher Scott Driscoll.
“The Premier promised high standards of behaviour and accountability in his government so now is the time to put those words into action,” Mr Mulherin said.
“Serious allegations have been made against Mr Driscoll in connection with his previous role with the Queensland Retail Traders and Shopkeepers' Association as well as claims he is still involved in retail lobbying without declaring it on his pecuniary interests register.
“The allegations are not trivial and go to the heart of the Premier’s claims of running an open and accountable government.
“Mr Driscoll has reportedly denied any wrongdoing but the people of Queensland and particularly the people of Redcliffe deserve to know all the facts.
“That can happen only if the Premier ensures an independent investigation into these issues is conducted and its results made public.
“In the case of Ros Bates we have repeatedly seen the Premier go into hiding and not act until forced to do so.
“That is just not good enough. In this case we need to see the Premier act today to ensure all the facts surrounding these allegations are aired and investigated and the outcome made public,” Mr Mulherin said.

Latest LNP Job Cuts Hit Indigenous Communities

Media Release.

Shadow Treasurer and Member for Mulgrave, Curtis Pitt, says the Newman Government’s latest funding cuts will cost jobs in Indigenous communities just weeks after the Premier promised no more sackings.
“Savage cuts to the funds supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander councils will mean job losses in Indigenous communities despite the Premier promising in December there would be no more job cuts from his government,” Mr Pitt said.
He said Local Government Minister David Crisafulli should identify the support he planned to give the state’s Indigenous councils in the Gulf and Cape York; Torres Strait; and Central and Southern Queensland after withdrawing funding.
“Unlike other local councils, nearly all Indigenous councils do not have a rates base generating a revenue stream,” Mr Pitt said.
“So if the Minister is taking the axe to financial grants it is essential for him to say what will replace them in terms of other support.
“The Palm Island Shire Council alone has said it could lose $300,000 a year and it will have to sack workers and defer infrastructure projects.
“What is worse is the fact the government claims it is cutting these funds to help councils become ‘more self-sufficient’ but cannot say what specific incentives will replace them.
“In other words, the LNP has cut a large slice of funding for ATSI communities and expects them to make up the difference without any tangible support from the government.
“It is starving them of funds and not offering any alternative assistance.
”Mr Crisafulli is reportedly insisting on ongoing budget cuts from 2013-14 to 2015-16.
“The government is either incompetent or just plain callous if it imposes budget cuts on these regional councils without first explaining what extra support will make up the shortfall.
“It highlights the LNP government’s twisted priorities and shows how little the LNP cares for people in regional communities.
“Why does it make these deep cuts to Indigenous communities but can find plenty of money to splash out $120,000 on 200 new chairs; can pay a Director-General more than $200,000 to stay at home; and manages to find $3.5 million to start planning a new Executive Building in the Brisbane CBD for the Premier and Ministers like Mr Crisafulli?” Mr Pitt said.

Monday, 18 February 2013

LNP Sacks Nurses In Cairns Region

Media Release.

Shadow Treasurer and Member for Mulgrave, Curtis Pitt, says the sacking of 41 nurses as part of 234 jobs being cut from the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service is a direct result of the $3 billion worth of health cuts being imposed across the state by the Newman Government.
The fact is decisions by regional health boards are decisions of the Newman Government so it is the Premier and Health Minister who must carry the blame for a drop in frontline health services,” Mr Pitt said.
So it is very telling that no LNP MPs were present today when their government’s cuts to the regional health system were announced.
As part of the framing of the 2012 State Budget the Health Minister Lawrence Springborg directed the state’s regional health boards to cut their budgets by 3% and make other savings totalling $3 billion over four years.
It is misleading for the LNP to blame Canberra for the sackings announced today that are the direct result and the direct responsibility of the Newman Government.
Mr Springborg is running around trying to suggest federal health funding cuts are to blame when the fact is federal health funds for Queensland will rise by 21% or $600 million over the next four years from $3.1 billion to $3.7 billion.
It is time he stopped peddling untruths, stopped hiding behind the health boards and started taking responsibility as Minister for Health for today’s sackings and frontline service cuts.”
Mr Pitt said the loss of 190 full-time jobs and 44 temporary positions from hospitals and health facilities throughout the Cairns and Hinterland HHS would mean a drop in frontline health service standards.
It is ridiculous for the LNP government to suggest the loss of 41 nurses plus 22 allied health positions such as pharmacists, physiotherapist, radiographers or dieticians will not hit hard at frontline services,” he said.
The Premier promised in December no more job cuts and he also promised to maintain or improve frontline services.
Today’s decision to cut 231 jobs breaks both of those promises,” Mr Pitt said.
He said the LNP cuts would hit services at health facilities throughout the region including:
  • Atherton Hospital
  • Atherton Primary Health Care Centre
  • Cairns Base Hospital
  • Cairns North Community and Primary Prevention Service (CPPS)
  • Edmonton CPPS
  • Innisfail Hospital
  • Innisfail CPPS
  • Jumbun CPPS
  • Mareeba Hospital
  • Mission Beach CPPS
  • Mossman Multi-Purpose Health Service
  • Smithfield CPPS
  • Tully CPPS
These cuts are an ominous sign for the Cape York HHS and the Torres Strait-Northern Peninsula HHS,” Mr Pitt said.
Mr Springborg’s 3% cuts would mean a loss of $2 million for the Cape York HHS and $2.4 million for the Torres Strait-Northern Peninsula HHS.
Once again such savage Springborg cuts would mean a drop in frontline services in areas that confront unique challenges as a result of their proximity to PNG.”
Mr Pitt said over four years Mr Springborg was imposing $3 billion in cuts on regional health boards including:
  • staff cuts calculated an imposed by the Minister — $1.646 billion
  • scrapping of health grants by the Minister — $120 million
  • sacking of consultants, contractors and other administrative savings including travel calculated and imposed by the Minister —$283 million
  • efficiency savings” calculated and imposed by the Minister — $944 million.

Newman Fails Leadership Test Again

Media Release.

Leader of the Opposition Annastacia Palaszczuk says the Premier's failure to deliver a wider reshuffle underlines his lack of authority within his own government.
"The limited nature of the changes highlight the Premier's tenuous position within his own government," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"After strong suggestions of a wider reshuffle this is yet one more in a long line of disappointments from the Premier.
"Today's appointment of Ian Walker to the ministry means there are now only two women in Cabinet.
"His appointment is also another snub for regional Queensland under this LNP Government.
"The decreased representation of women in Cabinet will not be remedied or covered up by the appointment of a female assistant minister.
"Ian Walker must now do what the Premier has so far failed to do.
"He needs to release all the documentation surrounding board appointments to Screen Queensland made by Ros Bates."

Newman Must Explain

Media Release.

Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk says the Premier must release all information on the latest scandal involving Ros Bates and appointments she made to Screen Queensland.
"The Premier needs to make public all the information relating to the former Minister's dealings with Screen Queensland, the appointments she made, and the consultancies and contracts involving any personal friends," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"The Premier handpicked Ros Bates for his Cabinet and kept her in Cabinet long after she showed she was not up to the job.
"The Premier failed to sack her when it was clear to everyone else she had to go so it is only fair he is the one to explain the latest scandal she left behind.
"The revelations today about public funds and government jobs given to a close friend of ex-minister Bates also raise doubts about the Premier's statements yesterday on her resignation
"Did the Premier know on Friday this new scandal was about to be revealed and if so why did he still not lift a finger to sack a minister who clearly had to go?
"If he knew the truth why wasn't he honest with Queensland's and why didn't he sack Ms Bates on the spot?
"In relation to both Ros Bates and the dismissal of Michael Caltabiano it is time the Premier was open and honest with the people of Queensland.
"He promised higher standards of behaviour and accountability in government, but we are yet to catch even a glimpse of them," Ms Palaszczuk said.