Civil liberties network launched in Queensland

Many people who attended the meeting were campaigners against repressive laws in the Joh Bjelke-Petersen era.

A Queensland Civil Liberties Network was formed on November 27 at a packed meeting at the Electrical Trades Union office in Brisbane.

More than 60 people, including officials and activists from a number of trade unions, environmental activists, people involved in organising protests at the G20 meeting next year, members of the Greens, Pirate Party, and the Socialist Alliance, as well as individuals new and experienced in campaigning for civil liberties attended.

The network was initiated in response to the new laws passed by the LNP government that poses a direct threat to democracy, the right to associate and the right to peaceful assembly.

The meeting focused on ways to build a campaign that can repeal these laws.

A statement by the network said: “We can expect Queensland's attacks on civil liberties to be a precedent for other states. We, the people, must not let this state of affairs stand. This is a government at war with its people and the judiciary. They must not win. The laws must be repealed. Only an activated community working together with civil society has the power to reverse these attacks.”

The meeting opened with respected Aboriginal elder and social justice activist Sam Watson giving recognition of country. Watson is a seasoned campaigner against the repressive legislation of the Joh Bjelke-Petersen era, as were a number of those present at the meeting.

Watson said the Indigenous community was planning an action on December 10 to mark Human Rights Day. This year marks the 65th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.

The Queensland Council of Unions (QCU) will be lodging a complaint to the UN as new laws introduced by the Campbell Newman government contravene a number of UN conventions on human rights as well as workers' rights.

The meeting agreed to promote and support a peaceful action being organised by the QCU for December 10. Several working groups were formed and a coordinating committee was appointed.

The network agreed to hold a march and rally on the first day of Parliament on February 11 next year.

[For more information, find and join the Queensland Civil Liberties Network on Facebook.]

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