Housing, environment, anti-war and Palestine campaigners to protest at Labor’s national conference

August 8, 2023
Calls on Labor to drop its militaristic AUKUS pact are growing. Photos: Alex Bainbridge

Anti-war, climate and housing activists are among those who will protest outside Labor’s national conference over August 17–19. Others will be doing it inside.

This will be Labor’s first national conference since it was elected last May and its limited policies on climate, housing, taxation and foreign policy have been so widely condemned.

Move Beyond Coal, 350, GetUp, the University of Queensland Environment Collective and others will demand Labor protect Country and climate on August 17. “Community members across the country are showing incredible leadership to tackle the climate crisis. It’s time for the Australian Labor Party to follow suit.”

Organisers are urging people to bring alarm clocks and to form a huge human clock outside the conference to emphasise the need for urgent action on climate.

On August 18, anti-war activists will protest the AUKUS military pact and its likely close to a $1 trillion spend on nuclear submarines as delegates consider a counter motion to point 24 of Labor’s draft platform.

Even though Labor’s “left” will have 49% of the conference floor — enough to pass the anti-AUKUS motion with non-aligned delegates — factional leaders are organising against this. Similar manoeuvring ensured that anti-AUKUS motions were avoided at the Victorian and ACT Labor conferences.

The Australian Financial Review reported on July 31 that “faction leaders on both sides have assured no motion will get up that will embarrass the Albanese government at its flagship event, especially on foreign affairs”. Queensland Labor and more than 20 Labor branches have passed anti-AUKUS motions, showing a strong internal opposition.

This makes it more important for opponents of AUKUS militarisation and the war drive against China to join the protest. The No AUKUS Queensland Coalition is asking people to take selfies to promote the action.

The Labor leadership is also trying to thwart a motion calling for Palestine to be recognised as a state. Justice for Palestine will protest on August 19.

The Brisbane Renters Alliance, on the same day, will call on Labor to take real action on the housing crisis. They will be supporting Greens’ calls to freeze, or cap, rent rises, along with direct and ongoing funding for public housing.

Also on August 19, the Bob Brown Foundation is organising a Rally for Forests against native forest logging.

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