Unions rally to stop Qld gov't sell-off

Fifteen hundred trade unionists and supporters marched through the streets of Brisbane to state parliament on July 3 to oppose the ALP state government's planned selloff of public assets.

The protest was organised by the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) with the support of the Queensland Council of Unions. Speakers from the QCU, the Australian Federated Union Of Locomotive Employees, the Australian Services Union, the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA), the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) and the Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) addressed the rally.

Mick Carr from the MUA told the rally that was "no upside for a one-off fixing of the debt" by selling public assets. ETU state secretary Peter Simpson said his union "won't be putting one cent into the ALP coffers at the next election if this legislation is still on the books".

He said it was time to "draw a line in the sand."

David Matters from the RTBU said his union had won its fight against the privatisation of the Brisbane City Council bus service in the 1990s with community support. The community movement against to stop the sell-off must aim to "put [Premier] Anna Bligh under the control of working people", he said.

Another speaker was ALP state president and AMWU state secretary, Andrew Dettmar. Dettmar surprised many when he said that his union would not support any politician at the next state election unless they first make a "no privatisation pledge".