Jim McIlroy

An estimated 8000 people rallied at South Bank and marched to state parliament on August 3 to protest the Queensland Labor government’s plan for the forced amalgamation of 156 local councils into 72. The majority of the marchers were residents of Noosa shire, who were opposing the inclusion of their council into a Sunshine Coast super-council, involving Noosa, Maroochydore and Caloundra.

Around 50 workers from the Fosters brewery at Yatala, south of Brisbane, and their supporters rallied outside the Carlton United Brewery (CUB) head office in Fortitude Valley on July 27 in support of their campaign for a union agreement. The protesters held up placards and waved to passing traffic, who honked their support.

“Governments will only act when they are forced to by social movements”, Dr Mark Diesendorf told around 150 people at the Queensland University of Technology on June 28. “In the USA and Australia, these social movements around climate change are growing, and involving a broader sector of the community.”

Dr Gary MacLennan, a long-time socialist activist and lecturer in creative industries at the Queensland University of Technology, was suspended for six months without pay on June 6. He, along with a colleague, Dr John Hookham, was charged with misconduct following the publication of an article in the Australian that criticised a PhD film project that mocked the disabled. Students and staff launched a support campaign for the two suspended lecturers which has linked up with a struggle against QUT’s decision to close down the school of humanities and human services.

Chants of, “Hey Brisbane, listen up; the cleaners are standing up!” and “Caruso workers´ rights, worth fighting for!” rang through the Brisbane CBD on June 15, as 60 cleaners, members of the Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union, marched from the LHMU office to the offices of Caruso Cleaning.

On June 13, 100 students and staff rallied in front of the administration building at Queensland University of Technology’s Gardens Point campus to protest the suspension of two QUT academics, Dr Gary MacLennan and Dr John Hookham, on charges of misconduct.

On May 28, 30 people picketed an administration building at the Queensland University of Technology s Gardens Point campus to support Dr Gary MacLennan, a long-time radical activist and academic at QUT, who was facing disciplinary charges over his criticism of a PhD film project mocking disabled people.

On May 31, a picket of 50 people organised by Solidarity Unity protested outside the offices of Mighty River Power, which supplies electricity to Mercury Energy, the company responsible for the death of an Auckland woman on May 29.

“There are two big issues in this dispute: the right of academics to free speech and the question of QUT [Queensland University of Technology] conducting unethical research”, left-wing academic Dr Gary MacLennan told Green Left Weekly on May 24.

BRISBANE — “Australia is the only Western democracy without human rights legislation”, James Whelan from Amnesty International told a public forum attended by 50 people on May 23.

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