Jonathan Strauss

Cairns Politics in the Pub has restarted after a year's break. These semi-monthly discussion forums at the Green Ant Cantina feature guest speakers, panels and discussion on topical issues proposed by various community groups and individual activists. On May 23, 35 people took part in a lively debate of the question “Where to now after a Labor thrashing?” The speakers included Jonathan Strauss for the Socialist Alliance, ALP activist Elida Faith and Steve Brech from the Greens.
Labor’s Conflict: Big Business, Workers & the Politics of Class By Tom Bramble & Rick Kuhn Cambridge University Press, 2011, 226 pp., $39.95 Trade Unionism in Australia: A History from Flood to Ebb Tide By Tom Bramble Cambridge University Press, 2008 293 pp., $49.95 Tom Bramble and Rick Kuhn, through Bramble’s Trade Unionism in Australia and their jointly-authored Labor’s Conflict, offer substantial histories of two very important elements of the workers’ movement in Australia.
As a tropical downpour loomed, about 400 people stayed put to spell out "SOS" next to a huge banner that read "Reef in Danger" on the city’s Esplanade on March 11. The rally marked the visit to the city of a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) commission, which looked at the possible impacts of the dramatic rise in shipping through the Great Barrier Reef expected over the next decade. UNESCO has responsibility for the World Heritage listing for the reef.
The Occupy movement has sprung up in Cairns, where street activities kicked off on October 15 in City Place. About 200 people took part. Since then, up to 40 people have met each Sunday. This will continue with alternating weeks of discussions about plans for Occupy, along with music, presentations and an open mike. Discussion among those involved in Occupy Cairns is increasingly turning to how to address not just local issues but national and international questions of corporate power. Fourteen working groups have discussed various issues and how the new group will work.
CAIRNS — State and federal ALP parliamentarians were sent to the rear of the Labour Day march and rally in Cairns, trailing behind about 1000 unionists and their supporters. The theme of the march was opposition to the Queensland government's privatisation plans. Far North Queensland region Electrical Trades Union organiser Stuart Traill called for the abolition of the Australian Building and Construction Commission, with its special interrogation powers, and other laws directed against workers in the construction industry.
A motion calling for a halt to the Queensland ALP government’s plans to privatise public rail, port, road and forestry assets was passed with support of 70% of delegates at the ALP’s Far Northern regional conference on October 18.
CAIRNS— Residents of the Indigenous community at Yarrabah held a public meeting on April 22 to discuss the Rudd government’s proposal to scrap the Community Development Employment Program (CDEP) on July 1.
The reintroduction of a rail-based public transport system for Cairns and promotion of rail freight in far-north Queensland were the key themes of a 100-strong public meeting on March 18.
The Indigenous community at Mona Mona, a former mission near Kuranda, 30 kilometres west of Cairns, are continuing their remarkable four-decade-long occupation.
CAIRNS — Members of the Socialist Alliance in Cairns and Townsville launched a Northern Queensland branch of SA on October 15.

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