Margaret Gleeson

Environmental approval for the expansion of Adani’s coal port at Abbot Point was ruled lawful in the Queensland Supreme Court on June 15.

Local group Whitsunday Residents Against Dumping (WRAD) had challenged the legality of the Queensland government’s decision to approve the controversial Abbot Point coal terminal expansion in Queensland’s Supreme Court on October 7.

As the celebrations marking 25 years of the Mabo decision died down, the Native Title Amendment (Indigenous Land Use Agreements) Bill 2017 quietly passed in the Senate on June 14, with the only opposition coming from the Greens.

The amending legislation effectively negates the Federal Court ruling of February 2 that all native title claimants had to sign off on an indigenous land use agreement (ILUA) for it to be registered.

Local farmers and community members joined representatives of the Oakey Coal Action Alliance and their legal team from the Environment Defenders Office (EDO) outside the Queensland Land Court on May 31.

They were celebrating a resounding victory in their case against the expansion of the New Acland coalmine in the rich farmlands of the Darling Downs.

The office of Queensland Deputy Premier Jackie Trad was occupied for 11 hours on April 4 by Galilee Blockade grandparent activists. As Infrastructure Minister, Trad has the power to veto the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility loan funding to Adani (or Aurizon) for the development of rail links, which are essential for the coalmine to go ahead. 

The childcare workers’ strike on International Women’s Day caused me to reflect on the long journey towards equal pay and my personal experience over 50 years of my working life.

My first job as a student was as a conductor on Sydney buses from 1964 to 1966. Bus conductors and teachers were the only jobs that paid women the same rates as men, because there were “manpower” shortages in these industries. However, it was not until late 1966 that women conductors could be promoted to drivers.

Legislation passed in the Queensland parliament on February 14 could mean that Wicked Campers’ vehicles with misogynist slogans that vilify women and promote rape culture are taken off the road from March 31.

The legislation says operators who refuse to remove “inappropriate” words or pictures within 14 days will have their vehicles deregistered. The Advertising Standards Board (ASB) will be responsible for determining if a slogan is inappropriate on receipt of a citizen’s complaint.

CFMEU members and police

The Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) and Registered Organisations bills passed in the House of Representatives on October 18. These bills, first introduced by the Tony Abbott government in 2013, were twice rejected by the Senate, triggering the double dissolution election earlier this year. 

This is the latest attempt to extend the John Howard era’s union busting agenda. The ABCC was first established by the Howard government in 2005, targeting the militant unions that covered workers in the construction industry. It was opposed by the union movement.

The Queensland government once again demonstrated its commitment to progressing Adani’s mega coal mine project in the Galilee basin on October 9.

State development minister Anthony Lynham announced that the government had invoked special powers to ensure the controversial Carmichael coal and rail project starts next year.

The combined mine, rail and associated water infrastructure have all been declared critical infrastructure. Lynham says the decision will mean less red tape for the proposed $21.7 billion Adani venture.

In a unanimous decision on September 27, the Queensland Court of Appeal rejected the challenge by environment group Coast and Country to the proposed GVK Hancock Alpha coalmine.

The appeal was lodged in October last year. Hancock Coal Pty Ltd and the Queensland Minister for Environment and Heritage, were respondents at the hearing on June 7.

On September 20, days after the passage of the “omnibus” legislation that enabled the implementation of the federal budget, Minister for Social Services Christian Porter released the Baseline Valuation Report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), as part of the federal government’s “Priority Investment Approach”.

In what amounted to a financial audit of the welfare system, the report focused on the costs to the welfare system over a prolonged period of three categories of recipients: young carers, young parents and students.

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