Stanley Blair

Growing up in northern Queensland in a family of unionists, I learnt the bare facts of the region’s radical history as part of the local folklore — Townsville had elected Communists to the local council, and Bowen twice sent a Communist, Fred Paterson, to state parliament.

Over the weekend of July 24 to 26, the nation will be watching as the Australian Labor Party (ALP) holds its 47th triennial national conference at the Melbourne Convention Centre. The Labor Party’s national conference is its highest decision-making body, deciding its policies and future direction.

The Labor party’s previous national conference was in Sydney in 2011. At that conference, it voted for a policy supporting marriage equality. Despite that vote, and the Labor Party being in government until the end of 2013, marriage equality was not made law.

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