Brisbane

A week before the Queensland election more than 500 people rallied against premier Campbell Newman and the Liberal National Party on January 24. Speakers included Indigenous activist Sam Watson, Secretary of the Electrical Trades Union Peter Simpson, Debbie Kilroy from Sisters Inside, Drew Hutton from Lock The Gate Alliance and Greens candidate Jonathan Sri.
More than 500 people held political parties contesting the Queensland elections to account over the protection of the Great Barrier Reef at a public forum at Brisbane City Hall on January 22. The forum was was organised by the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS), Queensland Conservation Council, the Wilderness Society, Greenpeace, Australian Youth Climate Coalition and GetUp. It was chaired by Professor Ian Lowe.
This is Part two of an interview with Greens candidate for the seat of South Brisbane, Jonathan Sri. He spoke to Green Left Weekly's Evan Verner about the state of politics in Queensland, his position on various policies and what it is like to run a political campaign. What are the causes of unemployment and how do we secure jobs?
The Socialist Alliance released this statement on January 23 on the Queensland election. * * * The re-election of the Liberal-National Party (LNP) for a second term on January 31 — with or without Premier Campbell Newman — would be devastating. A re-elected LNP would claim a mandate to complete the sale of public assets, begun by the previous Labor government and extended during the first three years of LNP.
About 2000 people gathered at Roma St Forum in Brisbane for the Peoples' March against the G20 Summit on November 15. Aboriginal activists kicked off the speeches. Callum Clay Dixon said 'What is Australia? It is a colonial state based on genocide and dispossession.” Multiple issues are being raised at the protest, including Aboriginal deaths in police custody, demand for action on climate change, support for renewable energy, and highlighting the disappearance of 43 students in Mexico, while the Mexican president is in town.
Brisbane is almost in lockdown as preparations get under way for the G20 Summit over November 15 and 16. Road closures began a week before world leaders and their media lackeys were due to arrive. Manholes and utility service grates in footpaths in the CBD and around the G20 venue in South Brisbane have been sealed as a precaution against sabotage.
A group of women gathered in protest outside the Wicked Campers depot on August 16. Wicked Campers is a Brisbane-based company that rents out tourist camping vans. The company has been criticised for the misogynist, racist and homophobic slogans that are painted on its vans. The company has not responded well to the condemnation and has sought to punish those who have spoken out. In one case, it responded to a journalist by painting a slogan on a van that threatened physical violence.
About 150 people took to the streets of Brisbane on May 24 to protest against biotechnology corporation Monsanto, one of the foremost proponents of genetically modified (GM) technologies. The event was part of an international day of action that called for all products with genetically modified organisms to be labelled, Monsanto products to be banned in Australia, and a more transparent handling of GM products by the Australian government. Speakers described the history of Monsanto and neoliberal laws and free trade agreements that help the corporation.
Members of a number of unions rallied outside Brisbane Magistrates Court on May 26 in support of Electrical Trades Union (ETU) Queensland and Northern Territory branch secretary Peter Simpson, who was facing charges under the Transparency and Accountability Act. Introduced last September, the law requires unions to conduct a ballot of all members before spending more than $10,000 on political campaigns and to publicly declare all expenditure (either on a union website or the Industrial Commission’s site).
A public meeting organised by the Queensland Civil Liberties Network was held at Brisbane City Hall on March 24, the second anniversary of the election of the Queensland Liberal National government. Speakers included Indigenous elder and long-term activist Sam Watson; union and community activist Bob Carnegie; QLD President of the Australian Lawyers Alliance Michelle James; Sisters Inside activist Debbie Kilroy; Queensland Council of Unions president John Battams and Civil Liberties Council spokesperson Terry O’Gorman.
More than 500 people protested against the “bikie” laws in Brisbane on February 11. The crowd included unionists, Indigenous and community activists, members of motorcycle clubs, and family groups, who rallied in King George Square before marching through the city to parliament house.
Queensland Transport Minister Scott Emerson’s plans to issue students with a “tertiary transport concession card” by March 3 in order to cut down on young people “rorting” on cheap fares has been met with resistance by students. Emerson made the proposal after claiming too many young people are getting cheap tickets while not being students and are “ripping off honest users”.  
A 40-year-old library assistant, Sally Kuether, was arrested and charged on January 24 under Queensland’s controversial anti-bikie laws. She has been charged under new laws that prohibit more than two alleged bikies from meeting in public. The mother-of-three met her partner Phillip Palmer and friend Ronald Germain at the Dayboro Hotel, north-west of Brisbane, on December 19. The ABC said they were supposedly “wearing club colours” and were “alleged associates of the Life And Death motorcycle club”.
The stack of new laws rushed through the Queensland parliament in recent weeks have put the Liberal National Party government on a collision course with the judiciary, the legal fraternity, trade unions and civil liberties activists not seen since the days of Joh Bjelke Petersen. These new laws — directed at bikie gangs, G20 protesters, sex offenders and workers compensation — attack basic freedoms of association, the right to protest peacefully, fair sentencing and the right of workers to sue negligent employers.
Members of the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees union (SDA) rallied outside its Brisbane offices on May 30. The rally was in response to SDA Brisbane branch secretary Chris Ketter sacking organiser Allan Swetman, the day before Swetman was set to challenge for the secretary position. Swetman had questioned the fact Brisbane SDA organisers had attended lectures held by religious organisations against same-sex marriage and abortion rights, and alleged the union is supporting these lectures.
University of Queensland (UQ) Executive Dean of Arts Fred D’Agostino said last month the gender studies major would be cut from the Bachelor of Arts program. No student commencing next year would have the option of majoring in this area. Gender studies has a 41-year history at the university. The program was won in the early 1970s by the powerful feminist movement of the time. It was the first of its kind in Australia and one of the first in the world.

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