Cairns

Far North Queensland Stop Adani groups mobilised when the Queensland government announced its latest "governing from the regions" exercise would be in Cairns over July 10–14.

They wanted their message that the massive Carmichael coalmine must be stopped to become the main issue and not the government’s pork-barrelling.

Stop Adani groups are rapidly springing up in cities and towns across northern Queensland, intent on helping the movement against the company’s Carmichael coalmine.

Campaign roadshows have been springboards, including in Townsville and Port Douglas, with others proposed for Gordonvale and the Atherton Tablelands.

The crew of the emergency towage vessel Coral Knight initiated a community assembly at the wharves in Cairns on March 30 after they were sacked from their jobs on the ship. These Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) members were joined by dozens of unionists, environmental activists and other local community members.

The 10 sacked seafarers fear public and environmental safety has been put at risk for the sake of replacing them with a cheaper alternative.

MaryBeth Gundrum is a candidate for the Senate in Queensland for the Renewable Energy Party. She spoke to Angela Walker in Cairns.

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We know you here as a Knitting Nanna active in the campaign against coal seam gas fracking. How did you become involved in the Renewable Energy Party (REP)?

In the week that brought to light television personality Eddie McGuire's “banter” about sports journalist Caroline Wilson, the voters of Leichhardt, covering an area stretching from Cairns to Cape York and the Torres Strait, have been treated to campaign signs depicting a witch.

On May 10, the MP for Cairns Rob Pyne did what many politicians in Queensland have claimed for the past 30 years could not be done: he presented a private member's bill to decriminalise abortion.

While some members of parliament over the years have claimed to have had a private members bill in their top drawer ready to go, when it came to the crunch these bills never saw the light of day. But it was not due to a lack of evidence from medical, legal and public health experts, who supported removal of abortion from the Crimes Act.

The Labor and Liberal National parties hope to slip in four-year fixed parliamentary terms in Queensland through a referendum being held at the same time as state-wide polls for local councils. A four-year term proposal was defeated in 1991.

James Cook University (JCU) management is proposing to make nearly 40 academic staff redundant in Cairns and Townsville as it starts a third year of job cuts at one of the largest employers in northern Queensland.

Under the proposals, JCU's Division of Tropical Environments and Societies would lose 10% of its teaching and research staff and Tropical Health and Medicine would lose eight workers.

Management's rush to reduce staff numbers, which could see academics sacked in the middle of teaching the semester, shows that this is an inept “balance the budget” exercise.

Two examples of development proposals that put profit before people and the environment in Far North Queensland appear to have suffered defeats.

“Down The Abbott Hole”
By Zelda Grimshaw
Download free

A group of musicians in Cairns, Queensland, have released a song controversially calling for the head of Tony Abbott.

“Down the Abbott Hole” refers to Abbott’s Australia as a bleak and sterile environment, in which fear reigns over logic, and the atmosphere is “cold as ice, black as coal”. The song can be streamed online and was being played by radio stations all over the country just hours after its release.

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