Magan-djin/Brisbane

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.
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).
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.
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.
More than 50 people came out to Brisbane’s Executive Building on the morning of October 29 in a fiery protest against Premier Campbell Newman’s recent decision to allow uranium mining in Queensland. Under the banner of Queensland Nuclear Free Alliance, the protest called for a complete ban on uranium mining in the state.
In a startling but not unexpected backflip, Queensland Premier Campbell Newman gave the green light to uranium mining on October 22, lifting a decades-long ban on the destructive industry.