Supporters of the Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy in Brisbane’s Musgrave Park released the statement below on May 14. * * * Brisbane City Council has turned its back on negotiations with the Brisbane Sovereign Embassy over its right to exist in Musgrave Park, South Brisbane. This afternoon at around 4pm, Luke Bell from Brisbane City Council told the Embassy by phone that negotiations were off and that Council would be forcibly removing the Embassy in the near future.
About 40 unionists protested outside the annual meeting of mining giant Rio Tinto's board meeting on May 10 against the company's involvement in the London Olympic Games. Rio Tinto is manufacturing medals for the games. At the same time, the mining corporation has staged a lock-out of 800 mine workers at the Alma smelter in Canada. Unions say the lock-out began after the Canadian workers refused contracts that would cut wages of new workers by half.
Green Left Weekly hosted a forum at the Brisbane Activist Centre on May 8 called “Challenges facing the Queensland labour movement: Where to now for the unions under a Liberal National Party government?” The meeting heard from Mark Taylor, a workplace delegate for the Together union in the Brisbane City Council and a state council delegate for the Queensland Greens. It also heard from Marg Gleeson, an Australian Services Union (ASU) delegate in the community housing sector and Socialist Alliance activist.
“Stop more Stolen Generations, take back control of our lives” was the main theme of a rally and march held in Brisbane on May 2. About 50 Murris and supporters gathered at Roma Street Forum (Emma Miller Place) for a rally, then marched to the office of the Queensland Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services in George Street.
The battle to protect at-risk koalas is stepping up in Queensland after the federal government announced on April 30 that koalas would be listed as a vulnerable species in some states.
Queensland public service union Together has called a stopwork rally on May 1 over the new Liberal National Party (LNP) government's threat of forced retrenchments. ABC Online said on April 25, Together had launched a new campaign to give workers a voice in the government's “restructure of departments”. The ABC reported that Together secretary Alex Scott said the LNP had said before the election there would be no forced retrenchments.
More than 1000 building unionists rallied in Emma Miller Place on April 27 to mark International Workers' Memorial Day. Protests and commemorations also took place on the same day in Canberra, Melbourne and Perth, and on April 28 in Sydney and Adelaide. Organised by the building unions and the Queensland Council of Unions, the Brisbane action was billed as a time to “remember those who have been injured or killed at or through their work and to renew our commitment to fight for the living”.
Under the theme "Racism has got to go!", Aboriginal protesters and supporters held a rally against police violence outside the Queensland parliament on April 24. About 70 people attended the rally, which coincided with the Sydney march against police assaults on Black youth in that city. Speakers at the Brisbane rally expressed solidarity with the Aboriginal community in Sydney and said similar police racism was rife in Queensland. One activist said police had provoked him many times in the past and taunted him to fight them.
The Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU) has demanded that BHP Billiton surrender its lease on the Norwich Park coalmine, near Dysart in Central Queensland. The BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) combine announced early this month that it would shut down the mine because it was allegedly losing money. BMA has laid partial blame on the long-running industrial dispute with mineworkers in Queensland for losses at Norwich Park and other mines in the state.
”No new coal! Save the Great Barrier Reef!" was the main theme of the rally held outside Queensland parliament on World Heritage Day, April 18. Six Degrees and Greenpeace Brisbane called the rally, which attracted about 50 people. The rally came after the April 12 announcement by deputy premier Jeff Seeney that Gladstone harbour, which is facing environmental destruction due to coal industry development, might be removed from World Heritage listing.
About 50 people attended an April 17 rally in King George Square to mark a global day of action against military spending. The rally, organised by Just Peace Brisbane, called for Australian military funding to be radically cut back in the upcoming federal budget. “If the world cut military spending by just one-half of 1%, we could save the lives of 6 million children," Peter Arndt, from the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, told the audience.
Coalmine workers employed by the BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) in central Queensland's Bowen Basin are standing firm in the face of escalating attacks by their employer. In the latest round, BHP has announced the closure of its Norwich Park coalmine, south-east of Dysart. The move is clearly aimed at putting pressure on the mineworkers to settle their longstanding industrial dispute.