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.

When you think of devastating deforestation and extinction you usually think of the Amazon, Borneo and the Congo.

But eastern Australia ranks alongside these in the top 10 of the world’s major deforestation fronts — the only one in a developed nation. Most of the clearing is happening in Queensland and it is accelerating.

The Socialist Alliance is running in the November 25 Queensland state elections to help build an anti-capitalist alternative to the two-party system. We are also supporting the re-election of progressive independent MP Rob Pyne in Cairns and calling for a vote for the Greens in other seats.

A bill to remove the controversial "gay panic" defence from Queensland law was passed on March 21. It had been used by people accused of murder to claim they were provoked due to an unwanted homosexual advance.

Those who pleaded under section 304 of the Criminal Code (killing on provocation) reduced their criminal responsibility to manslaughter and avoided life in jail.

Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath said the bill delivered on an important promise to the LGBTI community of Queensland.

Queensland's first large-scale solar farm run by a local government — saving the council $22 million in electricity costs over 30 years — is being built on the Sunshine Coast.

The 15-megawatt solar farm will be built on 50 hectares behind Coolum, will be financed by the council after the federal government refused to fund it.

It will provide green power by mid-2017 and will slash the council's costs of buying electricity for everything including streets lights, sports facilities, buildings, galleries, parks and libraries.

Queensland’s environment department has given conditional approval for the controversial expansion of the Acland coalmine. But questions about the link between political donations to the former LNP government and their support for the project remain unanswered.

In December last year the Queensland coordinator-general approved Stage 3 of New Hope Coal’s Acland coalmine, despite the project requiring the “clearing of eight endangered and of-concern regional ecosystems” including koala habitat, issues regarded as “matters of state environmental significance”.

This statement was released by Billy Gordon on April 8.


Last week I resigned from the Australian Labor Party. I will not resign from parliament.

My decision is based on advice from the clerk of parliament, who gave detailed reasons why I did not have to resign over past events and allegations. I am also determined to honour my commitments to my constituents.

During the election campaign I committed to tackling entrenched social and economic problems in Cook and helping communities seize economic development opportunities.

On January 5, with most of the country still in holiday mode, Queensland Premier Campbell Newman called on the acting governor (even the governor was still on holidays) to issue writs for a state election on January 31.

The Liberal National Party (LNP) won government three years ago in a landslide against the Labor government’s privatisation of public assets, reducing the ALP to a rump of seven seats (now increased to nine after two byelection victories).

Queensland Liberal National Party (LNP) Premier Campbell Newman said Queensland voters were “thankful” for his government's savage cuts to jobs and public spending. This, presumably, is in much the same way you'd be thankful if you had crossed a mafia don and he only broke your legs.

June 29 was dubbed "Black Friday" for Queensland public servants as up to 3000 temporary and contract workers faced the sack from the Liberal-National Party government.

Contracts for many staff in "non-frontline" jobs expired and will not be renewed under a job freeze ordered by Premier Campbell Newman, the June 29 Courier-Mail said.

Newman has also appointed a razor gang, following the interim report of the Costello Commission of Audit into state debt, to find more cuts, including jobs of permanent staff.


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