Qld ALP Conference a triumph for progressive policy

Annastacia2The Queensland ALP Conference has wrapped up for another year, with many Party members lauding it as one of the most successful and progressive ever. The annual conference, attended by hundreds of branch member and union delegates – as well as rank and file members, was held this year at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre.

The first day of the conference saw reports from Party officials, Dick Williams and Evan Moorhead, revealing that the Queensland Branch was continuing to grow enormously, as more people decide to join the ALP. Conference heard how the Party was changing the way it operated, ensuring it was becoming more inclusive, innovative and active.

Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, (pictured), delivered her keynote address to conference, highlighting the many positive policies implemented by her government since the historic January election. The Premier told attendees that it was an ‘honour for her to lead the Party in Queensland’ and that her government was committed to restoring access to services in the state, create jobs and help those who could not help themselves.

“Where this Government is fundamentally different to the LNP is how we treat people. We listen to them, we consult with them”, she told the enthusiastic gathering.

Conference attendees also witnessed a very moving tribute to former Premier, Wayne Goss, whose life and unquestionable contribution to Queensland was proudly acknowledged. Helping to deliver the emotional tribute was Lilley MP, Wayne Swan and former Goss Government minister, Matt Foley.

Lord Mayoral candidate, Rod Harding also spoke at conference, highlighting the failures of the current LNP administration and demonstrating his ‘energy’ and commitment to improving services for Brisbane residents. Significantly, Mr Harding announced $250m to help ‘bust congestion’ across the city, which was warmly welcomed by delegates.

Importantly, key rule amendments adopted on day one will see the make up of future conferences fundamentally change. These include:-

  •  a clear commitment to affirmative action for women and for young members – the upshot being that at least 11 branch delegate positions will be reserved for members under 26 years of age (this is an increase from 3),Bill shorten
  • voting rights for the Convenor of both Rainbow Labor and the Indigenous Reference Committee, &
  • an increase in the number of branch member delegates to ensure that the ’50/50 principle’ is clearly enshrined.

Significantly, the Party’s electoral college was democratised to ensure that all union delegates – and not just some – would have a say in future candidate pre-selections.

Also debated and endorsed was a commitment to ensuring that 50% of the Party’s elected representatives would be women. The issue, already debated at the national conference in July, was unanimously endorsed by the Queensland conference.

Day one also saw the adoption of policies relating to industrial relations, law & justice, community safety, community services, health and education. The platform now contains a specific section addressing violence against women, a return to compulsory preferential voting, a commitment to a Bill of Rights & Responsibilities, and law reform for sex and gender diverse people.

Day two of the conference saw Federal Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten, (pictured), address conference attendees about the startling incompetence of the Abbott Government and the importance of winning the next election as Australia continues to go backwards since 2013.Mr Shorten spoke about closing the gap for our Indigenous citizens, supporting the NDIS, education, addressing inequality and providing ‘secure jobs’ for all Australians. “Our economic performance is wallowing in mediocrity… inequality is at a 75 year high”, he told the conference.

“The Liberals, they know the price for everything and the value of nothing”, Mr Shorten also claimed.

Mr Shorten also spoke on the importance of equality for women in relation to superannuation, supporting renewable energy, creating sustainable jobs – especially for young people, as well as why he was concerned about Mr Abbott’s so called free trade agreement with China. Mr Shorten’s speech also clearly provided support for retaining the working conditions for all Australians, in stark contrast to the Abbott Government.

Conference members also adopted new policies relating to transport, housing, information technology, urban and regional planning, and the environment. Significantly, the new platform contains provisions for transitioning from a carbon based economy, support for renewable energy, stopping sandmining on Stradbroke Island, and protecting the Great Barrier Reef.

One issue that saw some heartfelt discussion related to a resolution that called on the Labor government to act urgently to address the issue of suicide. Attendees heard, first hand, of how suicide had reached crisis point and needed to be prioritised by governments and the community.

For the social media reaction to this years ALP state conference on Twitter – search by using #ALPQConf

For more information about the conference, or for a copy of the new state platform, please email info@annerleylabor.org

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