Largely devoid of fiery debate, another Queensland ALP Conference has closed, with a number of Party and policy reforms adopted by delegates.
The two day weekend conference, held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, was carefully managed to ensure controversial topics were kept to a bare minimum.
Key organisational changes saw the Party adopt stronger affirmative action Rules, improvements to hold government Ministers to account in delivering the Platform, a new fundraising code of conduct and the ability for 14-year-olds to join the ALP.
The Party’s education platform now includes a commitment to provide fully funded specialised personnel, resources and programs to facilitate all Queensland students reaching their full potential in the classroom.
In the area of health, the Conference committed Labor to greater support for palliative care in Queensland, as well as prioritising support for patients and families.
State Labor has also committed to increasing organ donation in Queensland, with the roll-out of a special education campaign to increase awareness and support.
The Conference supported referring powers from magistrates courts to the QIRC to ensure private sector employees can recover their stolen wages and seek civil penalties in a jurisdiction that is quick, cheap and relatively informal.
The State Platform also now references the right to paid post-natal leave of no less than six weeks, as well as the removal of gender bias in relation to parental leave for all Queensland workers.
In recognition of Labor’s commitment for all Queenslanders to be able to access safe, reliable and affordable housing, this years Conference adopted amendments furthering work that increases the State Government’s stock of social and affordable housing.
Conference delegates also re-affirmed Labor’s commitment to ensure that Queensland remained nuclear free. The platform now clearly articulates that there is no place for nuclear power in Queensland, with the preferred focus on cheaper, renewable energy.
In recognition of the importance of regional Queensland in the most decentralised state in Australia, a new section of the platform was adopted aimed specifically at building stronger communities outside the South East corner.
In discussion on Labor’s core values, delegates enshrined some additional key tenets such as ensuring no person receiving social support lives in poverty, affirming belief in the science of climate change and supporting freedom of the press.
There was also an impassioned discussion on the importance of upholding our very own State Human Rights Act, with Annerley Branch delegates sponsoring a motion that urges our State Government to respect Labor’s history of dissent against injustice and reflecting this in all laws so as to encourage freedom of speech and assembly across Queensland.
The Conference congratulated the 2018 National Conference regarding its stance on the recognition of Palestine, while condemning Israel’s continuing annexation, illegal settlements, demolitions and evictions. This motion was adopted regardless of the flippant, but not unexpected, dissension from the Party’s dwindling Right faction.
One of the last resolutions adopted by delegates was to recognise the action taken by the Queensland Government to address the emergence of Silicosis. Delegates spoke passionately about the importance of investing in research – currently underway in Queensland – towards the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of this terrible disease.
In her keynote speech to Conference, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, received rapturous applause for her announcement that her government will restore Q Build across the state, creating much needed jobs across many regional centres. The Premier also reminded the Party’s faithful that her government was continuing to build vital social infrastructure across the state to provide jobs and reverse the harmful cuts by the former LNP government.
The next ALP State Conference is scheduled to be held the middle of 2020 in Central Queensland.