Annerley Labor News – May 2021

Branch joins Palestinian protests

There was a strong turnout from Annerley Labor members at the 14 May ‘Al Nakba’ protest and march held in the Brisbane CBD. Many members joined with their comrades from Labor Friends of Palestine to publicly support the Palestinian people who had recently been subjected to a series of attacks from the Israeli military and their extremist supporters.

Speaking at the well-attended event as MC, was long time Annerley Labor member and activist, Remah Naji, who soberly reminded attendees “…as you wake up in a warm bed with a roof over your head, remember your fellow humans in Gaza, who wake up to destruction and loss, and some don’t wake up at all”. Remah and other speakers eloquently outlined why the struggle for Palestine was a ‘struggle for all people who are resisting oppression and violence’.

Protestors supporting Palestine – 14 May 2021

In early May, Israel launched a vicious campaign of ethnic cleansing in occupied East Jerusalem, instituting a plan to forcibly evict some 2,000 Palestinians from the neighbourhoods of Sheikh Jarrah and Al-Bustan and replace them with Israeli settlers, in contravention of international law. As residents defended their lives, livelihoods, and homes, the Israeli state responded with brutality, attacking the Palestinian people in the streets and in their places of worship.

The 14 May CBD protest, one of the biggest pro-Palestinian events in Brisbane for some time, ensured that the plight of those in Gaza and the West Bank were strongly promoted to the public. A further rally was again held in Brisbane on 22 May.

A motion in support of planned boycotts of corporations that support Israel will be presented to the June general meeting of the Annerley Branch for consideration.

Calls for a ‘sustainable’ Party, eco-friendly initiatives

Members have supported a number of key environmental initiatives to be considered by the ALP, including a call for the Queensland Branch to initiate a plan to ensure that all future Party activities, events, meetings and conferences, including that of its constituent party units, are environmentally sustainable. Supporters of the idea believe that it will be instrumental in publicly demonstrating the Party’s environmental message. The Branch has since written to the State Secretary requesting the creation and implementation of such a plan.

Other initiatives supported by Branch members include:
• mandating a tree planting program across Queensland;
• addressing the continuance of plant species declared to be bio-hazards in Queensland;
• introducing an organic waste program in the City of Brisbane.
• a composting policy, including the encouragement of community gardens, to be included in the platform for the next Brisbane City Council election;
• encouraging the adoption of bio-plastics manufacturing in regional areas;
• requiring Queensland government agencies to employ a sustainability officer to oversee the reduction in waste.

The Annerley Branch is planning to propose these measures for the next round of state policy platform changes, due in 2022.

Toondah Harbour Development still faces criticism

The Annerley Branch has again expressed its ‘deep concern’ regarding the controversial Toondah Harbour development in the Redlands area. Members remain unconvinced that the development will not have an adverse impact on both the wetlands area (once declared as RAMSAR protected) and on the local koala habitat.

In addition, the Branch has voiced its alarm at the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) ruling in favour of the Queensland Government and Walker Corporation which has prevented the public release of the development agreement for the Toondah Harbour project.

In adopting a resolution that has been conveyed to the Deputy Premier, members have called on the Palaszczuk Government to reconsider its position on the suitability and sustainability of the proposed development and has urged a community based review on the use of priority development area’s (PDAs) across Queensland – a tool that was criticised by Labor when it was last in opposition.

Animal welfare review supported

The Branch has written to the State Minister for Agriculture, Hon Mark Furner, outlining its support for the recently conducted review of the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001.

However, the letter has also highlighted a similar review conducted in Victoria which resulted in proposed legislative amendments recognising that animals feel ‘pleasure, comfort, discomfort, fear and pain’ and introducing measures to reduce emotional pain suffered by animals.

The landmark Victorian example has been cited by the Branch as being in step with growing community sentiment and should be considered for legislation in Queensland. As a result, it has urged the Palaszczuk government to embrace this approach.

The Branch has also noted that although certain practices – such as property and stock fencing – may be outside the scope of the recent legislative review, it has called on the Queensland Labor government to consider the adverse impact of some types of fencing on Australian wildlife, and to develop guidelines for good practice that ‘minimise harm and risk to our precious native fauna’.

Public submissions to the legislative review closed 21 May.

ACTU report shows way forward on recovery

In an extensive resolution, Annerley Labor has supported a wide range of important measures to aid Australia’s lagging economic recovery. In lead up to the May federal budget, the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) released it’s ‘For a Stronger, Balanced and Inclusive Recovery’ report which highlighted the weaknesses in the current economic recovery, recommending a number of key government actions.

Included in the suggested measures outlining in the ACTU report were:
• arresting the record low wages crisis and the surge in insecure work, including advocating for a strong increase in the national minimum wage, lifting public sector wage caps, and making it easier for workers to bargain collectively for better wages and jobs.
• continued ‘JobKeeper’ for workers and sectors still in crisis.
• increased Government economic activity in the real economy, including an expansion of vital public and community services, and a sustained program to improve public infrastructure.
• major investments for the Aged Care crisis, and funding and a model linked to better staffing levels and quality care
• supporting public and community housing developments.
• strategies to support investment in key strategic industries.
• increased investment to transition to sustainable energy.
In particular, this Branch also supports the following suggested measures that demonstrate real commitment to gender equality and women’s workforce participation, including:
• free, universal quality early childhood education and care,
• 26 week Paid Parental Leave scheme available to be shared between parents,
• 10 days paid family and domestic violence leave in the national employment standards
• full implementation of the 55 recommendations outlined in the Respect@Work report, including obligations on employers to prevent harassment and the restoration and expansion of funding for domestic, family and sexual assault services.

The Branch has since written to local federal MP’s, Graham Perrett MP and Terri Butler MP, expressing its support for the ACTU’s suggested initiatives.

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