Massive Labour Day turnout reflects the strength of our unions

EditorialIf the turnout at the 2017 Labour Day in Brisbane is any indication of the potency of the union movement, then there is little doubt that it is truly going from ‘strength to strength’.

An estimated 20,000 union members and their families marched under a pleasant and sunny, Brisbane sky – all eager to demonstrate their very clear support for workers rights, and in particular, the retention of weekend penalty rates, now under threat.

Some people may claim that unions are on the wane, however, the impressive attendance and strong show of support is clear tesIMG_4564timony as to the resilience and determination of our unions – and their members – to stand up for the rights of Queensland workers.

Speaking to an enthusiastic Labour Day crowd, newly elected ACTU Secretary, Sally McManus reminded her audience about the important role our unions will play in continuing the fight against the abuses of workers entitlements as well as campaigning for a fairer economy for all. Given her very public profile in recent weeks, no one can question her tenacity, passion and sheer endurance in the ongoing battle exacerbated by a ruthless and cunning anti-worker Coalition Government.

IMG_4533Sally reminds us that we have a federal government unable or clearly unwilling to rein in escalating corporate greed which is seeing billions of dollars going overseas rather than being spent on our nation and its future. Her vision of an active, progressive and robust union movement is sorely needed at a time when social and economic inequality is rising.

However, with the calibre of the people in our unions, from Sally as ACTU Secretary to the rank and file member taking to the streets to support their fellow workers, we can be assured that the future of our union movement is secure.


LNP will cut jobs and essential services again, but where?

Opinion 2Queenslanders know the Liberal National Party will cut essential frontline services and government jobs across the State if it was ever to return to Government, but they don’t know where.

Prior to the 2012 State election, then LNP leader Campbell Newman promised public servants they would have a “bright and rewarding future” and there would be “no forced redundancies”.

Yet in its first Budget on 11 September 2012, Tim Nicholls announced:
“The total number of FTEs to be lost in 2012-13 will be 14,000…. To give Queensland public servants greater certainty, the Government has decided to bring all FTE losses into 2012-13.”

Mr Nicholls – with a straight face – has repeated Mr Newman’s promise of “no forced redundancies”.

In the two years since the last election, my Government has restored the frontline services cut so severely by Mr Newman and Mr Nicholls.

Nine out of every 10 government workers are in frontline or frontline support roles.
On behalf of Queenslanders, we have employed more doctors, nurses, teachers, police, fire, ambulance and child safety officers to provide services for Queenslanders.

Between the December 2014 and December 2016 quarters, the number of additional full-time equivalent (FTE) positions employed by the State Government include:
– 4007 extra teachers and teacher aides
– 3274 extra nurses
– 1199 extra doctors
– 295 extra ambulance officers
– 212 extra sworn police officers with an additional 94 recruits sworn in this year;
– 122 extra fire and emergency services officers and
– 71 FTE child safety officers, with an additional 129 officers to be appointed this year and more committed earlier this month.

The LNP must answer:
– If the LNP believes there are too many government workers, how many would they cut?
– If the LNP believes my Government has employed too many doctors, nurses, teachers, police, fire, ambulance and child safety officers, where are there too many?
– What hospitals now have too many doctors and nurses?
– What schools now have too many teachers and teacher aides?
– What communities now have too many ambulance, police, fire and emergency, and child safety officers?

Hon Annastacia Palaszczuk MP