CPA Bulletin Qld
Volume 2. Issue 2 April - June 2010
Produced by the Communist Party of Australia, Brisbane Branch. P.O. Box 33 Camp Hill QLD 4152
MAY DAY 2010
Workers around the world are gathering to celebrate May 1st. The celebration of May Day grew out of the Eight Hour Day movement that spread round the world in the 19th Century. In Australia, April 21st 1856 was the day on which stonemasons in Melbourne marched and struck for an Eight Hour day. This date was adopted by many workers organisations throughout the world. However it was in Chicago in 1886 that workers were murdered on the march of the first of May; from this the Socialist International continued to step up the struggle for an Eight Hour day. William Lane in Barcaldine Queensland organised a May Day march in 1891 and the movement spread around the country. In socialist Countries the day is a National Holiday and even in capitalist states the day is still associated with the struggle for a better future and for Socialism the historic objective of working people.
On this May Day, we are faced with direct challenges to working people with the Privatisation of State Assets by the Labor Government. Anna Bligh has shown that she stands with the big capitalists to sell off resources and our state assets. The sale of the Railways, Motorways, Forests and Ports is nothing more than the theft of these assets by the current government for the banks and large corporations. This is unrestricted plunder without regard to the welfare of future generations let alone the environmental damage. We have already seen how the privatisation of electricity distribution leads to price rises in Electricity. Water, that basic necessity in Australia, has been outsourced and prices are already rising.
Public Transport under the direction of the recently reorganised Translink is being prepared for the private sector with fare rises and services to be cut in the future. The new director of Translink was the CEO of the now exited National Express, a British multinational registered with the London Stock exchange.
National Express Group's operations in Victoria were managed by the Group's Transition Director, Peter Strachan.
Peter Strachan was appointed by Geoff Kennett and supervised the Privatization of public transport. Premier Bligh wants to give us what Kennett gave to the Victorian Public Transport system. A privatized public transport system with higher fares for less service. In Victoria the private companies are being gifted taxpayer’s money and guaranteed profits, this is the same system that is being provided for the Gold Coast tram system. Geoff Kennett and Peter Strachan ordered the sacking of 16,000 public transport workers. How many has Bligh and Peter Strachan organized? What is your future if thousands of public transport workers are sacked here?
The trade Union movement and working people find that the party that they traditionally have looked to for support has deserted them and is well in bed with the big corporations. The alternatives being offered are the Liberal Nationals who have continued to attack the Unions and are also the traditional party of big corporations.
The alternatives of either Liberal or Labor do not offer us a way forward in the interests of workers, thus bold steps are needed, alternatives are to run our own candidates from the Union movement be they from within labour or not, as long as they are anti-privatisation and pro worker.
Congratulations to the Builders Labourers Federation QLD – 100yrs 1910-2010.
The collective ideas of organized labour came to Australia from countries in Europe such as the British Isles and Ireland. With the population growing throughout the 1800's a number of trade guilds and employee organizations formed and pushed for better working conditions.
The earliest historical record of a Builders Labourers Union in Queensland is in 1876. In the same year the Bricklayers Labourers of QLD formed a distinct group in Brisbane's eight hour day parade. By 1883 Builders Labourers in QLD were part of unions formed under a number of different recorded names.
On the 5th of July 1910 the New South Wales Builders Labourers Union voted to join forces with BL's in other states. A week later the Labourers Society in South Australia invited NSW to join a federation. By the 19th of July, the NSW Branch had drafted a constitution and Brisbane signed on soon after. The builders labourers activists came to know each other quite well as they moved between cities. NSW Secretary Jack Millard visited Victoria during the 1906-1907 strike, and William Muller returned to Queensland from Sydney in January 1910. The Victorians held back until QLD secretary Ted Jones travelled to Melbourne. Four state unions federated on the 9th of September 1910 in Melbourne Trades Hall.
On the 29th of November 1910 a Hobart union formed itself into a branch of the Federation.
The Builders ;Labourers Federation of QLD in Brisbane will be leading the march at May Day this year.
Editor’s Thoughts: Are Penal Powers Back?
The new Fair Work laws provide the only opportunity for legal strikes as actions between agreements.
So called “unprotected action” is subject to investigation by the Fair Work ombudsman and can be prosecuted in the Federal Court.
The Fair work ombudsman can seek individual fines of up to $6 600 per individual and $33 000 for each organisation. This is reminiscent of the Menzies penal provisions which Unions defeated in 1968.
Under the ABCC, building workers such as Ark Tribe are being threatened with jail. Ark Tribe’s website can be viewed at: www.arkstribe.org.au.
Henry Lawson summed it up:
But for every one that's sentenced,
ten thousand won't forget
Where they jail a man for striking,
it's a rich man's country yet”
(Ballad of 1891)
His path is up Life's dizzy steep,
And, oh, world-worn feet are sore!
He treads the brink of chasms deep,
Where Death's wild torrents foam and roar.
And as he toils Night spreads a pall
Above the rugged, rock-strewn way,
And shades of gloom for ever fall
Where is no light, where is no day.
Bloodhounds of Wrong bay on his track,
Gaunt wolves of Want glide through the gloom,
The traitor's dagger seeks his back,
Behind is Death, in front the Tomb.
The gibbet marks the way for him,
And far the frowning dungeon throws
Athwart the dark its blackness grim
To speak the hatred of his foes.
Titanic storms burst through the night,
World-winds sweep down the Time-worn ways,
The tall trees moan in wild affright,
And Superstition shrieks – and prays.
But past the gloom and past the night,
Past chasms dread and rock-cliffs drear,
He sees the gleam of Hope's glad light,
He dreams that Freedom's dawn is near.
And high above Life's storm his song
Re-echoes all the death-swept way,
He hurls defiance at the Wrong
And climbs the hills to meet the Day.