Monday, May 1, 2017


In a setting like ye olde  jousting  tournament  , spirits were  higher  than  the   clouds  over  the   tents  set up  for Townsville's  annual  May Day Labour  March  which  included  two  brass  bands  , tin  whistle  players , several   activist  canines  and  the   caged   man  below   who   highlighted  the  treatment  of  refugees  by  Australia   on  Manus  and  Nauru .   
The  major    issue  was  the  call to  fight  the  cutting  of penalty rates by the   Fair Work Commission  , seen  as  opening the way to    slash    the   pay  and conditions  of  other  employees, the  Americanisation  of   workers  in  Australia . The  large   gathering   at  the  end  of  the  march   was   told      cutting   weekend   penalty rates  , affecting some  400,000  employees   nationwide  in  retail,  hospitality  , pharmacy and  fast food outlets   could  reduce   pay by as  much  as  $6000   for  some .

In  Townsville  these cuts would   affect   a large number  of workers , in a  city where  jobs  are   hard to come by  because of the economic  situation, the closure of  Queensland Nickel  and  other  factors. .
 Adani  , naturally, was another issue   raised  in  the march  , one  placard   firmly  stating there  was no way    Adani  should  be  given $1 billion  by the Australian government   and    free   drawing  rights   on   water .  
Pictured  at the right , in cap ,  marching near  the banner of the  Townsville Trades  and Labour Council  , established 1888 , is   the  federal Member  for  Herbert  , Cathy  O'Toole , behind  her , in a hat , Queensland State Development  Minister, Dr  Anthony  Lynham , Townsville  Mayor , Jenny Hill .   

Other  points made  during   speeches :

* The shenanigans going on  in  the Turnbull  government  are likely to see it tossed out of office  . ( In  Victoria , a   former  staunch, now unhappy  Liberal supporter  said  he   had  been   told  the government could lose  20 seats  at  the next election .)

* Tim Nicholls , leader of the Queensland  Liberal Nation Party   , a recent  poll showing he  is as popular as   an  outbreak of   Banana  Freckle Disease  at Tully  ,  is trying to dress   himself   up  as  some new great  bloke ,  yet ousted   former  premier  Campbell Newman's  remaindered  book , on  sale for  20cents, showed  Nicholls   wanted  to sell off  all state  assets  and   sack  the public service .

* Premier Annastacia  Palaszczuk  was applauded for  moving  against labour hire  companies  who  exploit   workers .    
Hearty chants  throughout the march included  : Solidarity Forever ;  Get up, Stand up; The Workers , United  will never  be defeated ; Malcolm Turnbull has to go ; Aussie weekend ripped to Shreds /Work Choices back  from the Dead  ; MUA here to  stay ; State schools, great schools  and  Woof !!! Woof !!! by  canines   keen  to  fang  a nice  bone  and  a  mean  Tory .