Labour Day marchers say LNP policies divisive and regressive

Australian Workers' Union organiser Craig Sell, AWU delegate Michael Curran and deputy Mayor Tony Williams stand firm at yesterday's march. Photo Austin King / The Morning Bulletin
Australian Workers' Union organiser Craig Sell, AWU delegate Michael Curran and deputy Mayor Tony Williams stand firm at yesterday's march. Photo Austin King / The Morning Bulletin Austin King

CHANGE, change, change!

That's the chant many residents near Raymond Huish Drive park could have heard yesterday morning.

Several hundred Rockhampton union and Labor supporters marched from the Archer St riverside car park to Victoria Park as part of Queensland's Labour Day to highlight their concerns with what they say are the LNP's "divisive and regressive policies".

Among the many speakers at the rally was Labor candidate Brittany Lauga who will contest Bruce Young's position for the seat of Keppel at the next state election.

"I challenge Campbell Newman, I challenge Lawrence Springborg and I challenge Jarrod Bleijie, for just one day get out from behind their ivory towers and do this job," she said.

She received a thunderous applause.

Craig Allen, the Queensland Council of Unions, Rockhampton Branch secretary, said he believed the Newman LNP government was arrogantly forging ahead with an ideological agenda and it refused to stop and ask for directions from Queenslanders.

"Examples include laws that take away workers' rights and shut down free speech, as well as putting workers' lives in danger," he said. "Our community is especially concerned about this government already selling off our kids' futures to the tune of $11 billion and further proposals to sell other publicly owed assets, thereby leaving nothing for future generations.

"Unions have been around for well over 100 years because Australians identify with their core value of the fair go."

Following the march, organisers hosted a free family fun day.

About 120kg of sausages, 100 loaves of bread, 3500 lollies, 1000 soft drinks and chips were trucked in to feed the masses. A free multi-draw raffle for holidays and other prizes, live music, free kids rides and a bar were also on hand.

Key recommendations

Here are a number of key recommendations in the 2014 Australian Federal Budget:

  • Raise age pension age to 70 by 2053.
  • Include the family home in a new means test from 2027.
  • Raise superannuation preservation age to 62 by 2027.
  • Slow the roll-out of the national disability insurance scheme.
  • $15 co-payment to visit the doctor and access Medicare services.
  • Require wealthy Australians to have private health insurance.
  • Increase co-payments for taxpayer-funded medicines.
  • Open pharmacy sector to competition, such as supermarkets.
  • Allow states to impose a personal income tax surcharge, offset by reduction in federal rates.
  • Scrap Family Tax Benefit Part B and new means test for Part A with maximum rate cut out at $48,837.
  • Lower the paid parental leave scheme salary cap to $57,460 - average week earnings (AWE) - and use the savings for new child care payment.
  • States to be responsible for allocating all schools policy and funding.
  • Uni students to pay more for their degrees and lower local repayment threshold to the minimum wage.
  • New benchmark to lower growth in the minimum wage to 44% of AWE.
  • Force young job-seekers to relocate or lose benefit.
  • Reduce the number of government bodies.
  • Privatise Australia Post, NBN Co, Defence Housing, Snowy Hydro among others.
  • Abolish the Australia Network.

Topics:  brittany lauga bruce young labour day march

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