Queensland Uncut

[Editor’s Note: This radio script was broadcast on PardigmShift, 4ZZZ fm 102.1 Fri at noon – 28 Sept 2012. Special thanks to Steve R. and Jess McPh for interviews, sound and help with this show. However I take responsibility for content pf the script and the show. Thnx to Rick Ng for the photos]

In July 2012 a workers audit of Qld Debt was issued on the Qld government.

To summarise, it showed how the government’s Qld Commission of Audit had lied about the level of debt and used deceptive accounting to exaggerate the deficit. It showed that Qld Public Servants are paid less than the national average and they are not paid using borrowed money as claimed by the government. The audit argued that the real cause of government debt was the need for expenditure on infrastructure caused by population surge and the Qld Investment Corporation made $27billion in risky investments during the global financial crisis. — Not to mention lower tax revenue, decreased coal royalties and less GST revenue. Natural disasters made the situation worse.

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Investing taxpayer funds in financial markets is not the way to go while capitalism is in crisis. Selling assets like the rest of Qld rail and public land and housing creates further problems and jeopardises future income from those assets. Yet this is what the Qld Commission of Audit recommends — a redundancy led recovery (sic).

Last Saturday, 22 Sept 2012, a small group of people organised a protest against the Queensland Government and its cuts to jobs and community services.

We call ourselves Qld Uncut and have been cut adrift by the official opposition to the government recognising that there has been some traction in the polls for Labor federal and state— it is not the first time this has happened in Queensland politics. In 1977 the ALP threatened to dis-endorse Senator George Georges if he spoke at a right-to-march rally on the eve of a state election (11 Nov 1977). Georges attended the rally indicating his support but did not speak.

What prompted the formation of the organisation Qld Uncut — along with the community groups and unions form part of the extra-parliamentary opposition to the LNP government?
The government de-funding of community organisations and job cuts in the public service.

Who is involved in QldUncut – unions, community groups, political organisations?
Ipswich Regional Advocacy Service Incorporated, Stonewall Medical Centre, Community Health Workers, Equal Love, Community disabilities advocates, Trade Unions, and community organiser, Coalition of Community Boards, Murri community, Sovereign Tent Embassy.

What actions have Qld Uncut taken so far?
Organised two rallies (23 Aug and 22 Sept 2012) and marches on parliament plus a protest outside CampBell Newman‘s address to the Aust. Institute of Company Leaders at the Hilton Hotel.

Qld Uncut rally at parliament 23 Aug 2012

What does Qld uncut have say to critics who complain: ‘Oh, not another protest rally, I don’t like rallies, what do they achieve?’
The rallies have brought together community and union members and made us aware of and united in opposition to the cuts.

Which political organisations are involved in Qld Uncut and how do they work together?’
A mix of ALP members, Together, Australian Services Union, United Voice, and left groups like Socialist Alternative and Solidarity.

What is the level of union support and do union members come to the organising meetings? Which unions?
Union support was strong at the beginning but tapered off as they organised their own rallies.

Have QU received support from the Labor Party? In what way?
The Qld Council of Unions initially gave support but is no longer evident at the most recent rally (22 Sept) and protest (25 Sept).

What does QU say to the 1,000 day campaign being waged by the Qld Council of Unions? Is the ballot box the answer to these cuts? Why not?
Qld Uncut is the only organisation saying publicly that the ballot box is not the means od stopping government cuts — jobs are lost and community services are being cut. It is too late to wait for an election.

QU organised a rally for Saturday, 22 September – why? Has there been any pressure brought to bear on Qld Uncut to call off rallies? If so, why?
Graham Perret (ALP) was the only Member of Parliament to speak at the rally. Yet the protest goes on and there is little missing. Some may argue with the politics of protest but community groups and union members willingly respond to the call. Even the mainstream media turned up (Ch 7, Courier Mail, ABC). In addition there was the bizarre sight of 20 or more journalism students out there with tripods, video cameras and microphones seeking interviews with the participants of the rally. The march lacked nothing in vigour and the speeches were engrossing.

Community protest organiser at the Qld Children’s Hospital construction, Bob Carnegie, made a good speech about what kind of society we should be striving for.

What’s to be done?
The cuts are being implemented and workers are being sacked. The initial protest is waning, so what’s next? Can community groups organise themselves and carry on the work that was done previously in community organisations? Or is this playing into the hands of the government? The LNP are saying that services can be provided by unpaid volunteers. Perhaps we should strive for worker control, sacked workers turning up for work along with those still working, occupation of the workplace to confront choices made by management. I don’t know, I don’t have the answers — this must come from better organisation and the exercise of truer democratic rights.

Ian Curr
29 September 2012

Xiaofan, QUT student arrested on campus (to be uploaded)
Erin Roberts – advocating for National Disability Insurance Scheme (to be uploaded).

The Workers’ Audit published by Workers Bush Telegraph on 17 July 2012

Community Meeting at Sovereign Tent Embassy in Sept 2012. This meeting voted to support the Qld Uncut rally on 22 Sept 2012.

2 thoughts on “Queensland Uncut

  1. Organising meeting says:

    Don’t forget the next Queensland Uncut organising meeting:

    Thursday 11 October
    6.30 pm
    Trades and Labour Council Building
    16 Peel Street South Brisbane
    Level 2

    New people always welcome! Any issues with directions etc, call Emma on 0422 763 225

  2. Qld Uncut meeting says:

    Hi everyone
    Next meeting is tomorrow night, Thursday 8 November. On the agenda so far:

    Reportbacks from the week that’s been
    Rally this weekend (Wynnum)
    Last Sitting Day action planning
    Other future events

    Thursday 8 November6.30pm
    Trades and Labour Council Building
    16 Peel Street
    South Brisbsane

    Hope to see you there!

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