Tag Archives: Working Class Culture


Humphrey McQueen on May Day

Speech by Humphrey McQueen – May Day Dinner, Adelaide, 2011 Although we are more than half way through our May Day dinner, it is never too late to say grace: ‘For the food and drinks that we are enjoying, we … Continue reading


Foco Nuevo in May

This gallery contains 5 photos.

Friday May 6 8.00 p.m. Kurilpa Hall 174 Boundary Street West End (Next to the West End Library. Click here for a map) PIRATE BRIDES NOEL GARDNER JUMPING FENCES $10 / $7 concession Maggie’s delicious cakes, tea and coffee on … Continue reading


Tony Mockeridge has asked that this song be dedicated to Lex Wotton. Accordingly this song goes out to Lex Wotton and his family for their courage in standing up for justice on Palms for the Bwgcolman people and for all … Continue reading


Brisbane Labour Day Celebrations 2011

This gallery contains 3 photos.

The Qld Council of Unions Labour Day Committee have organised a March and Celebration to be held on Monday 2 May, 2011. 10:00am March Commences from the Cnr of Wharf & Turbot Sts, please check with your union for details … Continue reading

The 17 Group discussion: George Orwell and Rugby League

Amor, morte, poesia, política, actualidade, futebol, efemérides, solidão, paz, humor, musica…tudo e nada;
Here we talk about life, love, death,
On this day in History, poetry, politics, football (soccer), solitude, peace, humour, music … nothing and all

from Nothingandall

The Great Rugby-League-discussing December Meeting and selflessly Trotsky-endorsed Christmas Party (but don’t bring Trotsky) of the 17 Group –

Wednesday the 3rd of December

at unit 6, 20 Drury St, West End

at 7 pm.

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Brisbane Labour History Association (BLHA) news

The BLHA newsletter is available by clicking here: blha-newsletter-jan-08.pdf

Welcome to 2008 – may it be a good one.

BLHA have hit the ground running with 3 great events planned for the next 3 months:

  • Saturday 9 FebruaryWorth Fighting For! A truly exciting concert with Leah Cotterell, Margret RoadKnight, Helen Rowe and the Combined Unions Choir. This is the next in our Rekindling the Flames of Discontent events.
  • Saturday 8 March – Brisbane launch of The Coalminers of Queensland, Volume 2: A narrative history of the Queensland Colliery Employees Union: The Pete Thomas Essays (hosted by BLHA & CFMEU Mining & Energy Division, Queensland District Branch)

  • Saturday 5 April – Launch of DVD Building Unity – celebrating 150 years of CFMEU.

(hosted by BLHA & CFMEU Queensland Constructions Workers Divisional Branch)
Read about these events and much more in the attached Newsletter for January.

Dale Jacobsen
Secretary Brisbane Labour History Association
Dale Lorna Jacobsen
PO Box 456
Maleny Qld 4552
Ph: 07 5494 4046
Mob: 0413 843 652

BOOK LAUNCH: Iraqi Icicle by Bernie Dowling


Thursday, 4 – 6 PM
28 February 2008
West End Library

178-180 Boundary Street
West End Q 4101
[Just next to the Pensioners League Building]

“QUEENSLAND journalist Bernie Dowling launches his first novel, the detective thriller Iraqi Icicle at West End Library on 28 February 2008.

The launch starts at 4 pm and features original songs and music from local band Jumping Fences back from their tour of Mexico and Cuba.

The book will be on sale for the discounted price of $30 and for the impecunious will be available for loan from the library.

For more details contact Ian Curr at

BushTelegraph on 07 3398 5215

Iraqi Icicle by Bernie Dowling

Dowling said writing a novel, while working full-time, required persistence.

“I had written a short story collection and a short history of the Pine Rivers show but a 400-page novel is more daunting,’’ Dowling said.

He said writing the first draft was the easy part and making the many revisions the difficult task.

“I guess I tried the patience of my wife Trish and son Kevin with all the time I spent at the computer.”

Iraqi Icicle is a detective thriller set in and around Brisbane from 1986 to 1992.

Dowling sees the period as an extraordinary time in Australian and world history.“We had the explosion of personal computers and mobile phones in Australia as well as the recession of 1990-91.”

“In Queensland, we had the Fitzgerald inquiry into police corruption and the fall of the long-serving Joh Bjelke-Petersen government.

“Overseas, the internet started, the US invaded Panama to arrest its president Manuel Noriega, and America and its allies prosecuted the first Iraq War.”

These international and national events invade the blackly humorous novel, Iraqi Icicle which introduces young orphan gambler Steele Hill as the unlikely “detective”.

Joe Strummer Memoriam

by Ciaron O’Reilly

Joe Strummer died on Dec. 22nd. 2002.

This is how a few people in London celebrated his memory last night.
Feel free to post your own memoriam as a comment on this link

Well as memorials go it was a little weird. They meant well but probably tried to do too much at this time, in this venue.

On the eve of the 5th.anniversary of Joe Strummer’s death, the crew from Philosophy Football www.philosophyfootball.com hosted a memorial effort entitled “Clash Culture Christmas Party” in the Offisde Pub near the Angel (London).

It wasn’t anything like the memorial I went to in NYC following the death of Abbie Hoffman in ’89. That one seemed to have a lot more folks present who knew the departed personally. It was addressed by Abbie’s activist cohorts historian Howard Zinn, beat poet Alan Ginsberg and the now late Norman Mailer. Aaron Keyes the Yippie who pioneered by pie throwing in the ’70’s wandered the bar.

Hard to combine a memorial with the “end of the week/end of the year” Christmas Party vibe – but they tried their damnedest with this eclectic mix of remembering, celebrating, film launch, panel analysis and “Attila the Stockbroker” in full punk poetic throttle.

I guess I’ve always had the impression that the left in general don’t do death too well. It can’t be an English thang (even though the MC at one point said “if you know Joe he wouldn’t want this to be a wake…obviously this guy hadn’t been to an Irish, or even an Australian, wake). A few years ago, I went to a wonderful London wake for anarchist pacifist printer and jailbreak maestro Pat Brian Pottle at Conway Hall years ago.

It was a great movement gathering, MC’d by his twin Brian Pat Pottle. The highlight was when a well dressed wide boy rose from the crowd of aging folkies and hippies. He was the son of failed Soviet spy, successful prisoner escapee Geroge Blake. He thanked Brian’s family and Michael Randel and the Irish ODC Sean Bourke who broke his dad outta jail

He remarked how much nicer it is to be able to visit his dad in Moscow rather than Wormwood Scrubs.

Anyways I digress, back to the Joe Strummer Memorial night. I walked toward the Angel along the canel from Dalston. It was atmospheric, misty and a little tense (I dunno, call me paranoid but I’m always worried in London that someone or three are going to rush and push me into the canel or onto the tube line). I was striding pretty fast. I began to overtake an old guy with his shopping. As I approached from behind, I thought I’d put him at ease

“Cold isn’t it?” , I remarked.
“That’s for sure!”, he replied in an Irish accent.
“Where you from?”
“Galway, been here since ’75!”

So over the next 500 metres we discussed the war of independence, the civil war and he’s work with the local St. Vinnies!”

Met up with my mate at the Angel tube. Got to the Offside Bar way before kick off. The new Clash -shirts were pretty spiffy and ya got a £6 discount on the shirts with your entry ticket so whey hey. Bought a “Joe Strummer Whiteman in Hamersmith Pali ” t-shirt for a mate, bought a “Don’t wanna know what the rich are doin‘” one as a Chrissie present for myself (hey charity begins at home!)

Check out www.philosophyfootball.com if you’re running out of gift ideas

An eclectic mix began to gather in the bar. We took a chair at the reserved table for the “Red Pepper” ‘zine crew., who arrived in dribs and drabs until we had to give up our seats. The founder of “Class War” rocked up, Searchlight and UNISON crews. Some folks who must have been born after “The Clash” released their first album, some folks who were at the first Clash gigs. Crowd was mostly male, well it was a lefty footie fan kind of gig.

Proceedings were kicked off by Philospophy Football MC talking about the influence of Joe Strummer. I first saw Strummer and “The Clash” at the Cloudland Ballroom in Brisbane (Australia) in ’82. It was a few months before Brisbane hosted the “Commonwealth Games” (I had bought that t-shirt at the time and scrawled “Celebration of British Imperialism” in marker pen over it).

Our authroitarian Queensland state government had introduced special legislation to counter planned Aboriginal land rights demonstrations at the Games, they rearmed the cops with the latest designer batons (tried and tested in NZ/Aotearoa during the racist Sprinkbox Rugby tour the year before), there was a heavy police presence that night. Either Strummer or someone in the crowd coined the phrase “Pig City” which went on to become the title of a Briz anarchist cult hit single, later a book about that music scene and this past year are state funded celebration of the music of those times. Go figure! http://www.indymedia.ie/article/85337

Like Billy Bragg, Joe was always good at finding out what was happening locally and dragging some rad on to the stage to give a political rap while the band provided a background instrumental.

That night, local aboriginal activist, Bob Weatherall (this must rate alongside “Lawless” as one of the best surnames for an activist!) took to the stage.

Bob performed a traditional dance as “The Clash” thumped out the beat.

Weatherall stopped dancing and roared out his call to the streets and soldiarity with the aboriginal struggle. A few months later, many of us gathered at The Clash gig were in paddy wagons headed for the watchhouse as the Commonwealth Games ’82 unfolded.

The Games and the demand for indigeneous land rights were being broadcast around the world by the assembled international media.

I last saw Joe Strummer with the Mescaleros at the Brixton Academy a few months before he died.

He was brilliant.

The last time Joe played, and the first time Mick Jones joined him on stage in 20 years, was a benefit gig for the Fire Brigades Union in London, November 02.

The gig was five weeks before he died. So the next thing on the agenda at the Offside Bar was the launch of the film “The Last Night London Burned” dealing with that gig and the strike.

Good flick, a must have, but funds were running low due to my formentioned t-shirt fetish and my principle of “you should always buy stuff by people who do benefit gigs for you!”, so the Mark Thomas DVD had set me back £14 and another £2 for the must have “I put Gordon Brown in the Dock” badge.

When the film finished the MC and another guy spoke a bit too long – although they missed Joe and were sincere in what they were saying – the MC then departed on what looked to me like being high risk strategy by holding a panel. This was a bar, it was Christmas, the end of the week, the end of the year for Chrissake….but the noise levels weren’t too bad and it was interesting alrighty.

There was a Glasgow strike organiser from the Fire Brigades Union whose early politicisation was accelerated by “The Clash”. There was a punk Professor Man.City supporter who made some good points about the differences between the punk scene in London and northern England.

There was 1970’s music journo and early manager of “The Clash”, Caroline Coon who I could have listened to for ages if I was in a more sober state. Mark Thomas, AFC Wimbledon fan, was the last to speak from the panel. Initially thrown by the MC outting Mark’s three primary inspirations as the Bible, Bertloch Becht and Joe Strummer.

Dealing with the bible remark in front of his fellow agnostics, Mark regained his stride quickly and moved the night from being a “Joe Strummer Memorial: Nostalgia as Mild Form of Depression” to “Joe Strummer as a Dissident Memory: An Inspiration For These Times” kinda night. Mark talked about how Brecht, Strummer and the arts in general can change your perception on the world.

He then fast forwarded into his present campaign around free speech in Parliament Square. He spoke of his recent legal initiative to charge P.M. Gordon Bown and Nelson Mendela with failure to apply for a police permit for their recent illegal gathering while unveilling the Mendela statue in Parliament Square. That’s where my £2 for the badge was going…….

Before the former Clash tour DJ, Scratchy Myers, took the decks and we danced the night away, Brighton FC fan (and apparently the Brighton FC stadium announcer) “Attila the Stockbroker” http://www.attilathestockbroker.com/ tuned his mandolin and injected anger, energy and football references into the gathering.

Apparently Attila was really a stockbroker for 9 months way back then, when someone said he had the ehtics of “Attila the Hun” and the anarcho poet legend was born. He ditched the day job and went on the road for the next 26+ years. Atilla got a little pissed off with the pub punter noise level…but hey this was a bar, the end of the week the end of the year, Christmas but he was more than a match for the crowd (was probably a tactical error on his part to piss of the only Crystal Palace fan in the audience by reading prose about their 9-0 away defeat to Liverpool sometime in the ’80’s).

Hell hath no fury like a Palace fan scorned and this guy wouldn’t shut up….. “Paaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace………”
ad nauseum haunted the rest of his set.

Like many in the room Attila was deeply moved by Joe Strummer and saddened by his departure………….

In Memoriam:


I guess in quite a lot of ways I grew up just like you
A bolshy kid who didn’t think the way they told him to
You kicked over the statues, a roots rock rebel star
Who knew that punk was more than just the sound of a guitar

And I’ll always remember that night at the Rainbow
When you wrote a soundtrack for my life, Commandante Joe.
So many bands back then were like too many bands today
A bunch of blokes who made a noise with bugger all to say

The Clash were always out in front, you put the rest to shame
Your words were calls to action, your music was a flame
You were our common Dante, and you raised an inferno
And you wrote a soundtrack for my life, Commandante Joe.

Reggae in the Palais Midnight till six!
Rockin’ Reds in Brockwell Park!
Sten guns in Knightsbridge!
Up and down the Westway

In and out the lights!
Clash City Rockers!
Know Your Rights!
I guess in quite a lot of ways I grew up just like you

A bolshy kid who didn’t think the way they told him to
Like you I always knew that words and music held the key
As you did for so many, you showed the way to me
Although I never met you, I’m so sad to see you go

‘Cos you wrote a soundtrack for my life, Commandante Joe.

by Atilla the Stockbroker

Ciaron O’Reilly
22 December 2007

Your Rights at Work

The slogan “Your Rights at Work” is now part of Australia’s popular culture.

For example, trainers who run onto the field during 2007 National Rugby League finals wear “Your Rights at Work” T-shirts, their slogan viewed by millions.

BushTelegraph published the ALP’s industrial relations policy when it was released in May 2007.

In the lead up to the 2007 Federal election, unions are urging members to enrol to vote so they can vote against the federal government’s WorkChoices legislation.

At the same time Labor Party IR policy has changed – in the interest of employers – so much so that the Labor Party will not support ‘the right to strike’ or the ‘the right of entry’ into workplaces by unions.

Australian Council of Trade Union President, Sharan Burrows, has gone along with the ALP policy change and endorsed stickers indicating a stand that workers rights are no longer worth fighting for in the workplace but only worth voting for.

History of the “Your Rights at Work” Slogan:

Nov 2005: Your Rights At Work – Worth fighting forYour Rights At Work – Worth fighting and voting for

Nov 2006: Your Rights At Work – Worth fighting and voting for

Sept 2007: Your Rights At Work – Worth voting for

Your Rights At Work – Worth voting for

The Accord

Many workers will remember the Labor government’s Accord in the 1980s. We know that it took away workers rights with little compensation.

September 2007 opinion polls indicate that workers are now waiting for the Labor Party to win the 2007 Federal election when it is held.

Workers want Howard gone – fair enough.

But after the election workers are doomed to start over again to defend our rights at work!

The reasons for this can be found in the book:  After the Waterfront – the workers are quiet by the LeftPress Collective.

If you are interested in finding out more about the book, write to LeftPress at PO Box 5093, West End 4101 or email leftpress@optusnet.com.au

Ian Curr
September 2007

“labor opportunists
‘ave taken “U”
out of labour”
Comrade Jim Sharp


Open Letter to the Queensland Minister for Natural Resources and Water This is a letter about the Water Resource Plan for the Logan Basin. It specifically addresses the intention of the minister for natural resources and water to amend the … Continue reading

A Benefit Gig for the Doomadgee Family of Palm Island – Aug 11

The Arena, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane August 11   8p.m.

Featuring Kev Carmody and The Beasts of Bourbon


also…..  *the Palm Island Dancers  *Banawurun  *Indigenous Intrudaz  *Lola the Vamp   *Dick Desert & The Shotgun Country Club

* Alex Doomadgee will MC proceedings.

Continue reading


Pig City: all in the name of ‘Exploiting Native Talent’

Workers BushTelegraph readers may wish to have a look at the article Exploiting Native Talent in the Arts Section of The Australian, 2 July 2007. No, the title of The Australian article is not meant to be ironic, or is … Continue reading