Huge Labour Day turnout celebrates restoration of fair and decent government


Queenslanders showed their support for the new direction of state government with an overwhelming turnout for Labour Day activities today.

Queensland Council of Unions President John Battams estimated Labour Day marches attracted more than 25,000 across the state, with more than 20,000 at the Brisbane march.

He said union values were reflected in the wider community, which explains the Palaszczuk Labor government victory in the state election.

In Queensland, this is the 124th year of observance of Labour Day, and it will again recognise achievements of the union movement for wider society, including health and safety laws, compulsory superannuation, paid maternity leave, fair wages and working conditions, and many other benefits for all of the community.

“But these are not held easily, especially in the face of sustained attack from governments like the federal Coalition,” Mr Battams said.

“We are here to celebrate victory in the state election but also to show we will fight for rights at work such as penalty and weekend rates, and decent health and safety laws.

“Today’s gathering sends a message to Tony Abbott that we can kick out the Newman government in a term and we can kick you out too.”

He was thrilled that next year’s Labour Day holiday would return to May next year.

“Labour Day recognises the vast majority of the community who go about their jobs with little or no recognition.  It shows that union values are community values. It’s all about getting a fair go,” Mr Battams said.

“Today provides us with the opportunity to reflect upon the achievements of workers and their unions for our community,” Mr Battams said at after march celebrations.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk received a raucous welcome and louder cheer when she pledged that the Labour Day public holiday would return to May.

She also reiterated commitments to restore fair workplace laws to the state.

Australian Council of Trade Unions General Secretary Dave Oliver issued a warning to the Abbott federal government.

“Despite attempts by people to write us off, unions make a difference. Today is not only about reflecting on the past, it’s about contemplating the future, and the movement is determined to stand, unite and fight for a better future.”

Labour Day activities were held at 15 locations throughout the state.

The Brisbane march also featured a wedding when two union members tied the knot in front of the ETU banner before setting out.

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