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Labor Cutting Itself Off From Its Roots

Qld Labor has abandoned its working-class roots

THE Labor Party is at the crossroads. Is it still the political party of the worker – the battler – or has it become the ideological captive of the Left and the Greens?

It can’t be both. If the Adani fiasco has proven one thing it is that the Labor Party’s proud tradition of being a job-creating, fair go for everybody movement is under threat.

How can the Labor Party pledge that it’s about giving regional Queenslanders a fair go when it is cynically and clumsily opposing a mining project that will feed the families of thousands of Queenslanders.

All at a time when Queensland is lagging behind just about every state and territory on fiscal indicators.

When the godfather of the union movement in Queensland, Bill Ludwig, questions the Labor Government’s priorities on Adani, you know they are in trouble.

When the left-wing CFMMEU questions the State Government’s policy on Adani, you know they are in trouble.

Bill Ludwig speaking during the 2015 AWU National Conference. Photo Adam Head

When a federal Labor MP like Cathy O’Toole, in Herbert, poses serious concerns about the Government’s Adani policy, you know they are in trouble.

For Deputy Premier Jackie Trad to haughtily dismiss Ludwig as yesterday’s man shows how hubris and arrogance has enveloped George Street, particularly in the Left.

The Labor Party can’t be all things to all people. As my colleague Steven Wardill said on Sky News last week, when you stand in the middle of the road for too long, you’re bound to get run over.

The Labor Party has two options. It can either go back to its grassroots and adopt policies that create jobs and help the economic bottom line, through coal royalties, or it can ideologically bend over and merge with the Greens.

There is no in between. The Greens policies are anti-Australian, anti-Queensland and will send the country broke.

For the Labor Party to be cosying up to ecowarriors on such draconian measures aimed at stopping prosperity is a radical shift for the country’s oldest political party.

In Queensland, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is running the risk of being seen as a divider, not a uniter.

It is clear that regional Queensland is being discriminated against by the Labor Left. As the alternative federal treasurer Chris Bowen taunted self-funded retirees opposed to the franking credits crackdown, “don’t vote for us’’, it seems the Left in Queensland has a similar ethos.

The Left of the Labor Party know that their “base’’ is in Brisbane and they couldn’t give a hoot about the rest of Queensland. And Palaszczuk is allowing them to get away with it.

How else could you explain Health Minister Steven Miles – a member of the Left – allowing a crisis to develop in maternity services in the bush?

Their attitude is “they don’t vote for us, so why should we care?’’

Qld Labor has abandoned its working-class roots

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (left) and Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad during Question Time

It was at Barcaldine in 1891 at a ghost gum tree – the Tree of Knowledge – that the Labor Party was founded by striking shearers, spawning unionism. In 1892 at the foot of the tree, Labor’s manifesto as a party was read out, and it is now considered the founding document of the ALP. It was centred on workers’ rights. Not a greenie in sight. Wonder what those old shearers would think of the mob protesting outside Bowen right now.

Here’s an idea. My Treasury sources tell me that the Adani coal mine project will generate about $1.65 billion in royalties for the Queensland Government over the next 15 years.

That will fund the necessary infrastructure costs associated with hosting the 2032 Olympic Games in Queensland.

There you go. Adani’s lasting legacy to Queensland.

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