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October 30, 2008

The Brisbane Courier Monday 18 May 1891 -
Labour meeting at Goodna


MONDAY 18 MAY 1891



May 17.

A meeting was held at Goodna last night for the purpose of forming a Workers' Political Organisation, to work conjointly with the other organisations which had been formed in the district.

Mr. Stevenson presided, and the hall was fairly well filled. After the chairman had explained the object of the meeting, which had been called by circular and not by the usual method of advertising in the newspapers circulating in the district.

Mr. THOMAS GLASSEY, M.L.A., addressed the meeting for an hour and a-half. In the course of his speech he said he had been reading in that morning's Courier the statements made by the Premier at the opening of the Beaudesert show, and he would take the opportunity of challenging to some extent those statements.

In referring to the shearers' strike Sir Samuel had said that he believed the people of the colony would endorse the action taken by the Government during the crisis. He (Mr. Glassey) maintained that the great bulk of the people did not support the policy of the Government on the occasion; and unless they retraced their stops, he would, when Parliament met, challenge them to dissolve it.

He was opposed to the line of policy that the Government were at present pursuing. He would ask the electors when the time came, if they were favourable to tho Government, to elect someone also to represent them in his place, but if not, to again return him. They should ask the Government to give the people an opportunity to declare their opinions on the subject, and he personally would have no fear as to what would be the result.

The Premier had said that the Government were not to take sides with either party, but to maintain law and order. He (the speaker) would be sorry to misjudge any man, particularly a man in such a high position as the Premier; but he could not help thinking that the verdict of the country, so far as it concerned the Government, would be one unfavourable to the course they had pursued; and he believed the people would be of his opinion, and that was that the Government had acted partially, and had taken sides with the capitalistic sect¡on of the community.

Persons had been imprisoned without sufficient reason. He spoke also about the conditions of labour in England and in Australia, and laid great stress upon what he said was a fact that in many branches of labour in the colony females were asked to do the same work as males at one-half or one-third the rate of wages.

He said that something of this sort had been seen at a place that had come under the notice of the labour commissioners in Ipswich. He referred to the matter of certain portions of the Press having sent representatives to write articles on such topics as the building trades, in order, he asserted, to show what a dreadful state of things had been brought about by the unionists. This was merely a capitalistic cry as hollow as it was loud. He concluded by hoping that better and brighter prospects were before the colony in the future.

The chairman appealed to those present to join the organisation. He announced that a collection would be taken up to pay for the hall, and stated that any balance that remained after doing so would be added to the £3 gathered at Dinmore on the previous Saturday, and forwarded to the shearers.

During the time the collection was being made Mr. M. PATTERSON moved, and Mr. J. WEBB seconded, - "That in the opinion of this meeting the time has fully arrived when the wage-earners should be more thoroughly represented in the Legislature, and with a view to carrying that object into effect a branch of the Workers' Political Organisation should be established in Goodna."

Before the motion was proposed a considerable number of persons had left the hall, and on it being put to the meeting about a dozen hands were held up in favour of it, while none voting against it the resolution was declared carried.

The CHAIRMAN then announced that the collection had amounted to 15s., and the proceedings terminated.

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