Labour Day to be pushed to October

Queensland's Labour Day public holiday will be moved to October and the Queen's Birthday holiday restored to June under changes to be introduced by the Newman government.

Legislation passed by the former Bligh government late last year moved the Queen's Birthday holiday to October, as part of a push to get a better spread of holidays in the second half of each year.

But understands the Newman government is set to introduce a bill to reinstate the Queen's Birthday holiday in June.

It is believed the Holidays and Other Legislation Amendment Bill will move Labour Day from May to October.

The switch still ensures one holiday previously at the start of the year will occur in the second half of the year, but the decision has angered unions, which traditionally celebrate Labour Day at the start of May each year.

Unions have previously argued Labour Day should remain on the traditional day as Queensland's first Labour Day was held on May 1, 1891, in Barcaldine.

Queensland Council of Unions president John Battams yesterday labelled the Newman government’s changes as "petty", saying Labour Day had been celebrated on that day for more than a century in Queensland.

Mr Battams said such decisions only made unions more determined.

"Decisions like this we’ll take in our stride and deal with it. We've been around longer than the LNP but it just smacks of pettiness and tit for tat,” he said.

"Obviously for the Liberal National Party they would see the union movement as a hindrance to what their objectives are and they'll take these petty decisions. We’re not going to be distracted from our major aim of keeping this government honest."

Comment is being sought from Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie, who is expected to introduce the bill to Parliament this week.

A parliamentary committee last year noted there were some concerns about moving the Queen’s Birthday holiday from June.

"The information provided by the government indicates to the committee that while the community in general strongly supports the move of the Queen’s Birthday public holiday from June to October, concerns are held by organisers of events that are traditionally associated with the June long weekend," the committee report stated.

"Some committee members strongly shared this concern."

The committee noted the Queen’s Birthday holiday had been held on the second Monday in June in Queensland and in all other states and territories except Western Australia.

According to the former government, the Queen’s Birthday holiday was not tied to a particular date of significance to Queensland or Australia, while the other public holidays were.

However, the committee last year noted there was “considerable support” for moving Labour Day, rather than the Queen’s Birthday holiday, to October.

New South Wales, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory had Labour Day on October 1 this year.

But Queensland unions strongly backed keeping Labour Day in May.

"The Queensland Council of Unions (CQU) points out that the first Monday in May date for Labour Day (which is traditionally celebrated on May Day – the first of May – in the United Kingdom) is particularly significant for Queensland as it was the first place in the world to hold a Labour Day procession, and this occurred on 1 May 1891 in Barcaldine," last year’s committee report stated.

"The QCU is supportive of moving the Queen’s Birthday holiday to October."

The story Labour Day to be pushed to October first appeared on Brisbane Times.

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