3 May, 2016 14:45
BEAU CHANDLER | Barcaldine Correspondent | CONTACT
Tree clearing in Queensland is hotter than Cloncurry in high summer. With local farmers pulling into Bacaldine over the weekend offering to pull down the famous Tree of Knowledge, in an attempt to save residents from any future patronising ALP parades.
As former prime minister Bob Hawke was pushed in a wheelchair leading the Labour Day march through Barcaldine — the birthplace of the Australian Labor Party — local farmers are quite keen to see this stop happening, considering their only interactions with the Labor Party of late involves them being told to stop land-clearing their drought ravaged properties.
Alongside Mr Hawke, Annastacia Palaszczuk also led unionists through Barcaldine to mark the 125th anniversary of the Great Shearers’ Strike. This was the QLD Premier’s first visit to the town, and likely her last, until next Labor Day.
And as the Labor faithful gathered to pay homage to the party’s roots in Barcaldine, the people who actually live and work in Central Western Queensland have offered to help them dispose of the last lingering reminders of what they once stood for.
The gnarled old ghost gum, where those pioneers purportedly gathered to create the Australian Workers Union and then the Labor Party in 1891, finally carked it in 2006 .
Local folklore suggests it could have been poisoned, but just as many old faithful Labor stalwarts reckon it actually died of shame around the time a mildly autistic Norman Park resident and federal minister rebranded the entire party to suit his first name leading into the 2007 election.
In any event, some locals figure it’s time for some stump removal, and in the spirit of giving, they’ve teed up a dozer and shipping chain to give the Tree of Knowledge its long overdue send-off.
Party luminaries who never give the tree – let alone Barcaldine – a second thought for the rest of the year, arrived on Monday to momentarily bask in the warm inner glow of a Labour Day weekend in the sticks.
Locals report that they look as out of place and as awkward as the brand new RM Williams boots and ill-fitting ‘pastrolist’ Akubras they feel the need to wear.
Local grain trader, Anthony Kent says the visiting Labor royalty look about as comfortable as the female ABC reporter who accidentally stood in front of the wheelchair-bound former Prime Minister.
“They were dressed like politicians, too. Just in case there was a photo opp’ with the only Labor voter in town. Stacey from the BP hotbox is probably the only one keen for a yarn this time of the year”
“We’ve had four years of drought out here and now we have Labor stopping us from restocking with their land clearing laws,”
“Pull that fuckin’ tree out of the ground and tell them to fuck off for good,”
However, while it does look condescending, Anthony Kent says “it should be pretty good for Barccy” – with all the visitors buying up big – mostly tacky souvenirs and trinkets from the Australian Workers Heritage Centre, which coincidently started off life as a circus tent .
And of course, there’s the towel that staunch Labor supporters tossed in years ago for sale alongside the State Premier – who was apparently picked up for a pretty penny by a high-profile member of the QLD Taxi Council.
Originally Published as “Western Queensland graziers offer to finish off the lingering Labor myth “