Labour Day

Labour Day Photo: Natalie Bochenski

Queensland unions vowed to fight any move to lower the minimum wage, as an estimated 25,000 took part in the Labour Day march through Brisbane on Sunday.

Workers chanted slogans such as "Beat Back Abbott's Attack" and "We'll Be Sacking Campbell Newman" as they made their way from Wharf Street, down Wickham Street, onto St Paul's Terrace and into the RNA showgrounds at Bowen Hills.

The march was lead by the Queensland Teachers' Union to mark its 125th anniversary. 

Labour Day in Brisbane. Click for more photos

Labour Day march in Brisbane

Labour Day in Brisbane. Photo: Natalie Bochenski

  • Labour Day in Brisbane.
  • Labour Day in Brisbane.
  • Labour Day in Brisbane.
  • Labour Day in Brisbane.
  • Labour Day in Brisbane.
  • Labour Day in Brisbane.
  • Labour Day march in Brisbane.
  • Labour Day march in Brisbane.
  • Rail, Tram and Bus Union at Brisbane's Labour Day march.

Queensland Council of Unions president John Battams said the turnout reflected people's anger at Campbell Newman's state government, but was bolstered by reaction against the federal government's Commission of Audit report.

"The worst aspect of that report was the recommendation to reduce the minimum wage from $16 an hour to $12 an hour," he said.

"That's an absolute disgrace... what it will mean if it's implemented is that we'll have a huge mass of Australians living in absolute poverty."

Mr Battams said most Australians would see through the audit report as a strategic means of softening the upcoming federal budget, but were still worried about a shift to an American-style economy.

"We don't want a poverty level minimum wage, we don't want people having to pay extraordinary costs for their healthcare, we don't want the big end of town running Australia," he said.

"We want Australia run for the average person, the wage and salary earners."

Queensland Opposition Leader Annastasia Palaszczuk said Australians should look to Queensland as a warning of what's to come. 

"What we're seeing with the Commission of Audit federally is a direct copy of what Campbell Newman has done to this state.

"He started off attacking workers and cleaners, he's picked fights with the firies and the ambulance officers, no one is safe - the nurses, the teachers," she said. 

"We had a five month battle where doctors were threatening to resign and leave the state... this is not good governance."

Ms Palaszczuk also confirmed Labor's intention to reinstate the Labor Day public holiday, which the Newman government shifted to October.

"A future Labor government will restore Labor Day to its rightful place," she said.

Sunday's clear but cool weather made for ideal marching conditions, but the strong winds caused some havoc at the follow-up BBQ at the RNA showgrounds, knocking over chairs and tearing helium balloons up into the sky.