Two Socialist Alliance members, Jonathan and Carla, moved to Cairns in 2006 and started to engage in the political life of the city. Cairns is 1700kms north of Brisbane, with a regional population of around 130,000.
There are now seven members in northern Queensland to form a branch here, and a Socialist Alliance member in Townsville, with at least three more people working closely with the members and considering becoming members.
Cairns members of Socialist Alliance organised the launch of the Northern Queensland branch on October 15 in the city.
The launch was preceded by a public forum featuring Kiraz Janicke, who spoke about Venezuela. Music was provided by local balladeer Chris Wighton. About 25 people attended the evening of music and politics, and about 15 stayed on for the launch.
Stuey Trail, local ETU organiser and president of the provincial Queensland Council of Unions, attended and gave greetings to the new branch. He said that unionists needed to be politically active and highlighted the importance of the Your Rights at Work campaign locally. He praised the role Cairns Socialist Alliance activists have been playing in their unions and in social justice campaigns.
Cairns Socialist Alliance joint convenor Andrea stated that potential members could be active with Socialist Alliance, before making a commitment to join, unlike other political parties that require potential members to join before attending meetings. Joint convenor Carla detailed the campaigns Socialist Alliance had conducted within the Far North, including union campaigns, indigenous rights, and environmental issues focussing on sustainable public transport initiatives.