Annastacia Palaszczuk cries over concentration camps

IT WAS standing room only on the moral high-ground as Parliament ground to a halt so the government could rain condemnation on the Opposition, continuing to attack Labor mines spokeswoman Jo-Ann Miller for likening mining accommodation to concentration camps.

During World War Two, Nazi Germany used these camps to imprison, enslave and ultimately wipe out millions of Jews, opponents and others.

Worker camps in Queensland generally give guests access to gyms, buffet restaurants and even licenced venues.

Ms Miller has said she used the term because it was how workers described the conditions.

Parliament was paused so the government could attempt to force Ms Miller and the Opposition into apologising, but going in all-guns blazing left all sides wounded.

Those in the LNP told of their personal disgust, horror and offence at the use of term concentration camp, describing it as offensive to hundreds of thousands of Australians, including mine workers themselves. 

In his attack, Local Government Minister David Crisafulli said Ms Miller ought to be disciplined by the party.

He said he would oppose a union fight against fly-in, fly-out mining in Queensland because "this is not communist Russia".

Under Josef Stalin's communist rule, it is estimated up to 20 million were killed and at least 1.7 million perished in forced labour camps or "gulags"

Once the door was opened, the Opposition was able to fling its own mud.

Labor MP Jackie Trad - who is of Lebanese descent - reminded the House that Gold Coast MP Ray Stevens once called her "Jihad Jackie" then Premier Campbell Newman told her to "harden up" when she objected.

Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk cried during the debate, describing the seven years her grandfather spent in a Police work camp during World War Two.

She apologised on Ms Miller's behalf.

Ms Palaszczuk's father Henry withdrew his ministerial oath to the Queensland in 2005 after Prince Harry donned a Nazi uniform for a costume party.

Through the arguing, it was Gladstone independent Liz Cunningham who was able to escape the political point scoring and maintain some dignity.

"I think any of us who try to equate living conditions in Australia with those faced by people involved in particularly the first and second world war, but any subsequent conflict - I think we fail to have an understanding of exactly what those people faced," she said.

"A member, regrettably compared mining camps concentration camps and I think that is not only a poor comparison but it is a wrong comparison.

"It fails to take into account the trauma and tragedy those people experienced, the cost of war and the price of our freedom."

In 2012, the head of Queensland University of Technology's School of Justice - Professor Kerry Carrington - published research on mining camps, comparing them to asylum seeker detention centres or concentration camps.


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