The Manifesto, issued on 9 September 1892, can be described as a foundation document of the Queensland Labour Party and a pivotal one in Australia's labour and political history.
It was written by prominent Queensland Labour Party member Charles Seymour (1853-1924) and signed by Thomas Glassey, the first person to be popularly elected on a labour platform in Queensland. According to party folklore, it was read out under the famous 'Tree of Knowledge' in Barcaldine, Queensland, the centre of industrial strife and a meeting place for striking workers.
In 1899 the Queensland Labour government became, briefly, the first Labor government in the world.
The handwritten document is the culmination of extraordinary union activism and working-class resolve at a time of political and economic instability in Queensland. Written against a background of strikes, including the great shearers' strike and the accompanying working-class solidarity, the Manifesto emphasises the troubled social and economic circumstances of working people - deprivation, unemployment, the declining welfare of farmers and workers, and the enormous and rising public debt. It details the party's grievances, with a focus on the ruling class of the time, including squatters, employers and the government, which it accused of mismanagement. It aimed to curb the excesses of capitalism and promised equal political rights and social and economic justice.