GLADSTONE was one of the few places in Queensland to observe the traditional date of the Labour Day march, with thousands filling Gladstone streets to protest for workers' rights.

Privatisation of Gladstone's port was at the forefront of everyone's minds, with a bar and barbecue taking place at the marina parklands.

State Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk spoke to the crowd, publicly damning Premier Campbell Newman for his controversial policies.

"Campbell Newman is the worst premier this state has ever seen," she said.

"I congratulate the crowd here who are good, strong community champions celebrating where May Day should actually be."

Ms Palaszczuk then shifted her focus to the Federal Government, labelling the Coalition the enemy of workers and working families.

"Tony Abbott will make John Howard look like a pussycat," she said.

"The workers will continue to stand up and take this state back."

Local Labor candidate Glenn Butcher was endorsed by Ms Palaszczuk at the rally, encouraging the masses to elect Mr Butcher for a chance "to restore democracy in Queensland".

Mr Butcher reinforced the notion that trade unions were more relevant now than ever before.

"Especially here in Gladstone, we have a largely industrial town with workers who deserve to have their rights protected," he said.

"Our town as we know it will change if they privatise the port. The marina park-lands won't be a park for the people.

"We won't be able to come down here for family barbecues and jobs will be slashed."

Petitions were doing the rounds at the parklands among the crowds, calling for a referendum to stop privatisation of government assets.

Initial concerns at a diminished crowd due to the lack of a public holiday were unwarranted, with numbers exceeding previous years.

Representatives from the Electrical Trades Union, CFMEU and the United Firefighters Union of Australia were among others marching in solidarity.

Selling of Queensland's assets was a key focus for this year's Labour Day march as unions from around...