Draft Minutes of the Socialist Alliance — Sixth National Conference

Draft Minutes of the Socialist Alliance — Sixth National Conference

December 6-7, 2008, Geelong Trades Hall, Geelong, Victoria. Saturday, December 6

The conference began at 3.50pm.

Chairs of sessions were as laid out in the draft agenda, except where indicated otherwise

  1. Procedural motions

    Motion (Dick Nichols):

    That Dick Nichols chair the procedures session.

    Motion carried unanimously

    Motion from the National Executive:

    That the National Conference adopt the following standing orders for the conduct of this conference:

    1. Conference committee. That there be a conference committee of five, to be composed of Dick Nichols (National Executive), Greg Rowell (Sydney West Co-convener), David White (Brisbane), Pip Hinman (National executive) and Margarita Windisch (Melbourne West).
    2. Chairing. That chairpeople be proposed by the conference committee at the beginning of each session.
    3. Voting. Voting on reports, resolutions and amendment to be by show of delegate cards. Voting on resolutions and amendments to take place as soon as debate on the resolutions and amendments in question has ended
    4. Majority required. Decisions to be by simple majority
    5. Procedure for selecting speakers. Delegates to have voice and vote. Non-delegate members to have voice but not vote. The speaking order to be formed of delegates and non-delegates, but session chairs shall ensure that all delegates who wish to speak get the opportunity to do so. The chair to take speakers in groups of five and aim to ensure balanced representation by gender, delegation and affiliates. Any delegate or non-delegate who has not spoken in the debate to have precedence over any delegate or non-delegate who has already spoken
    6. Conduct of debate. After one speaker has spoken in favour of a resolution or amendment the next speaker to be a speaker against. A further speaker in favour of the motion will then be accepted and may be followed by a further speaker against. If there is no such speaker, debate to lapse and the vote to be taken. Movers of resolutions or amendments not to have right of reply. A vote will be taken after two speakers in favour and two against
    7. Dealing with amendments. That following the reports moving the major resolution in each session, discussion move immediately to deal with any amendments proposed
    8. Speaking limit. The speaking limit be four minutes for movers of resolutions and three minutes for all subsequent speakers to a resolution or amendment. Speakers to be advised when they have spoken for three or two minutes respectively. Speakers may ask the conference for extensions
    9. Procedural motions and dissent in ruling of the chair. In the case of procedural motions and dissent in the chair’s rulings only one speaker to be allowed for and against. Procedural motions do not require a seconder
    10. Motion to gag debate. The motion to gag debate to be put without debate
    11. Treatment and presentation of resolutions and amendments. Movers of amendments to be entitled to amalgamate and modify amendments at any time until the vote on the matter under debate is taken. All resolutions and amendments to be submitted to the conference presiding committee so as to be able to be projected on screen for delegates.
    12. Tellers of votes. The tellers of votes to be the two people at the front of each entire row of delegate tables
    13. Media coverage. Conference to be open to the media but any speaker who does not wish to be recorded by the media to so indicate and coverage to be suspended for the duration of the presentation of the speaker in question
    14. Videoing conference. Art Resistance to be allowed to video conference, but under the same conditions as proposed for the media.

    Motion carried unanimously

  2. Speech in memory of comrade Peter McGregor

    Speaker: Alex Bainbridge (Sydney Central)

  3. What politics and campaigns to rebuild the union movement?

    Chair and session presenter: Susan Price (Sydney East)

    Guest Speaker: Noel Washington (Senior vice-president, Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union

    Noel Washington’s speech was followed by questions and discussion

    Policies for adoption

    1. On the campaign for the abolition of the Australian Building and Construction Commission

      Moved: Margarita Windisch (Melbourne West) Seconded: Tim Gooden (Geelong)

      Conference notes the important role that Socialist Alliance trade unionists have played in building the campaign against the Australian Building and Construction Commission, in particular the role of Geelong Trades Hall secretary Tim Gooden, who initiated the “No Cooperation with the ABCC sign-on statement” and the first building worker demonstrations over the charges laid against CFMEU organiser Noel Washington.

      The surprise withdrawal of charges by the Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecution against Noel Washington the day after the introduction into parliament of the Rudd Government’s Fair Work Bill shows that the Rudd government is sensitive on the issue of labour rights and that determined campaigning can bring gains for workers and their unions.

      The success of the spirited December 2 protest rallies against the ABCC around the country showed that the most organised and conscious parts of the working class movement are determined to win back rights at work lost under the Howard government.

      Conference recognises that the campaign to abolish the ABCC is the spearhead campaign in the broader fight to properly restore workers rights. If it is won, the battle to neutralise the anti-union parts of the Fair Work Bill will be much easier.

      Conference resolves that the Socialist Alliance will continue to give full support to the building union-led campaign against the ABCC. Socialist Alliance unionists and trade union committees will continue to urge that non-cooperation with the ABCC as courageously practised by Noel Washington become the general approach and a central part of campaign.

      Conference recognises that the campaign will have to be escalated to achieve its goal of ABCC abolition, and in this perspective advocates ongoing industrial action and protests, including demonstrations against ALP MPs who support or have yet to come out against the ABCC (like the October protest against Corio MHR Richard Marles and the Darwin December 2 building union protest outside the office of Solomon MHR Damian Hale).

      Conference also urges Socialist Alliance trade unionists to propose in their unions and in union peak bodies the idea that May Day 2009 be a National Day of Protest against the ABCC and calls for industrial action whenever anyone is convicted under Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act laws.

      Amendment 1 Moved: Margarita Windisch (Melbourne West) Seconded: Paul Benedek (Brisbane)
      As shown in bold text in second last paragraph of the resolution above
      Amendment 1 accepted by mover

      Amendment 2 Moved: Kiraz Janicke (Sydney West) Seconded: Tim Gooden (Geelong)
      As shown in bold text as addendum to the last paragraph of the resolution above
      Amendment 2 accepted by mover

      Motion as amended carried unanimously

    2. On updating the Socialist Alliance workers’ rights charter

      Moved: Dick Nichols (National Executive) Seconded: Liam Mitchell (Blue Mountains)

      In the light of developments in the working class and trade union movements since the defeat of the Howard government, in particular the tabling by industrial relations minister Julia Gillard of the Fair Work Bill, the dropping of charges against CFMEU official Noel Washington and the ongoing campaign against the Australian Building and Construction Commission, Conference asks the incoming National Executive and the National Trade Union Committee to produce a new edition of the workers´ rights charter, and to give consideration to having it printed in pamphlet format instead of as a broadsheet.

      Motion carried unanimously

    3. In defence of Dean Mighell and the Electrical Trades Union Southern Branch

      Moved: Tim Doughney (Melbourne West) Seconded: Tim Gooden (Geelong)

      Conference condemns the vicious attacks by the ALP and the mass media on Electrical Trades Union Southern Branch secretary Dean Mighell. The ALP’s smear campaign is designed to discredit a union secretary who has been prepared to criticise the ALP in public and back independent and progressive candidates in federal, state or local council elections.

      Mighell has also been threatened by sections of the ALP machine that they are prepared to spend $500.000 to get rid of him at the 2010 ETU elections.
      Conference reaffirms that the Socialist Alliance supports all unions and their leaderships who are prepared to put their members’ interests over and above the interests of the ALP and big business.

      Motion carried unanimously

    4. On the Rudd government’s Fair Work Bill

      Moved: Sam Wainwright (Fremantle) Seconded: Tim Gooden (Geelong)

      This Sixth National Conference of the Socialist Alliance:

      1. Recognises that while Labor’s Fair Work Bill removes some of the worst aspects of Work Choices, it preserves its punitive heart, maintaining the balance of power on the side of the capitalist class and selling short the demands of the Your Rights at Work campaign and reneging on Labor’s promise to “tear up” Work Choices.
      2. Notes that, while there has not been enough time to fully study the Fair Work Bill in detail and that the impact of much of its content will be determined by the struggle on the ground, the basic intention of Labor’s “Fair Work” system is to give some legal protections to unions in industrial bargaining while severely restricting their capacity to fight for better conditions than those business is willing to concede.
      3. Notes in particular that the Fair Work Bill will:
        • Severely limit the right to strike (including banning the right to strike over non-industrial issues);
        • Still curtail union officials’ right of entry to work sites;
        • Put unions at a disadvantage in bargaining periods by delaying arbitration until “significant economic harm” has been caused, except in the “low-paid stream”;
        • Retain the ban on “pattern bargaining”, except in a limited “low-paid stream”, in which all industrial action is banned;
        • Retain Work Choices’ distinction between “protected” and “unprotected” industrial action, and make payment of wages during unprotected action illegal;
        • Retain Work Choices distinction between “allowable” and “unallowable” content in agreements, outlawing the right to negotiate on social or environmental content;
        • Restrict the right to seek compensation for unfair dismissal.
      4. Resolves that the Socialist Alliance will prepare its own plain language question-and-answer guide to the Fair Work Bill.
      5. Amendment 1 (Moved: Graham Matthews (Sydney West) Seconded: Dick Nichols (National Executive)

        Deletion as shown in strikethrough in resolution above

        Amendment 1 accepted by mover

      Motion as amended carried unanimously

    5. On New South Wales electricity privatisation

      Moved: Liam Mitchell (Blue Mountains branch) Seconded: Susan Price (Sydney East)

      The Socialist Alliance Conference notes that the Rees Labor government in NSW has continued along the path of privatising the electricity sector in that state, even after the previous leadership was forced out due to mass opposition to the original plan.

      Former premier Morris Iemma and treasurer Michael Costa had proposed a complete selloff, which was defeated by opposition from the union movement and local communities and involved activists from a wide range of political groups in its organising. While 85% of the people opposed the plan, Costa and Iemma sought to push it through parliament without concessions and using an absence of democratic control of Labor policy by the party.

      The pressure from the community and the unions was so great that several Labor MPs in both houses would have crossed the floor and ensured its defeat.

      The conference notes that the plan put forward by Rees is nothing less than an attempt to privatise the whole sector, despite it being dressed up as only partial privatisation. In this regard, it is not a concession to the movement that arose in opposition to the original plan. Rather it is an attempt to bring in the original plan, with only a few small modifications, without having to be taken to a parliamentary vote.

      The conference notes that recent comments by the Secretary of the Treasury have exposed the sell-off of wholesale distribution rights as being aimed to give private corporations direct control in the operation of public utilities – control of everything from wholesale prices to energy sources to industrial relations.

      This conference agrees that the privatisation of electricity will do three things:

      • It will turn over a profitable publicly owned utility to be run for private profit. This will impact on consumers and particularly poorer people as companies seek to maximise their profits.
      • It will impact directly on wages and working conditions in the electricity sector, particularly as wholesalers are able to become generators and establish greenfield sites.
      • It will reduce the ability of the people to be able to control what sort of energy source is used to generate electricity, to reduce and even eliminate the use of coal and to move towards renewable energy in time to ward off further environmental damage.

      Accordingly, the conference decides to prioritise the campaign in New South Wales against the sell-off of the electricity sector by the Rees Labor government, building a campaign that involves unions, environment groups, political parties and groups and the local communities.

      That this campaign must take up issues of public control and ownership versus private profit; workers’ rights; and the phasing out of coal and moving towards an electricity system based on renewable energy.

      Amendment 1 Moved: Liam Mitchell (Blue Mountains) Seconded: Susan Price (Sydney East)
      Insert text shown in bold
      Amendment 1 accepted by mover

      Motion as amended carried unanimously

    6. On the seasonal workers scheme

      Moved: Jody Betzien (Melbourne North) Seconded: Wayne Klempton (Melbourne North)

      The Socialist Alliance stands in opposition to the federal Labor government’s seasonal worker scheme in the horticulture industry. Under the current trial, up to 2500 visas will be available over three years for workers from Kiribati, Tonga, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea to work in Australia for up to seven out of any 12 months.

      The program follows in the footsteps of the massive expansion of the 457 visa program, which has become notorious for rip-offs and abuse of migrant workers. It will further entrench a system that affords temporary migrant workers fewer rights than permanent resident workers. The right to remain in Australia to work is directly linked to narrowly defined work rights (either sponsorship with a single employer or group of employers in a specific occupational category). Temporary migrant workers do not have the right to tell the boss to get stuffed and find another job. To do so means being deported. It is for this reason that temporary migrant workers are highly vulnerable and employers are able to pay lower wages and conditions than are required to attract workers with full residency rights to the position.

      Employers have claimed a labour shortage to justify the program. While an absolute labour shortage does not exist there is a shortage of workers prepared to work in low-paid casualised jobs in rural areas, without access to transport and services including affordable accommodation.

      If a genuine generalised labour shortage exists, an increase in permanent migration would solve the shortage. However, the reality is that migrant workers with full work rights would seek the best wages and conditions available in the labour market. To attract workers, the agricultural industry employers would need to pay substantially more, facilitate continuity of work and provide access to facilities such as accommodation.

      The Australian Council of Trade Unions and Oxfam Australia have expressed qualified support for the pilot claiming benefits for poor Pacific Island nations through funds sent home by the migrant workers to their families. However there is strong evidence that permanent migrants are equally likely to send money to their families at home to provide some immediate poverty relief. Support for the pilot program based on arguments about Pacific Island development will allow big business to get away with establishing a program that will result in more super-exploited migrant workers in Australia, while failing to address to the real causes of poverty in the Pacific.

      The Socialist Alliance stands for full citizenship, democractic and work rights for all migrant workers. We stand for a large scale expansion of permanent migration programs including from poor pacific island nations in the region. Temporary migration schemes where workers have diminished rights will result in the super-exploitation of migrant workers and the undermining of wages and conditions for all workers.

      The Socialist Alliance will produce a double-A4 style leaflet summarising its positions on 457 visas and seasonal worker schemes, available for download and distribution.

      Amendment 1 Moved: Sam Wainwright (Fremantle) Seconded: Dick Nichols (National Coordinator)
      Insert text shown in bold in resolution above
      Amendment 1 accepted by mover

      Amendment 2 Moved: Rachel Evans (Sydney West) Seconded: Various
      Add final paragraph:
      The Socialist Alliance supports refugee rights and has an open border policy.
      Amendment 2 rejected by mover
      Amendment 2 lost with 1 vote in favour

      Motion as amended carried unanimously

    7. NSW Trade Union Committee on attacks on public education in NSW and nationally

      Moved: Vivienne Messimeris (Sydney West) Seconded: Bronwyn Jennings (Geelong)

      Conference condemns the agreement made between the states and the federal government of the introduction of league tables in schools in return for an increase in funding for disadvantaged schools and an increase in the power of principals to hire and fire (announced at the COAG meeting of November 29).

      This is the next step in the move toward the introduction of fixed term contracts and performance-based pay for teachers. The actions of both the Federal and State ALP Governments demonstrate that they are just as committed to the same neo-liberal policies of devolution of school staffing as was the previous Howard-Liberal Government.

      This kind of reporting of performance of public schools takes no consideration of the context of schools, such as their socio-economic status and other factors. Far from representing the increased accountability and transparency its advocates maintain, league tables deepen and entrench disadvantage, creating second and third class schools out of disadvantaged ones. Conference affirms that the Alliance must fight against this its introduction.

      Conference also supports the stance of the NSW Socialist Alliance teacher members in leading the struggle against the NSW government’s miserable pay offer of 2.5% with trade-offs and supports the initiatives of the Activist Teachers Network, which is a rank and file network of NSWTF activists who are campaigning to organise more militant, grassroots mass actions as a winning strategy for the union.

      The Socialist Alliance reaffirms its fundamental opposition to the public funding of private schools. We call on unions across the country to become involved in a campaign to call a massive rally in defence of public education at Federal Parliament House during Education Week 2009.

      Motion carried unanimously

  4. Campaigning workshops

    • Building the climate change movement
    • Aboriginal rights struggles
    • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersexual
    • Anti-war and Anti-terrorism
    • The Western Saharan struggle
  5. Latin America’s struggle for a new world

    Guest Speaker: Nelson Dávila (Chargé d’affaires, Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela)
    Chair: Kiraz Janicke (Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network)

    Policy for adoption

    1. Support for democracy and self-determination in Bolivia

      Moved: Stuart Munckton, (Sydney Central) Seconded: Michael McDonald (Brisbane Central)

      The democratically elected government of Bolivian President Evo Morales, that nation’s first ever president to come from the ranks of the impoverished indigenous majority, is leading a process of change that aims to overcome 500 years of indigenous oppression and reverse two decades of a brutal neo-liberalism that has left Bolivia the poorest country in South America.

      The Morales government has overseen a key popular demand for a constituent assembly for a new constitution based on justice and inclusion for the indigenous people. It has nationalized the country’s gas reserves and other industries and begun redistributing the wealth via programs aimed at assisting the poor.

      Morales was elected with 54% of the vote, the highest in Bolivia’s history, and his mandate was re-endorsed in August 2008 with a remarkable 67% in a referendum.
      Despite this democratic mandate, the United States government has worked overtime to destroy the government and the process of change it leads. The US has helped fund and organise the right-wing opposition in its campaign of destabilisation.

      This campaign reached a head in September 2008 with a coup attempt by the opposition that involved fascist violence against state institutions, indigenous peoples and social movements. The Bolivian government expelled the US ambassador, Philip Goldberg, for his role in coordinating the campaign to bring down the elected government. That month, the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) unanimously expressed its full support to the legitimate government of Evo Morales, repudiating the US-organised coup attempt.

      In light of all of this, the Socialist Alliance:

      • Offers its support to Bolivian government’s attempts to implement policies based on justice for the oppressed indigenous majority and to reverse neoliberalism.
      • Calls on the government of the United States to cease immediately its intervention into Bolivia aimed at destabilising and overthrowing the government. We support self-determination for the Bolivian people, according to the principle of national sovereignty.
      • Calls on the Australian government to follow the lead of Unasur and declare its support for democracy and national sovereignty in Bolivia and reject all attempts to overthrow the legitimate government.
    2. Motion carried unanimously

Sunday, December 7

  1. Socialist Alliance Perspectives and Tasks in 2009

    Session presenter: Sue Bolton (Victorian State Convener) Chair: Ron Guy (Melbourne branch)
    Greetings: Grant Morgan (Residents Action Movement, New Zealand-Aetoaroa), Brianna Pike (Resistance)

    Policies for adoption

    1. Perspectives for building Socialist Alliance and left regroupment

      Moved: Sue Bolton (Melbourne North) Seconded: Paul Benedek, (Brisbane)

      1. The international financial crisis has provoked large numbers of people to question the capitalist system and the ability of the market to solve problems such as the threat of climate change. For the first time in a long time, people are starting to talk about public ownership and question why governments can instantly come up with the funds to bail-out the banks but never find the money to fix the problems in other areas such as health and education.
      2. At the same time, the threat of runaway climate change and the need for a restructuring of our economy to phase out the use of fossil fuels is challenging many people who are worried about global warming to think about radical social change. The worldwide food shortage which has been exacerbated by farmers switching from food production to the production of biofuels is a graphic example of the lunacy of relying on market mechanisms to prevent climate change.
      3. The inability of capitalism to solve any of these problems creates the potential for large numbers of people to reject capitalism and consider a socialist alternative. However, this potential is more likely to be realised if the socialist movement can become more united and develop stronger campaigns of resistance, as well as developing deeper roots in the working class.
      4. Twelve months after the election of the Rudd Labor government, activists in the trade union, indigenous rights, refugee rights, climate action, anti-war and other movements are realising that Rudd Labor only intends to get rid of some of the worst features of the Howard-era laws, but leave the bulk of Howard’s legislation in place. As disenchantment with the federal and state Labor Party governments grows, there is more interest in an alternative to the left of Labor.
      5. Socialist Alliance exists to help build stronger working class movements and campaigns for rights including in the unions, the climate action movement, Indigenous rights and LGBTI movements, and the anti-war movement. Its members have helped to spearhead, and lead, a number of successful campaigns over the past couple of years including in the anti-Work Choices and anti-ABCC campaigns, against George Bush’s 2007 APEC visit, for gay, lesbian, transgender and bi-sexual people rights, for the rights for refugees, the campaign against the Northern Territory intervention, and for international solidarity campaigns with radical and revolutionary movements overseas – including Venezuela, Bolivia and Cuba. The focus on building these campaigns with a focus on mobilising community sentiment and involving new activists must continue.
      6. Socialist Alliance’s national union working group and environment working group have kept up a regular meeting schedule and successfully planned out our work. This should continue. With the demise decline of the anti-war movement following the invasion of Iraq, it has been difficult to keep the anti-war working group meeting, although SA activists are still involved in anti-war and civil rights campaigning in their respective cities and there is a need to rebuild this movement as the Australian governments steps up its war in Afghanistan.
      7. Socialist Alliance electoral work has engaged some of the less active members, and standing in state and federal and local elections has put us in touch with a range of leftists and raised our profile. However, our votes have generally been small, with the Greens still attracting the majority of the protest and left-of-ALP vote. This is not likely to change in the near future. Socialist Alliance should continue to stand in elections, but should also be open to looking at initiating and/or running on tickets with other left activists, particularly where we have not managed to get party registration.
      8. Socialist Alliance has consolidated some of its branches including in Wollongong, Brisbane, Sydney West, Hobart and Geelong. It should strive to do the same in cities and districts across the country. While the Sydney and Melbourne inner city branches have been hard to consolidate over the last couple of years, members and supporters are contacted for events and meetings and help in election campaigns. A new branch has just been chartered in Cairns, and there are plans to do the same in Blacktown in Sydney.
      9. Socialist Alliance was established in 2001 with a perspective of uniting a fragmented left. Socialist Alliance needs to continue striving to build a stronger socialist voice in Australia by continuing to look for new alliances with communities, organisations and individuals on the left who want to be active in struggles. Our work with the Sudanese community in western Sydney, the Turkish community in Melbourne, and the Tamil and pro-Tamil Sinhalese communities across Australia the Tamil communities across Australia (and pro-Tamil Sinhalese individuals) have been important steps in this regard. It helps draw socialists and leftists from migrant communities into the Australian political movement, and in the process enrich and diversify the movement.

      Amendment 1. Moved: Chris Slee (Melbourne North) Seconded: Various
      Insert “some of” in paragraph (d) as shown in bold.
      Amendment 1 accepted by mover

      Amendment 2. Moved: Chris Slee (Melbourne North) Seconded: Various
      In paragraph (i) replace struckthrough phrase with phrase in bold.
      Amendment 2 accepted by mover

      Amendment 3 Moved: Liam Mitchell (Blue Mountains) Seconded: Various
      In paragraph (g) delete struckthrough phrase (the phrase in paragraph (g) is struckthrough).
      Amendment 3 accepted by mover

      Amendment 4 Moved: Katie Cherrington (Melbourne North) Seconded: Sue Bolton (Melbourne North)
      In paragraph (f) replace “demise” with “decline”.
      Amendment 4 accepted by mover

      Motion as amended carried unanimously

    2. On our anti-war work

      Moved: Pip Hinman (Sydney Central) Seconded: Tim Dobson (Illawarra)

      That Socialist Alliance continues to give priority to re-building an anti-war movement around the key demand of: troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq. In addition to supporting and initiating protest demonstrations against the war, this means encouraging all union members to look at the possibility of winning their union to an active position against both wars.

      That Socialist Alliance also seeks out the opportunities to highlight and oppose the anti-democratic anti-terror laws and call for their abolition.

      That Socialist Alliance joins in other protests, as they arise, relating to the campaign to close down US bases on Australian soil, no money for defence and militarism.

      Amendment 1 Moved: Ruth Ratcliffe (Adelaide) Seconded: Renfrey Clarke (Adelaide)

      Add before the final paragraph:
      “The Socialist Alliance opposes the allocation of $26 billion annually to military spending and calls for the reallocation of these funds to address the climate crisis.”
      Amendment 1 accepted by mover

      Amendment 2 Moved: Luke Weyland (Sydney West) Seconded: Greg Rowell (Sydney West)

      Add the following paragraph:
      “We oppose any threats against other nations, such as Iran and Pakistan. We oppose Howard and Rudd’s terror laws and scapegoating of the Islamic community and the Tamil community.”

      Note: The content of amendment 2 was accepted by the mover, when assigned as two separate amendments. This was agreeable to the mover of the amendment, such that the resolution as amended read:

      1. That the Socialist Alliance continues to give priority to re-building an anti-war movement around the key demand of: troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq. In addition to supporting and initiating protest demonstrations against the war, this means encouraging all union members to look at the possibility of winning their union to an active position against both wars.
      2. That the Socialist Alliance also seeks out the opportunities to highlight and oppose the anti-democratic anti-terror laws and call for their abolition. We oppose scapegoating of the islamic community and Tamil community.
      3. That the Socialist Alliance opposes the allocation of 26 billion dollars annually to military spending and calls for the reallocation of these funds to address the climate crisis.
      4. That the Socialist Alliance joins in other protests, as they arise, including relating to the campaign to close down US bases on Australian soil, no money for defence and militarism.
      5. That the Socialist Alliance opposes any threats against other nations, such as Iran or Pakistan.

      Motion as amended carried unanimously

    3. On the Socialist Alliance attitude to worker and union candidates In future elections

      Moved: Jonathan Strauss (Northern Queensland) Seconded: Liam Mitchell (Blue Mountains)

      Conference notes that the first federal Labor government in over a decade won the 2007 election on the basis of union and social movement organisation against the Howard government, as well as re-winning some working-class support through its commitments in the areas such as health, education and welfare.

      While the Rudd government largely maintains support from progressive, broad left and union circles, its future responses, especially in the area of labour rights and action against climate change, are highly likely to disappoint many of its present supporters.

      At the state level disillusionment with Labor administrations is much farther advanced, particularly in New South Wales. This disillusionment is being expressed in increased votes for Green, progressive independent and, at the local government level, socialist candidates.

      The Socialist Alliance acknowledges that, in this context and especially in the case of major clashes between Labor and sections of the union movement, union-based forces may well choose to directly challenge ALP governments electorally.

      In such a case the Socialist Alliance would be open to engaging with any serious attempt will engage with attempts to run progressive union-supported candidates in coming elections. This is particularly the case if these candidates are generated from progressive campaigns, movements and unions.

      Amendment 1 Moved: Jonathan Strauss (Northern Queensland) Seconded: Dick Nichols (National Executiver)
      To replace struckthrough words in text with phrase in bold.

      Amendment 1 accepted by mover

      Motion as amended carried unanimously

    4. On Palestine

      Moved: Ema Corro (Melbourne West) Seconded: Tony Iltis (Sydney Central)

      The Socialist Alliance condemns the ethnic cleansing of Palestine by the state of Israel. While oppression against the Palestinians takes different forms – through the occupation of the Palestinian Territories, the siege of Gaza, the breaking up of the West Bank into isolated ghettos, systematic violence and discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel or exile as refugees – we recognize that they are all part of the same struggle for Palestinian self-determination.
      That the Socialist Alliance supports:

      1. Palestinian right to self-determination.
      2. Israeli withdrawal from the Occupied Territories.
      3. Equal civil and democratic rights for all inhabitants of Historic Palestine.
      4. Right of return for Palestinian refugees.
      5. An end to Israeli aggression against other countries in the region.

      The Socialist Alliance recognizes the essential role that international (including Australian) imperialism plays in supporting the Israeli system of Apartheid and Occupation through massive political, economic and military aid. Therefore the Socialist Alliance supports the International campaign for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions of Israeli Apartheid.

      Amendment 1 Moved: Bea Bleile (New England) Seconded: Jonathan Strauss (Northern Queensland)

      Change the first paragraph to read:

      “The Socialist Alliance condemns the oppression of the Palestinians by the State of Israel, which takes different forms: the occupation of the Palestinian Territories, the siege of Gaza, the breaking up of the West Bank into isolated ghettos, systematic violence and discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel and the exile as refugees.”
      Amendment 1 not accepted by mover

      The mover proposed the following rewording of first paragraph, which was incorporated into the resolution as amended

      “The Socialist Alliance condemns the ethnic cleansing of Palestine by the state of Israel. This oppression takes different forms – the occupation of the Palestinian Territories, the siege of Gaza, the breaking up of the West Bank into isolated ghettos, systematic violence and discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel or exile as refugees.”

      Amendment 2 Moved: Liam Mitchell (Blue Mountains) Seconded: Various

      Add point (f) to read:

      “An end to the restrictions of movement of people and supplies (including medical supplies) around Palestine and between Palestine and Israel.”
      Amendment 2 accepted by mover

      Procedural motion (Moved: Conference Committee): To take the vote on Palestine after the session on supporting and strengthening Indigenous Australia’s struggle for justice.

      Procedural motion carried unanimously

      Procedural motion (Moved: Conference Committee) That, given the shortage of time, the National Conference not deal with the National Executive resolutions on Tibet and the Western Sahara.

      Procedural motion carried unanimously

  2. Supporting and strengthening Indigenous Australia’s struggle for justice

    Session presenter: Pat Eatock (Aboriginal Rights Coalition) Chair: Jess Moore (Illawarra)

    Sam Watson (Indigenous Rights Spokesperson) addressed the conference by phone from Brisbane on the issues confronting the movement for justice for Indigenous Australia.

    Policies for adoption

    1. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Rights Charter

      Moved: Paul Benedek (Brisbane District) Seconded Chris Johnson (Geelong)

      Introduction

      In 1788 Australia was invaded and colonised, but the sovereignty of the original inhabitants of this country was never ceded. Across the continent the Indigenous peoples resisted. But treaties were never negotiated over the use or settlement of the land, and the colonisers invented a legal fiction – terra nullius – to justify their illegal and violent annexation. By pretending that the land wasn’t inhabited by a “civilised” people, the likes of James Cook and Joseph Banks laid the basis for two centuries of racism and oppression.

      For the past 220 years, mothers, fathers and children have suffered the trauma of invasion, enslavement, assimilation, genocide, racist exclusion, land theft, the destruction of life, language and culture, and the denial of basic human rights. Under successive governments, whole populations were forced into missions, denied their language and culture, and given diseased blankets, and tea, flour, and tobacco to live on. In many areas, hunting parties were paid a bounty to chase down and kill those who refused to accept the new order.

      Throughout the last century, Aboriginal children were removed from their families and communities, in order to “assimilate” what was deemed a “failed race” into the broader Australian population. These children were lied to about their heritage, and were used as slave labour – as housemaids, or on cattle stations – and were frequently abused. These children – collectively known as the Stolen Generations – still suffer from the effects of their separation, and are still waiting for meaningful reparation for their pain.

      The Apology

      The apology given by Kevin Rudd to the Stolen Generation was an important and necessary symbolic step forward—if long overdue. However, it does not mean that official racism is dead. Without compensation for the Stolen Generations and immediate action to overcome the inequality suffered by indigenous Australians, the apology will become just more hollow words from white Australia.

      In 1992, the High Court finally laid to rest the white colonial fairytale that there was no such thing as Indigenous land ownership, that the country invaded in 1788 was terra nullius. But despite a world of promises, in the 16 years since Mabo Indigenous Australia remains without adequate recognition, often living in Third World conditions and with land rights inadequately recognised and respected. Deaths in custody and endemic racism continue, reinforced by negative media coverage and racist government legislation, such as the Howard Government’s Northern Territory intervention in 2007.

      The Northern Territory intervention — the new paternalism

      The Howard government used the 2007 Little Children are Sacred report on the sexual abuse of children in Aboriginal communities to justify its intervention with police and army into Northern Territory Aboriginal settlements. There was no consultation with Indigenous communities, the Northern Territory’s land rights law and the permit system were suspended, welfare payments “quarantined” and employment projects cut.

      The pretext for the intervention was not even mentioned in the legislation that enabled the intervention, and only a handful of actual charges of abuse laid. Northern Territory Aboriginal leaders maintain that the incidence of child molestation in their communities is less than in the broader community. If the concern about inadequate protection of Aboriginal children had been real, it would never have produced that intervention.

      The intervention and the quarantining of welfare payments has forced people out of their communities, leading to increased homelessness (“long-grassing”), suicide and petty crime. This new paternalism, which continues under Rudd and state Labor governments, will only reproduce the same results as the old paternalism—poverty, alienation, powerlessness and hopelessness.

      The only way to solve the problems facing Aboriginal communities across Australia is to work in coalition with the communities themselves, to provide the resources, training, and support to enable the communities to take control of their own affairs, instead of relying upon hand-outs or being pushed around at the point of a gun or pen.

      Our basic approach

      Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples continue to be the victims, not the creators, of the policies that affect them. That is why the Socialist Alliance’s basic “policy approach” is to provide solidarity and support to all struggles for justice by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

      We stand for:

      • Reconciliation and compensation
      • Recognition of rights and the building of awareness
      • Full economic and social equality – close the gap within ten years
      • A treaty and real land rights
      • Aboriginal control of Aboriginal affairs

      1. Reconciliation and Compensation

        Justice for Indigenous Australia must begin with a frank and full acknowledgement of the fact that “White Australia has a Black history” and a determination to make amends wherever possible. Prime Minister Rudd’s apology to the Stolen Generations on February 13, 2008, was a good start, but more concrete steps have to be taken.

        That requires:

        • Constitutional recognition of the sovereignty of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the original and ongoing inhabitants of the land, and the negotiation of a treaty or binding agreement enshrining Indigenous rights in law;
        • Full reparation for the Stolen Generations and for traditional lands ravaged by mining;
        • Full implementation of the recommendations of the 1997 National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from their Families (the “Bringing Them Home” Report)
        • Full and immediate compensation for the stolen wages;
        • Full implementation of the recommendations of the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody
      2. Recognition of Rights and Building Awareness

        Socialist Alliance supports the creation of a treaty or compact in order to enshrine and protect the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This is more than just a formality—in countries where treaties have been negotiated, and have provided a means to exercise genuine self-determination in Indigenous communities, health and other social problems have improved.

        The Socialist Alliance says:

        • Ensure all legislation is in line with the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the rulings of the UN Commission on Human Rights;
        • Guarantee protection of sacred sites and artefacts, and the return of all stolen heritage items—both here and overseas—to their rightful custodians;
        • Protect the cultural and intellectual property rights of Aboriginal Australia;
        • Change planning laws and regulations so that the decision as to what is a heritage site in need of protection belongs to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people concerned;
        • Make the study of the history, culture, languages and customs of Indigenous peoples part of the core education curriculum; make Indigenous studies mandatory in teacher training; and develop curricula in Aboriginal languages;
        • Start a program for the reviving and popularising of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander place names to stand alongside (or replace) the place names arising from colonial settlement;
        • Extend Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander programming on the ABC, SBS and community broadcasting; end the racist and destructive portrayal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, organisations and communities in some sections of the media.
      3. Social and economic equality

        In health, housing, employment and education Indigenous Australia still lags, often shockingly, behind the rest of the population. Indigenous babies and children have twice the rate of low birth weight, seven times the rate of sudden infant death and seven times the death rate from childhood infectious diseases and accidents as non-Indigenous children.

        The life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is 17 years below that of non-Indigenous Australians, and at present rates of change it will never reach that of the non-Indigenous population! This contrasts shamefully with the progress in life expectancy of the Maori people in New Zealand and the First Nations peoples of Canada. To make things worse, for years, Indigenous health has been under-funded by at least $500 million annually. This must be turned around immediately.

        We need to end the genocide taking place by neglect, by extending and improving Indigenous health and other community needs through fully funded and targeted services controlled by Indigenous Australians and their communities. The Socialist Alliance calls for an emergency campaign to “close the gap” in life expectancy within a generation, and to eliminate Indigenous social disadvantage and inequality across the board within a decade.

        Socialist Alliance calls for a target date of 2012 for Aboriginal students to match or better the educational development of Australian students as a whole, and aim for similar targets in health, housing and employment. A properly funded program of positive discrimination for Indigenous people in education and training and a real Indigenous job creation campaign could have started to solve the problems of Aboriginal communities’ hopelessness years ago.

        Funding for programs that have been shown to reduce social and economic disadvantage must be kept up and increased. Any real plan to achieve social and economic equality for Indigenous people must include the following measures, developed and overseen by the appropriate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations. Aboriginal control over the administration of Aboriginal affairs must be the practice, not just on paper. Socialist Alliance says:

        Health

        • Implement an emergency campaign around child health. Boost funding to community-based child-care services and boosted training of more Aboriginal pediatric health professionals
        • Boost health resources in both community-run and mainstream services, including training of Aboriginal health professionals in all fields
        • Strengthen community initiatives to address violence and abuse, establish safe houses and properly resource Indigenous women’s centres and legal services
        • Implement the recommendation of the Little Children are Sacred report, the Combined Aboriginal Organisations of the Northern Territory Emergency Response and Development Plan, as well as the recommendations in the 1997 HREOC Social Justice Report.

        Housing

        • As part of expanding social housing, develop and adequately fund an Indigenous housing plan to address unmet need (17% of people using homelessness services are Indigenous as against less than 2% for the population as a whole)
        • Implement an emergency repair and upgrading plan for Indigenous households
        • Develop local production of building materials
        • Help Indigenous communities maintain and improve their housing stock by providing the necessary training and resources
        • Provide housing opportunities that meet cultural and community need

        Education

        • Ensure that the Department of Education and Training has the resources, staffing and teacher-training programs adequate to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students with the necessary attention
        • Implement programs to support Aboriginal parents and caregivers with children in the formative 0 to 5 year period
        • Increase the numbers of Aboriginal teachers and education administrators
        • Increase the level of community involvement in schools and TAFEs, through such programs as “in-class tuition” that brings Aboriginal parents into schools to work with and raise the awareness of non-Aboriginal teachers and children
        • Value the unique knowledge of Aboriginal people and create programs that enable Aboriginal people to transmit this knowledge through the classroom to Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students to foster pride and understanding.

        Employment

        • Ensure that all programs and services in Indigenous communities employ qualified people, and provide training and development for community members
        • Establish affirmative action quotas in apprenticeships, TAFE and university entrance and all levels of government
        • Require government agency programs to increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation
        • Provide funds and other needed assistance for social sector economic activity by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
        • Help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to retain and or reclaim use of traditional fisheries
        • Abolish work for the dole. Reinstate Community Development Employment Programs (CDEPs) as a transition to real employment, especially in remote in Aboriginal communities, employing all workers on locally negotiated award wages based on community consultation.

        Indigenous Australians in jail

        Indigenous Australians make up less than 2% of the population, but make up 26% of the jail population. There can be no social justice and equality for Aboriginal Australians until problems that cause this situation are tackled by:

        • Implementation of all the 339 recommendations of the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, and full investigation into the scores of avoidable deaths since
        • Boosted funding to Aboriginal Legal Services
        • No to the privatisation of prisons and prisoner transport
        • Thorough training of court officials, police and prison officers in Indigenous culture and values
        • Proper representation of Indigenous communities on law reform bodies
        • Greater Indigenous representation on juries
        • Indigenous community policing
        • Greater use of suspended sentences and circle sentencing through Aboriginal Community Justice Groups
      4. Sovereignty, Treaty and Land Rights

        After three decades of Land Rights, and 15 years of Native Title, it is clear that consecutive governments and legislation have failed to meet the aim of increasing the rights of Indigenous people to live on traditional lands. The National Native Title Tribunal has failed to secure Indigenous rights in the face of corporate, especially mining, interests. The Howard government’s abolition of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) and attack on Land Rights in the Northern Territory shows the vulnerability of Indigenous rights in the face of hostile Governments intent on a racist land-grab.

        Socialist Alliance stands for full Land Rights and compensation for land taken, and recognises the existence of Indigenous self-governance and the right of Indigenous peoples to self-determination.

        Socialist Alliance also calls for increased funding and support for Indigenous community-run services to overcome the lack of necessary expertise among local communities. The Socialist Alliance approach is to strengthen the economic and skills base of the land councils system and local communities, and in this way support Indigenous people in the creation of sustainable, self-managed communities.

        Socialist Alliance says:

        • Restore the permit system in full, under community control, not white manager control
        • No to 5-year and 99-year leases. The use of Aboriginal land for community development is possible without breaking it up and forcibly introducing individual property relations onto a communitarian culture
        • [Make last dot point] Repeal the Native Title Act, abolish all racist land laws and renegotiate Indigenous Land Rights as part of a constitutionally entrenched Treaty, binding on Federal and State governments
        • Provide support, funding and the necessary specialist training for the development of community cooperative enterprises
        • Develop leadership and skills among local communities—with special incentives for the younger generation to participate.
        • Assist communities in developing leadership and other skills, with a special focus on encouraging youth participation
        • Guarantee popular election of office holders at all level democratic processes in the selection of Aboriginal leadership positions
        • Block the disposal of land of spiritual or cultural value without support by land councils and traditional custodians
        • Encourage and resource the development of democratic Indigenous representative bodies at regional and national levels
        • No forced amalgamations or closure of land councils
        • No to the “mainstreaming” of Indigenous services

        Amendments 1 to 8 Moved: Paul Benede (Brisbane) Seconded: Chris Johnson (Geelong)

        To amend the text of the charter as shown by changes in bold italic and associated strikethoughs.

        Amendments 1 to 8 accpeted by mover

        Amendments 9 to 15 Moved: Jonathan Strauss (Northern Queensland) Seconded: Dick Nichols (National Executive)

        To amend the text of the charter as shown by changes in bold and associated strikethoughs.

        Amendments 9 to 15 accepted by mover

        Motion as amended carried unanimously

    2. On the Northern Territory intervention

      Moved: Margarita Windisch (Melbourne West) Seconded: Susan Price (Sydney East)

      Conference demands:

      1. That no community should be considered “too remote to be viable”
      2. That the Racial Discrimination Act be restored;
      3. That the Northern Territory intervention and welfare quarantining be ended;
      4. That the federal government apply the funding necessary to address the material disadvantage of remote communities with educational, reconstruction and job opportunities
      5. That investment in services in remote communities for ongoing health care needs be implemented
      6. That all plans for reconstruction be vetted and approved by the communities concerned.

      Amendment 1 Moved: Sam Wainwright (Fremantle) Seconded: Renfrey Clarke (Adelaide)

      Add to point 3:

      “and not extended to Western Australia”

      Amendment 2 Moved: Margarita Windisch (Melbourne West) Seconded: Susan Price (Sydney East)

      Amend point 2 to read:
      “That the Northern Territory Emergency Response legislation be repealed and the Racial Discrimination Act be restored” and become point 1, and point 1 become point 2.

      Amendment 3 Moved: Margarita Windisch (Melbourne West) Seconded: Susan Price (Sydney East)

      Delete point 3.

      Amendment 2 and 3 acceptable to mover

      Amendment 4 Moved: Sam Wainwright (Fremantle) Seconded: Renfrey Clarke (Adelaide)

      Add to amended point 1:

      “and the intervention and welfare quarantining not be extended into other states”;

      Amendment 4 acceptable to mover

      Motion as amended carried unanimously

      Note: The motion as adopted reads:

      Conference demands:

      1. That the Northern Territory Emergency Response legislation be repealed and the Racial Discrimination Act be restored and the intervention and welfare quarantining not be extended into other states
      2. That no community should be considered “too remote to be viable”
      3. That the federal government apply the funding necessary to address the material disadvantage of remote communities with educational, reconstruction and job opportunities
      4. That investment in services in remote communities for ongoing health care needs be implemented
      5. That all plans for reconstruction be vetted and approved by the communities concerned.

      Procedural motion Moved: Conference Committee

      That the resolution on Lex Wotton, arising from the Aboriginal rights struggle workshop, be taken in this session.

      Procedural motion carried unanimously

    3. On Lex Wotton

      Moved: Trent Hawkins (Melbourne West) Seconded: Various

      The murder of Mulrunji Doomadji and the jailing of Lex Wotton and other Palm Islanders for protesting the death in custody reflects the broader racism and injustice towards Aboriginal people in Australia

      Therefore the Socialist Alliance should:

      • Work with other groups to build a public campaign calling for the release of Lex Wotton and overturning of his conviction;
      • Support the call for a new royal commission to investigate the death in custody of Mulrunji on Palm Island, police corruption in the case, and the worsening situation of deaths in custody.

      Motion carried unanimously

      Motion arising. Moved: Paul Benedek(Brisbane Region) Seconded: Various

      That conference carry out a collection to be sent to Lex Wotton’s family.

      Motion carried unanimously

  3. Building the movement for environmental sustainability

    Session presenter: David White (National Environment Coordinator) Chair: Brianna Pike (Sydney Central)
    Cam Walker (Friends of the Earth) addressed conferences on the challenges facing the movement against global warming

    Policies for adoption

    1. On a change to Socialist Alliance greenhouse gas emission reduction targets

      Moved: David White (Brisbane) Seconded: Various

      Conference resolves to change the text of the 2008 edition of the Climate Change Charter to read:

      “To limit the increase to 2° the Socialist Alliance says we should aim for a target of 300-325 parts per million (ppm) of atmospheric carbon dioxide. This target is to be achieved as rapidly as possible through immediate and urgent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions with the aim of achieving zero net emissions and then carbon draw-down.

      “We need mandatory annual emissions reduction targets of at least 5%. We propose immediate economy-wide and sector-by-sector planning for all greenhouse gases, to meet these targets on time or before. We must establish mechanisms to review and change these targets as scientific forecasts are updated.”
      Amendment 1 Moved: Ben Courtice (Melbourne West) Seconded: Ema Corro (Melbourne West)

      Delete:
      To limit the increase to two degrees

      Insert:
      To restrict the increase to no more than two degres and assist in reversing this increase.

      Amendment accept by mover

      Amendment 2 Moved: Renfrey Clarke (Adelaide) Seconded: Kamala Emanuel (Sydney Central)
      There is no additional level of atmospheric greenhouse gases that can be regarded as safe. Even at present levels, Arctic sea ice is rapidly diminishing, threatening widespread melting of permafrost and vast releases of the potent greenhouse gas methane.
      To forestall climate catastrophe, the Socialist Alliance calls for urgent action to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide levels well below those of the present. We need mandatory annual emissions reduction targets of 6% to 8%. Immediate economy-wide and sectoral plans must be developed and given the force of law.
      Per head of population, Australia has the highest greenhouse gas emissions of any industrially developed country.

      Amendment not accepted by mover

      Procedural motion Moved: Jonathan Strauss (Northern Queensland)
      To suspend standing orders to allow a general discussion.

      The procedural motion was lost

      Procedural motion Moved: Paul Benedek (Brisbane District)
      That a committee of David White, Renfrey Clarke, Kamala Emanuel and Ben Courtice meet over lunch to develop a new wording for the two paragraphs under debate.

      The procedural motion was carried

      Note: Foreshadowed amendments not put because of procedural motion:

      1. Amendment to point 1 of 10-point the Socialist Alliance 10-point climate action plan
        Moved: Kamala Emanuel (Sydney Central) Seconded: Alex Bainbridge (Sydney Central)
        Delete:
        Aim for 60% overall emissions reduction, including 95% power station emissions reduction, by 2020, and 90% overall emissions reduction by 2030. Immediate comprehensive planning, including annual targets of 4-5% or more, to meet these targets on time or sooner.
        Insert:
        “Aim for a reduction of carbon dioxide levels to 300-325 ppm to return to a safe climate. Peak carbon reductions by 2010, with comprehensive planning including annual emissions reductions targets of 5% or more to reach zero emissions as soon as possible and begin to draw carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
        Aim for 100% renewables within 10 years.”
      2. Amendment to second paragraph
        Moved: Ben Courtice (Melbourne West) Seconded: Ema Corro (Melbourne West)
        Delete:
        We need mandatory annual emissions reduction targets of at least 5%.
        Insert:
        “Current science indicates that annual emission reductions of at least 5% will be essential.”
    2. Socialist Alliance statement of energy policy framework

      Moved: Renfrey Clarke (Adelaide) Seconded: David White (Brisbane)

      Introduction

      The Socialist Alliance National Executive has not produced a draft energy policy for the 2008 National Conference, pending the imminent release of the Rudd Government White Paper and the current UN climate change negotiations. It proposes that Conference adopt the following energy policy guidelines.

      Core issues for energy policy

      1. The Socialist Alliance’s energy policy builds on the ten point Climate Action Plan contained in our Climate Change Charter.
      2. Given the urgency of the climate crisis, Alliance energy policy must recognise and incorporate the objectives of alternative energy policies and plans such as the “Clean Energy Future” work of Dr Mark Diesendorf and others and “Coal Switch: Halving Victoria’s greenhouse emissions” by the Greenleap Strategic Institute and Beyond Zero Emissions.
      3. The three principal yardsticks that the Socialist Alliance includes in an acceptable alternative energy proposal are:
        1. Do the measures it proposes recognise the urgency of the climate crisis, and the need to reduce atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide to 300-325 parts per million as quickly as possible?
        2. Does it guarantee and maintain employment, living standards and retraining for affected workers and communities?
        3. Is the economic burden of developing national sustainable energy infrastructure shared equitably?
      4. The Socialist Alliance proposes that its energy policy form part of the campaign by climate change scientists, local climate change groups, climate campaign organisations, environmental organisations, trade unions, local councils and community groups to develop an energy policy adequate to the challenge of global warming. The key goal is to develop an integrated alternative energy policy that is broadly understood and supported by working people and the wider community.
      5. A primary purpose of its energy policy is to strengthen the broad climate change movement. In particular, the Alliance commits itself towards encouraging the trade union movement to support and adopt adequate climate change and alternative energy plans.
      6. The core objective is to phase out carbon-intensive energy production as quickly as possible (such as a target of 100% electricity supply from renewables in 10 years). This will not be achieved by even the most successful examples of market-based mechanisms (such as Germany’s feed-in tariff mechanisms for solar energy). The Socialist Alliance therefore calls for the establishment of an energy sustainability transition plan and a national Sustainable Energy Authority to oversee its implementation.

        This authority would:

        • Control and coordinate all energy production, including existing state and private generators, distribution networks and retail energy outlets, and to replace the National Electricity Market;
        • Have the power to establish wholesale and retail energy tariffs, along with generous feed-in tariffs for all users;
        • Oversee a properly funded crash program of phasing out coal-produced electricity. It would—in collaboration with energy scientists, energy workers and their unions, local government and climate campaign groups—decide the best mix of sustainable and renewable energy technologies
        • Develop a plan for the decentralisation of sustainable energy production, after discussion with the same groups and on the basis of trial projects;
        • Implement carbon audits throughout industry, and the impose sanctions for cases of failure to implement world’s-lowest-emissions technology;
        • Oversee a plan for the conversion to sustainability or closing down of the most energy-intensive and polluting industries (coal, aluminium, cement etc), with workers retrained on full pay, and alternative industries established, especially in rural and regional areas;
        • Encourage R and D of innovative proposals to develop renewable energy, and to ensure that scientific and industrial work in renewable energy is not forced offshore but developed to potential in Australia;
        • Oversee a crash program of energy efficiency and demand reduction, in particular extending the work already done by the National Framework for Energy Efficiency in the domestic and commercial sectors to industry, with binding targets set for demand reduction and building stock energy efficiency refits;
        • Oversee the removal of subsidies for fossil fuels and energy wastage.
      7. Financing energy sustainability

      8. The Socialist Alliance, in line with the “polluter pays” principle and in order to defend the living standards of working people and people on welfare, adopts the following approach to financing the transition to energy sustainability:
        • A shift in budget priorities away from war (“defence”) expenditure, and subsidies to polluting industries;
        • A sharp increase in taxation of polluting industries if they do not meet pollution reduction targets;
        • A general increase in tax rates on the wealthy and in company tax rates (see 2004 election manifesto).
      9. The Socialist Alliance rejects carbon trading and the “cap-and-trade” model as they are incapable of reducing carbon emission levels adequately, socially inequitable within countries and between the First and Third Worlds, and open to massive abuses.
      10. Projections

      11. The National Environment Committee shall investigate, via a discussion involving all interested members and carried in Alliance Voices and on our wiki site, whether the Socialist Alliance should support a carbon tax and, if so, to propose a specific formula for consideration by the incoming National Executive.
      12. The National Environment Committee shall adopt the same approach in developing a draft Socialist Alliance position on carbon rationing, for consideration by the incoming National Executive.
      13. The National Environment Committee shall further develop and refine the policy points adopted in this statement, with a view to the incoming National Executive adopting a comprehensive energy policy, especially in the light of the forthcoming Canberra Climate Change Summit.
      14. Motion carried unanimously

    3. On water (policy from the 2007 federal election)

      Moved: Ben Courtice (Melbourne West) Seconded: Chris Johnson (Geelong)

      The Problem

      The current drought, exacerbated by global warming, has shown that current levels of water use are completely unsustainable in Australia, the world’s driest inhabited continent. Excessive water use, especially by heavy industry and water-intensive agribusiness, is causing irreparable damage to our fragile ecosystems and creating chronic water shortages. Conventional free-market economics aims to solve this problem by putting a price on water and allowing it to be traded by those who can afford to purchase it.

      This approach allows governments to ignore the real challenge of conserving water properly and rationing its use according to need. Trading in water encourages speculation and the most profitable rather than the most sustainable and socially just uses. It leads to poor farming practices and increased prices for residential use.

      The National Water Initiative has this approach. It is also insufficiently funded to achieve the wholesale conversion of water infrastructure and reduction in water demand that the ecosystems along the Murray-Darling basin need to recover.

      Our Solution

      A serious water conservation policy has to target the big industrial and agricultural water users. Currently the lack of water conservation by industry and agribusiness means that the efforts of householders to conserve water are being wasted.

      The Socialist Alliance says that water is not simply a commodity or an input into industry and agriculture but is the central element of our ecosystems. Instead of market-based approaches we advocate an all-round plan for water sustainability based on a thorough scientific assessment of rivers, wetlands and water tables.

      The knowledge of Indigenous communities is an essential part of making that assessment and developing sound proposals for water conservation.

      In the country, measures to preserve normal water flows in rivers and wetlands and implement low-input sustainable farming practices are essential. In the cities, we need to reduce water waste and start harvesting storm water and recycling waste water.

      There is enough water for everyone if comprehensive conservation measures are adopted and its use is allocated fairly. Such an approach will also remove the need to build further large, environmentally damaging, dams. To achieve the goal of water sustainability, public ownership and democratic, accountable management of water resources is essential. Unless the water supply is publicly owned, the profit motive will always disrupt scientifically based water conservation measures.

      No privatisation of water

      No privatisation of water and water infrastructure (dams, water pipelines, pumping stations). Where these have already been privatised, they should be returned to public ownership

      • No public-private partnerships for water projects. All water projects to be 100% in public hands.
      • No water trading
      • Establish water allocations for each catchment and region based on the assessed needs (scientific, environmental, agricultural/industrial, domestic) of that area
      • No trading of water “rights” for speculative purposes
      • End schemes for trading between regions, such as the pipeline being built to Melbourne from the Goulburn Valley

      Create an all-round water conservation plan

      1. In the country
        • Build irrigation pipelines to save water evaporating in open-channel irrigation areas
        • Promote and fund conversion to drip irrigation wherever practicable
        • Reduce water extraction rates from groundwater systems until depletion ceases
        • Stop land clearing and logging in important water catchments to preserve water quality. Increase funding to land-clearing prevention services
        • Implement plans to restore water catchment areas and halt the damage done by land clearing, erosion and mining
        • Prioritise the replanting of native vegetation in damaged catchment areas
        • Fund education and appropriate assistance for farming communities to move to lower water-use crops and farming practices
        • Phase out water-intensive monoculture crops in climatic regions that remain unsustainable
      2. In urban areas
        • Improve urban water conservation by providing grants to subsidise installation of water tanks, grey water systems, and dry composting toilets
        • Recycle water for appropriate industrial and outdoor use
        • Enforce conservation measures on industrial and commercial water users
        • Require sustainable water use planning for all new industrial, commercial and agricultural developments
        • Establish comprehensive water efficiency standards for appliances
      3. Desalination
        • Use desalination, which consumes vast amounts of energy, only as a last resort
        • Oppose the building of desalination plants unless they use renewable energy and brine discharge is avoided (for example by producing commercial salt instead of waste brine)
        • Restore adequate river flows

        • Establish adequate, scientifically based, flow targets for all river systems
        • Use the water made available by conservation measures to restore flow levels in rivers and wetlands to a level sufficient to sustain the river ecosystem in its natural state or as close as can be scientifically determined
        • Buy back water allocations to increase flows further if conservation measures are insufficient. If necessary increase funding for buying back water allocations
        • Fully protect the rivers of northern Australia in order to prevent a recurrence of the Murray-Darling disaster
        • Full support to affected communities
        • Provide financial assistance for transition, including relocation and retraining, to regional communities where farming and other activity is stopped or severely curtailed by water conservation measures and/or ongoing drought and climate change
        • Assist rural communities to establish sustainable farming practices to maintain national food supply
        • Increase funding to Landcare to provide permanent employment for farmers displaced by water conservation measures and climate change

        Amendment 1 Moved: Ben Courtice (Melbourne West) Seconded: Delegates participating in water policy workshop

        Delete:
        providing grants to subsidise installation of

        Insert:
        “free programs to instal”

        Amendment accepted by mover

        Amendment 2. Moved: Ben Courtice (Melbourne West) Seconded: Delegates participating in water policy workshop

        Delete:
        Recycle water for appropriate industrial and outdoor use

        Insert:
        “Mandate the use of recycled water for appropriate industrial and outdoor use”

        Amendment accepted by mover

        Motion as amended carried unanimously

        Procedural motion (Conference committee)
        To take the motion on our environment work arising from the workshop at this point on the agenda

        Procedural motion carried unanimously

    4. On Socialist Alliance work in the environmental movement

      Moved: Susan Price (Sydney East) Seconded: Kamala Emanuel (Sydney Central)

      1. Socialist Alliance will defend communities resisting the exploration by mining interests for fossil fuels and uranium on their land.
      2. Socialist Alliance recognises that the climate action movement is made up of workers, communities, climate action groups and more.
      3. Socialist Alliance aims to build the movement by bringing together these sectors through campaign initiatives, action, film screenings and conferences.
      4. Socialist Alliance encourages its members to set up union or workplace climate action groups that can feed into local, state and national climate action networks and structures.

      Motion carried unanimously

  4. Strengthening ties with the migrant left

    Chair: Pip Hinman

    Conference heard from Soubhi Iskander (Communist Party of Sudan, Socialist Alliance), Dr Brian Senewiratne (Fighter for Tamil rights, Socialist Alliance), Oscar Fuentes (Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front), Turan Ertekin (Party of Labour, Turkey, Socialist Alliance)

    Policies for adoption

    1. On the Application for Affiliation by the Sudanese Australian Human Rights Association

      Moved: Graham Mathews (Sydney West) Seconded: Various

      Conference welcomes and approves the affiliation application of the Sudanese Australian Human Rights Association and looks forward to advancing collaboration with the SHRA and building closer ties of solidarity with the Sudanese community in Australia.

      Motion carried unanimously

    2. On the Tamil question

      Moved: Brian Senewiratne (Brisbane Region) Seconded: Paul Benedek (Brisbane Region)

      The Socialist Alliance demands:
      That the Sri Lankan government stops the bombing, shelling and all military operations against the Tamil minority, and starts political negotiations based on the right to self-determination of the Tamils.

      We also demand the Australian government:

      1. Call on the Sri Lankan government to enter such negotiations
      2. Take immediate action to enable those in Australia who want to assist the beleaguered Tamil and muslim civilians in the north and east of Sri Lanka to be able to do so without threat of facing “anti-terror” charges.
      3. Take immediate action to drop the “anti-terror” charges against Australian Tamil activists who assisted Tamils in Sri Lanka.
      4. Accepts Tamils fleeing brutality as refugees.

      Motion carried unanimously

    Motions held over from previous sessions

    On Palestine

    The mover proposed the following rewording of first paragraph, which was incorporated into the resolution as amended:
    “The Socialist Alliance condemns the ethnic cleansing of Palestine by the state of Israel. This oppression takes different forms—the occupation of the Palestinian Territories, the siege of Gaza, the breaking up of the West Bank into isolated ghettos, systematic violence and discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel or exile as refugees.”
    The resolution as amended read:
    “The Socialist Alliance condemns the ethnic cleansing of Palestine by the state of Israel. This oppression takes different forms—the occupation of the Palestinian Territories, the siege of Gaza, the breaking up of the West Bank into isolated ghettos, systematic violence and discrimination against Palestinian citizens of Israel or exile as refugees.
    That the Socialist Alliance supports:

    Palestinian right to self determination.
    Israeli withdrawal from the Occupied Territories.
    Equal civil and democratic rights for all inhabitants of Historic Palestine.
    Right of return for Palestinian refugees.
    An end to Israeli aggression against other countries in the region.
    An end to the restriction of movement of people and supplies (including medical supplies) around Palestine and between Palestine and Israel.

    The Socialist Alliance recognises the essential role that international (including Australian) imperialism plays in supporting the Israeli system of Apartheid and Occupation through massive political, economic and military aid. Therefore the Socialist Alliance supports the International campaign for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions of Israeli Apartheid.”

    Motion as amended carried with one against

    On a change to Socialist Alliance greenhouse gas emission reduction targets

    Moved: Committee of David White, Kamala Emanuel, Ben Courtice and Renfrey Clarke

    Conference resolves to change the text of the 2008 edition of the Climate Change Charter to read:

    “For a safe climate the Socialist Alliance says we should aim for a target of 300-325 ppm of atmospheric carbon dioxide. This target is to be achieved as rapidly as possible through immediate and urgent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions with the aim of achieving zero net emissions and then carbon draw-down.

    Current science indicates that annual emissions reductions of at least 5% will be essential. We propose immediate economy-wide and sector-by-sector planning for all greenhouse gases, to meet these targets on time or before. We must establish mechanisms to review and change these targets as scientific forecasts are updated.”

    Motion as amended carried unanimously

    Building the Socialist Alliance workshops

    • Branch-building (presentations from Illawarra, Hobart, Sydney West and Geelong)
    • Election campaigning
    • Using the web site, blogs etc
    • Strengthening Socialist Alliance-Green Left Weekly collaboration
  5. Building the Socialist Alliance in 2009

    Chair: Rachel Evans

    Policies for adoption

    1. Resolutions from workshops
      1. On Socialist Alliance media reform elist

        Moved: Stuart Harrison (Geelong) Seconded: Various

        This conference calls on the Socialist Alliance National Executive to authorise the creation of a “Media Reform” e-list
        Motion carried unanimously

      2. On mandatory internet filtering

        Moved: Dave Riley (National Executive) Seconded: Various

        Socialist Alliance condemns the Australian government’s intention to introduce mandatory internet filtering.

        This policy was initiated by the Howard government and is being continued by the ALP despite their opposition to it during the election.

        According to this policy, all web traffic into Australia will be checked against a secret blacklist of banned sites

        This policy fails the basic test of freedom of information and is also technically impossible to implement.

        Socialist Alliance supports the nationwide protests on Dec 13 against mandatory internet filters.

        Motion carried unanimously

      3. On Green Left Weekly journalism guide

        Moved: Tim Gooden (Geelong) Seconded: Various

        This conference calls on the Green Left Weekly board/office/staff to modernise and relaunch the Green Left Weekly journalism guide and request all Socialist Alliance branch leaderships to hold “Green Left Weekly as an activist tool” workshops/classes during 2009/2010 with a view to skilling up and involving more Socialist Alliance members in ther Green Left Weekly project.

        Motion carried unanimously

    2. Resolution on booklet on socialism

      Moved: Paul Benedek (Brisbane region) Seconded: (Dick Nichols, National Executive)

      For some time now - dating back at least to our 2003 national conference - we’ve recognised the need for the Socialist Alliance to produce our own “lively and compelling case for socialism”, in the form of a book or pamphlet that outlines the case for socialism.

      Up until now, we still haven’t produced such a document. We have, of course, produced many excellent policy documents—from the Climate Change charter to heaps of material on fighting unions, to Indigenous rights documents, a welfare charter and much more.

      However, a serious gap remains in Socialist Alliance’s “political armoury”—a concise, easily accessible document that outlines Socialist Alliance’s case for socialism as the only rational future for people and planet. The Socialist Alliance continues to develop as an impressive activist organisation, known for our tenacious work in all manner of movements for justice - yet for the many people who come around and ask “what are you about, what is socialism?”, we tend to be lacking in explanatory materials - beyond giving them a range of charters and leaflets.

      The fact that we haven’t yet produced such a document on socialism probably is a further indication of our limited resources at a national level, and that we all have to collectively work to take more of the load of SA, and see national projects - such as producing a booklet on socialism - as our responsibility, not someone else’s.

      With this in mind, and having heard from both Gold Coast and Brisbane Socialist Alliance comrades a strong interest in such a booklet, I would like to propose a resolution to conference, for which I’m prepared to play a coordinating role:

      That conference establishes a writing team of comrades interested in producing a “Booklet on socialism” (I would be willing to coordinated such a team).

      • The goal of such a team would be to produce a concise booklet (not a book) that gives a lively and compelling case for socialism. The goal would be to produced the booklet in the first part of 2009.
      • [An additional benefit of the production of a concise booklet on socialism is that we may be able to include it as part of joining Socialist Alliance - similar to how Resistance gives new members the ‘What Resistance Stands For’ magazine]
      • That the writing team seek to involve branches and Socialist Alliance members as much as possible in discussing the content etc of such a booklet
      • That the writing team report to the SA National Executive, with the NE empowered to adopt the final version of the booklet and oversee its production.

      Motion carried unanimously

    3. On a Socialist Alliance recruiting leaflet

      Moved: Graham Matthews (Sydney West) Saeconded: Gregory Rowell (Sydney West)

      Conference resolves:

      That Socialist Alliance draft a brief (no more than one A4 page) description of what Socialist Alliance stands for, to be given to those interested in finding out more/joining the Socialist Alliance. That the leaflet be generally in dot point form, illustrating the main points of Socialist Alliance policy.

      That the Socialist Alliance policy leaflet be translated into as many community languages as practical and be made available to branches for use on stalls as a recruiting tool.

      Motion carried unanimously

    4. Socialist Alliance National Treasurer’s Report (December 2008)

      Moved: Dick Nichols (National Executive) Seconded: Various

      That conference adopts the National Treasurer’s report and income and expenditure statement for 2006-2008 (i.e., since the Fifth National Conference)

      Motion carried unanimously

    5. Minutes of the Fifth National Conference

      Moved: Dick Nichols (National Executive) Seconded: Various

      That Conference endorses the minutes of the Fifth National Conference

      Motion carried unanimously

    6. Amendments to the Socialist Alliance national constitution
      1. Expanding the basis for Socialist Alliance branches

        Moved: Dick Nichols (National Executive) Seconded: Various

        Insert the following new sentence at the end of 8.1:
        “The National Executive may charter branches on a non-geographical basis where this helps the organisation of members.”

        So that 8.1 would read:
        “8.1 The basic unit of the Socialist Alliance is the local branch. A branch shall have at least seven members. Each new branch must be ratified by the National Executive taking into account the location of other branches, including in relation to federal and state electoral work. All Alliance members will be assigned to a branch by the appropriate district organising committee (see below) or, in the case of remote regions, by the National Executive. Members will normally live in the area covered by their branch, but alternatively may indicate the branch in which they will be active to the district organising committee or National Executive. The National Executive may charter branches on a non-geographical basis where this helps the organisation of members.”

        Motion carried unanimously

      2. Amendments to the Socialist Alliance national constitution

        Moved: David White (Brisbane) Seconded: Chris Johnson (Geelong)

        (Note: Existing text of the Constitution is in italic. Amendments proposed are in bold italic.)

        1. Delete present 6.3
          National Conference shall elect a National Executive.
          and renumber accordingly
          Motion carried unanimously
        2. Replace present 6.5
          6.5 The National Conference shall elect a National Coordinator, National Trade Union and Anti-war Committee Conveners, a Socialist Alliance-Green Left Weekly Editorial Board Convener and the National Website Manager.
          with
          The National Conference shall elect a National Coordinator, a Deputy National Coordinator, National Trade Union Coordinator, National Environment Coordinator, National Anti-war Committee Convenor, National IT Manager, and a National Indigenous Policy Coordinator
          Amendment by David White to amendment ii (changed text underlined, deleted text struckthrough)
          The National Conference shall elect a National Coordinator, two Deputy National Coordinators, National Trade Union Coordinator, National Environment Coordinator, and National Anti-war Committee Convenor. and National IT Manager, and a National Indigenous Policy Coordinator.

          Amendment lost (1 For, 2 Abstentions)

        3. Replace present 6.6

          6.6 The National Executive shall be composed of:

          1. The National Coordinator, National Trade Union and Anti-war Committee Conveners, the Socialist Alliance-Green Left Weekly Editorial Board Convener, and the National Website Manager; and
          2. 12 state representatives composed of 3 from NSW, 2 each from Victoria and Queensland and 1 each from the other states and territories, those representatives to be selected by the relevant state executive or state committee.

          with

          The National Executive shall be composed of:

          1. The National Coordinator, Deputy National Coordinators, National Trade Union Coordinator, Anti-war Committee Conveners, National Environment Coordinator, the Socialist Alliance-Green Left Weekly Editorial Board Convener, the National IT Manager; a National Indigenous Policy Coordinator, and the National Treasurer, and
          2. 12 state representatives composed of 3 from NSW, 2 each from Victoria and Queensland and 1 each from the other states and territories, those representatives to be selected by the relevant state executive or state committee.

          Amendment by David White to amendment iii (changed text underlined, deleted text struckthrough)

          The National Executive shall be composed of:

          1. The National Coordinator, Deputy National Coordinators, National Trade Union Coordinator, Anti-war Committee Convener, National Environment Coordinator, the Socialist Alliance-Green Left Weekly Editorial Board Convener, the National IT Manager; a National Indigenous Policy Coordinator, and the National Treasurer, and
          2. 12 state representatives composed of 3 from NSW, 2 each from Victoria and Queensland and 1 each from the other states and territories, those representatives to be selected by the relevant state executive or state committee.

          Amendment lost

          Amendment lost (4 For, 4 Abstentions)

        4. Delete present 6.7.
          The National Executive shall elect a National Treasurer and further national sub-committees as required.
          And transfer to amended Clause 7.3 and 7.5 (see below)

          Amendment carried unanimously

        5. Replace present 7.3.
          National Treasurer shall be appointed by the incoming National Executive after each National Conference.
          with
          The National Executive shall elect a National Treasurer, a Socialist Alliance-Green Left Weekly Editorial Board Convener, and a National Media Coordinator after each National Conference.

          Amendment lost (4 For, 4 Abstentions)

        6. Replace present 7.5.
          The National Executive shall meet, in face or by phone, at least every two months. It shall coordinate election campaigns nationally and shall allocate specific national tasks such as media liaison and the development of draft policy documents in specific areas.
          with
          The National Executive shall meet formally at least every two months. It shall establish new national sub-committees as required, coordinate election campaigns nationally, and shall allocate specific national tasks such as media liaison and the development of draft policy documents in specific areas
          Amendment carried unanimously
      3. Amendments to the Socialist Alliance national constitution

        Moved: Dick Nichols (National Executive)

        1. Amend 6.2 to delete the words
          (or in the case of the inaugural National Conference, the National Liaison Committee).
          So that 6.2 as amended would then read:
          Delegate ratios shall be decided by the National Executive after consultation with local branches and statewide bodies.]
          Amendment carried unanimously
        2. Delete existing 6.5 and replace with:
          The National Conference shall elect the National Officeholders. The National Officeholders to be elected by the Sixth National Conference shall be:
          1. Three National Conveners
          2. The National Trade Union Coordinator
          3. The National Environment Coordinator
          4. The National Arabic-speaking Communities Liaison Coordinator
          5. Amendment carried with 3 abstentions
        3. Delete existing 6.6 and replace with:
          The National Executive shall be composed of:
          • The National Officeholders

          Dot point carried unanimously

          • One representative per affiliate organisation that chooses to exercise the right of representation on the National Executive

          Dot point carried with 3 abstentions

          • State and Territory representatives. From the Sixth National Conference the State and Territory representatives shall be Queensland 3, New South Wales 4, Victoria 2 and 1 each from the other States and Territories, those representatives to be selected by the relevant state executive or state committee

          Amendments to dot point
          Moved: Jonathan Strauss (Northern Queensland) Seconded: Tony Iltis (Sydney Central)

          Delete:
          From the Sixth National Conference the State and Territory representatives shall be Queensland 3, New South Wales 4, Victoria 2 and 1 each from the other states and territories, those representatives to be selected by the relevant state executive or state committee

          Insert:
          These shall be 3 from NSW, 2 from Queensland and Victoria and 1 each from the other states and territories, those representatives to be selected by the relevant state executive or state committee.

          Amendment lost (3 For, 1 Abstention)

          Add at end of 6.6:
          A State Executive or State Comittee may also select a further representative with voice only, if it has a branch outside the state’s metropolitan centre, to ensure this is reflected.

          Amendment lost (10 For, 15 Against, 2 Abstentions)

          Dot point carried with 1 Abstention

    7. On changing Socialist Alliance membership fees

      Motion A

      Moved: David White (Brisbane) Seconded: Various

      That conferenceadopt the following new dues structure for the Socialist Alliance

      Dues
      Current Proposed
      $ $
      School student 6 scale deleted
      Concessional 12 18
      Ordinary 24 36
      Solidarity 60 90

      Proposed voluntary member solidarity support payments
      There are three levels of general support, the level to be chosen by members themselves based on their ability to pay.

      Per month* Per annum
      $ $
      Level 1 6.50 78
      Level 2 13 156
      Level 3 19.50 234

      Motion B

      Moved: Dick Nichols (National Executive) Seconded: Various

      That conference adopt the following new dues structure for the Socialist Alliance
      School students $5
      Welfare/low waged $15
      Waged $30
      High waged $60
      Solidarity $100

      Procedural motion. Moved: Dick Nichols (National Executive)
      That the two proposals be discussed together

      Procedural motion carried unanimously

      Amendment to Proposition a. Moved: Ben Courtice Seconded Tim Dobson
      That the High School dues rate not be deleted from the scale
      Amendment not acceptable to the mover

      Amendment lost, (3 For, 12 Against, 3 Abstentions)

      Amendment to Proposition B. Moved: Kiraz Janicke (Sydney West) Seconded Various
      That a generic sustainer category be included at the end of the new dues scale proposed
      Amendment acceptable to the mover

      Motion A as amended was lost with 3 For and 1 Abstention
      Motion B as amended was carried with 1 Against and 1 Abstention

  6. Election of national officeholders and spokespeople

    Chair: Lisa Macdonald

    Motions for adoption

    1. On National Spokespeople

      Moved: Dick Nichols (National Executive) Seconded: Various

      Conference resolves that the Socialist Alliance shall have two National Spokespersons in the coming period:

      1. National Indigenous Rights Spokesperson
      2. National Anti-War and Civil Liberties Spokesperson

      Motion carried unanimously

    2. Special motion of thanks to Geelong Conference Organising Committee.

      Moved: Dick Nichols (National Executive)
      Carried by acclamation

    3. Results of elections
      National Co-conveners

      Nominated
      Margarita Windisch
      David White
      Dick Nichols
      Bea Bleile
      Duroyan Fertl

      David White and Duroyan Fertl declined nomination

      Margarita Windisch, Bea Bleile and Dick Nichols declared elected

      National Trade Union Coordinator

      Nominated
      Jim McIlroy
      Jim McIlroy declared elected

      National Environment Coordinator

      Nominated
      David White
      David White declared elected

      National Arabic-Speaking Communities Liaison Coordinator

      Nominated
      Soubhi Iskander
      Soubhi Iskander declared elected

      National Indiegnous Rights Spokesperson

      Nominated
      Sam Watson
      Sam Watson declared elected

      National Anti-war and Civil Liberties Spokesperson

      Nominated
      Pip Hinman
      Pip Hinman declared elected

The Conference concluded at 7.30pm with the singing of the Internationale