At our last national conference, we resolved to establish a policy committee to review our existing policy, to draft new policy and to proposed amendments to existing policy where required. We also resolved to create a 'pocket edition' of our policy and a new policy template.
Since the conference it has not been possible to conduct the policy revision we envisaged. Rather, we have focussed attention on updating our policy positions within the context of drafting our federal election platform.
However, this is not enough. We need to make our general policies more accessible and keep them more up to date.
While our organic approach to developing policy since 2001 has been useful, it has its limits: some policies are overly proscriptive and detailed and we have lacked a consistent approach to drafting policy.
We want to encourage members to make new policy proposals and suggest amendments to existing policy. But we also want to suggest a new approach.
First, policies need to be succinct and give an idea of the direction and political arguments.
Second, while there is often a need for introductory paragraphs, these need to be brief and written and presented so that they do not date the policy document.
At the upcoming national conference, the National Executive will be motivating that delegates vote on the policy points but not the introductory remarks. This way we will avoid unnecessary debates over wording or sub-editing, while encouraging debate over political content and direction.
In the lead-up to conference we are conducting a revision of policies developed since 2001, to identify policy gaps and whether some of our existing policy should be abbreviated or amended; retired and archived.
We are calling for new policy to be drafted to fill the gaps. To date, new policy is being drafted on topics including:
The banking industry
Policy amendments are also being drafted around:
Defence of 18C of the Race Discrimination Act;
Voluntary euthanasia and assisted dying
Agriculture and water
Following a meeting of the National Executive on November 18, the NE is recommending that conference vote on new policy, substantive amendments to existing policy and on policy to be retired/archived.
The NE also decided that the policies which can be updated and abbreviated (eg. bringing background wording up to date, or editing for word length without making substantive changes) should be done as soon as possible, and to regroup our policies around the five principles which exemplify our vision of socialism:
Solidarity & cooperation, not dog-eat-dog competition
Environmental sustainability and ecosocialism, not degredation and destruction that hits the poor the worst
Participatory democracy, where people and community make decisions directly
A social & democratic economy, where people's needs come before corporate profits
True equality between peoples, nations, religions, genders and sexualities
Below is the suggested framework and wording for the revamped policy webpage.
This page incorporates policy developed, and amended, since the party was formed in 2001. It also contains our election platforms.
These policies have been developed by Socialist Alliance members. They are reviewed and added to at each national conference — the party’s highest decision making body — or by a special policy conference.
They are grouped according to the values of the Socialist Alliance to best explain our orientation to the social, labour and ecological movements. We believe that only by strengthening these movements will the 99% be in a better position to force an equitable and ecological society which meets our needs.
The socialism we support is based on the following five principles. Our policy positions are grouped underneath these.