The slightly amended version of our Policy on Australia's role in the region is not meant to be — in any way — a final product. On the contrary, it is a starting point - a jump-start. Like far too much of our policy, the wording of this policy is out of date (even if much of the content is OK), still referring to the Howard government in the present tense.
I suggest we adopt the amended version below (or — better yet — a subsequent version amended at conference), and I encourage comrades interested to continue to work on the policy throughout the year so that we can adopt a fuller version at our next conference. (The National Executive can also adopt an updated interim version at any point in the year, if it becomes necessary).
Australia's role in the region
In recent years, the Australian government has used the pretext of the “war on terror” and the danger of “failed states” to aggressively assert and extend its imperialist domination of the region. Australia is the economic and military giant of the region, responsible for:
- Turning East Timor into a virtual colony for Australian business interests while denying its government and people their fair share of the Timor Sea oil;
- Sending troops and senior public servants to take control of the Solomons;
- Attempting to do the same in Papua New Guinea;
- Using PNG and Nauru (and trying o use Malaysia) as dumping grounds for asylum-seekers; and
- Supporting the Indonesian government's campaign to frustrate the national liberation movements in Papua and Aceh.
The Socialist Alliance:
- Opposes Australian imperialism in the region and elsewhere;
- Calls for the abolition of Australian debts incurred by poor nations in the South Pacific and south-east Asia;
- Advocates the extension of aid programs under the democratic control of the local population;
- Supports the recognition of maritime boundaries in the Timor Sea in accordance with international law which would favour the East Timorese claim over the Timor Gap seabed;
- Stands in solidarity with genuine national liberation movements and trade unions in the region;
- Calls for the extension of Australian citizenship to Pacific islanders displaced by global warming; and
- Calls for the withdrawal of Australian troops from countries in the region.