Socialist Alliance 2010 NSW State Conference

Socialist Alliance 2010 NSW State Conference

The following decisions were adopted at the November 7, 2010, NSW Socialist Alliance state conference.

1. Election of NSW Legislative Council (LC) ticket

Leadership team: A leadership team of 6 members was elected to head the Socialist Alliance Legislative Council ticket. The leadership team will be the LC candidates that we profile most strongly in SA campaign material and consists of: Peter Boyle (Sydney Central); Jess Moore (Illawarra); Rachel Evans (Sydney West); Susan Price (Sydney East); Simon Cunich (Newcastle); Simon Butler (Sydney Central).

A further 10 members were elected on to the LC ticket (taking to 16 the number of candidates on the ticket) and are: Patrick Harrison (Illawarra); Stefan Skibicki (Illawarra); John Coleman (Sydney West); Terry Townsend (Sydney West); Brianna Pike (Sydney Central); Jill Hickson (Sydney Central); Fred Fuentes (Sydney Central); Steve O'Brien (Newcastle); Duroyan Fertl (Sydney Central); Kate Ausburn (Sydney Central).

The conference empowered the State Executive to:

  1. Include other candidates up to 21 positions (as a starting point, the conference called on the State Executive to follow up and consider: Nick Sudakoff (Northern Rivers); John Gauci (Sydney Central); Bea Bleile (New England); Howard Byrne (Sydney Central); Aaron Roden (Sydney Central); Lisa Macdonald (Sydney West); Chris Williams (Illawarra); Kiraz Janicke (Sydney Central).
  2. Invite other left organisations or individuals to be part of the ticket, as a demonstration of our left unity perspective.
  3. Determine the final ordering of the ticket.

2. Election of NSW Office bearers

The following NSW Socialist Alliance state office bearers were elected at the conference:

  • NSW Co-conveners (2): Chris Williams; Paul Benedek
  • NSW Treasurer: Trish Corcoran
  • NSW Membership Secretary: Merrilyn Treasure
  • NSW Registered officer: Duroyan Fertl; NSW Deputy registered officer: Peter Boyle
  • NSW representatives to the Socialist Alliance National Executive (4): Paul Benedek (Sydney Central); Chris Williams (Illawarra); Rachel Evans (Sydney West); Steve O'Brien (Newcastle).

3. Policy and motions adopted

The following motions were adopted unanimously by the conference:

NSW 2011 state election campaign

  1. Campaign slogan: “NSW: not for sale! Community need not corporate greed”.
  2. Complete state election candidate selection and begin promoting them as soon as possible.
  3. Draft a concise election platform by the Saturday, January, 29, 2011, open State Committee meeting on policy (for all NSW branch leaderships and all other interested NSW Socialist Alliance members to finalise the NSW election platform).
  4. Publish, distribute and speak to the platform.
  5. NSW branches financial contribution to the Legislative Council ticket.

That the following seven branches aim to contribute a minimum of $500 to the state election Legislative Council campaign (candidate nominations for the Legislative Council ticket will cost $5000): Sydney Central, Sydney East, Sydney West, Newcastle, New England, Northern Rivers, Illawarra.

  1. SA members’ donations to the 2011 NSW state election campaign: To launch a NSW-wide “$100 club” to encourage SA members and supporters to donate $100 (or what they can afford) to the SA election campaign.

Socialist Alliance organisation

In light of both the changes that have taken place in Socialist Alliance over the last period (including the dissolution of the DSP and consequent changes to party organisation) and the global crisis of capitalism, it is timely and urgent that matters of party organisation be reviewed, analysed and re-assessed.

Socialist Alliance NSW calls on the National Council to prepare a report and recommendation on party organisation for debate at the next Socialist Alliance National Conference

Bill of Rights

That Socialist Alliance NSW support the call for a state-based Bill of Rights, and will develop a position on it.

Prison privatisation

Socialist Alliance NSW reaffirms its opposition to prison privatisation.

Black deaths in custody

Socialist Alliance NSW reaffirms its support for real justice in the campaign against black deaths in custody, and the campaign for justice for TJ Hickey in particular.


Socialist Alliance NSW expresses its opposition to the $3.1 million allocated in the last state budget to rolling out tasers to police offices across the state; and will help organise protests in the event of future taser-related deaths.

Coal-seam gas mining

Socialist Alliance NSW opposes coal-seam gas mining (fracking).

Renewable energy investment & Aboriginal justice

Socialist Alliance NSW calls upon the NSW government to directly invest in a large solar thermal plant (with heat storage) or plants, and in a major wind farm or wind farms, as a first step in transitioning from coal to 100% renewable generation.

This would be consistent with a national project to build a 100% renewable grid by 2020 (which will necessarily have plants in multiple states linked by a common grid).

The Socialist Alliance will seek to identify communities that are interested in hosting wind and solar thermal plants and in particular will seek to identify locations in which the First Nation Aboriginal owners may be interested in hosting such plants and if so what conditions they would place on the construction operation and ownership model of such plants.

Socialist Alliance wishes to emphasis our explicit interest in seeing that the oppression and dispossession of Aboriginal Australians is bought to an end at the same time as fossil fuel use is bought to an end.

International Women’s Day

Socialist Alliance NSW resolves to build as large as possible International Women’s Day rallies in 2011, and have strong Socialist Alliance contingents wherever possible.

Newcastle transport

Socialist Alliance NSW calls upon the NSW government to guarantee the retention of the Newcastle rail line.

Socialist Alliance calls upon the NSW government to build level pedestrian crossings at Steel Street and Worth Place immediately.

Socialist Alliance NSW also calls upon the NSW government to invest in a Glendale transit interchange and in better integration of bus, cycle and “park and ride” facilities to better utilise the heavy rail service.

Tillegra Dam

Socialist Alliance NSW calls upon the NSW government and Hunter Water to abandon the expensive and unnecessary Tillegra dam project.

Independent studies have shown that the dam is not needed to secure the region’s water supplies; existing reservoirs are adequate and further recycling, stormwater harvesting and domestic rainwater collection represent a better way to spend upwards of $500 million.

Moreover, the dam is opposed by landowners, fisher-folk and ratepayers, and would have a damaging impact on the Williams River and associated RAMSAR-listed wetlands.

Socialist Alliance NSW opposes the project on practical and ecological grounds and will continue to support those campaigning against the project.

New coal and gas

Socialist Alliance NSW calls upon the NSW government to place a moratorium on any new coal or gas projects in NSW including all mines, gas wells, power stations and associated infrastructure and subsidies.

Socialist Alliance NSW calls for direct government investment in alternative industries (particularly in renewable generator manufacturing) to be established in coal reliant communities to allow for a “just transition” away from reliance of the coal industry.

4. Draft Policy Tabled

The following motions were tabled for discussion and decision at the January 29, 2011, open State Committee on policy and platform.

Draft Policy: Religious Freedom in a Secular Society

The Socialist Alliance welcomes members from all religious traditions, and does not discriminate against its members on the basis of their religious beliefs.

The Socialist Alliance is committed to building a free, secular society in which private religious beliefs are neither supported nor condemned by the state, and in which all forms of discrimination against religious people is illegal.

So, in government, the Socialist Alliance will:

  • Legislate for the freedom of all individuals to practice their religion in peace and safety, to assemble for the purpose of religious practice, and to raise their children in whatever religion they choose;
  • Oppose all bans on religious apparel, such as priestly uniforms, habits, veils, (including the burqa and the niqab etc.), headscarfs (including the hijab), religious jewelry, and religious literature, scriptures, tracts and devotional books;
  • Expect religious organisations, who enjoy protection from discrimination, to be non-descriminatory in their own practices. Therefore, we will remove the blanket exemption for religious organisations and schools provided by the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act 1977, and any other exemptions allowing religious groups to discriminate against women, racial minorities and/or gender and sexual minorities;
  • Remove any tax breaks or legal loopholes allowing clergy and religious workers to pay less tax that other workers, or to receive tax-free fringe benefits, because of their clergy status;
  • Support a universal, free, public and secular education which promotes freedom of though, healthy personal development, and a scientific understanding of the world;
  • Withdraw all government funding from private or religious schools.

Draft Policy: Gas exploration

With regard to offshore gas exploration in NSW, Socialist Alliance demands and will campaign for:

  • A moratorium on offshore exploration and extraction of fossil fuels;
  • Regulatory overhaul of the offshore gas and petroleum industry;
  • Comprehensive environmental impact assessments and monitoring;
  • A “polluters pays” statutory liability regime for offshore gas and petroleum activities;
  • Suspension of areas recently opened for exploration, specifically the Sydney Basin offshore region until the regional marine planning process is completed;
  • A network of marine sanctuaries.

5. Proposed areas for policy development

The NSW State Conference resolved to update/develop policy in the following areas in preparation for the Saturday, January 29, 2011, open State Committee on policy:

Stationary energy: Update state policy regarding stationary energy and climate change in line with national policy.

Part 3A: Develop policy in opposition to Part 3A (Planning Legislation in NSW).

Construction and building industry: Develop policy on the construction and building industry.

Murray-Darling: Develop policy to support a just transition for rural communities in the Murray-Darling Basin, including funding sustainable agriculture and a public bank for farmers, and for government investment for rehabilitating Murray-Darling.