Number 3

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 Like far too much of our policy, the wording of this policy is out of date (even if much of the content is OK), still referring to the Howard government in the present tense.

The 8th national conference of the Socialist Alliance in Australia decided to take a draft document entitled “Towards a socialist Australia” through a nation-wide public discussion and consultation process to promote a wide discussion about socialism in the 21st century.

2011 was an intense year. In the Illawarra, two campaigns emerged that would define most of our activity: the campaign to stop coal seam gas mining and the campaign for greater left unity, culminating in the Community Voice experiment that contested the local council elections. We encouraged our members, supporters and friends into these important campaigns and helped take real responsibility for their success (or failure).

I find myself disagreeing and objecting to almost one thing in every sentence of Adam Baker's contributions to Alliance Voices. I believe his arguments are flawed, full of inconsistencies and inaccuracies, and would effectively constitute political suicide, other than for those members happy to retreat to the “good old days” of constructing left sects on the fringes of society.

Below are some proposed amendments to Socialist Alliance's policy on refugees. The changes are in bold, with the additions in square brackets, and the deletions crossed out.

Assuming no fuller amended version to the Charter of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Rights policy is submitted - and in lieu of a more thoroughgoing rewrite - I propose the following (mostly minor) amendments.

That each National Conference will decide on a date and location for the following National Conference prior to the end of the Conference. The Constitutional requirement to hold a conference at least every 2 years will remain unchanged.

That the 9th national conference be held in Melbourne on February 2-3, 2013.

Like many of our early policies, our Policy against Globalisation and Privatisation is rather simple, and is a bit of a grab-bag.

Again, like the policy on Australia's role in the region, I don't pretend the only-slightly updated version below is a finished product. It probably requires a full rework, particularly in the light of the rise of the Occupy movement, which may have the potential to reignite the anti-capitalist sparks we saw a decade ago.

Socialist Alliance in Adelaide has played an active role in the campaign to replace Port Augusta's ageing coal-fired power stations with concentrating solar thermal power towers.

The 8th National Conference of the Socialist Alliance expresses full solidarity with the celebrations for the historic 40th anniversary of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra, from January 26, 2012.

The coal seam gas (CSG) industry is rapidly increasing its scope in the Australian energy market. CSG is talked up as by some as a clean energy source, or as a “transition fuel”, while we develop renewable energies. But it is natural gas — a fossil fuel. Production, processing, transportation and combustion creates greenhouse gas emissions.

Replace Our Gender Agenda of our women's rights policy with Charter of Women's Rights. The reason for this amendment is that many transgender and gender diverse activists assume that a policy entitled Our Gender Agenda would talk about the discrimination they face and would include policy on their issues.

Other amendments to the policy are in bold. Deletions have a line crossed through the text.

We demand action...

Disclaimer — signed articles represent the views of their authors, not necessarily the views of the Socialist Alliance unless otherwise stated. Responsibility for all electoral comment is taken by P. Benedek, 22 Mountain Street, Ultimo, NSW 2007. Alliance Voices submission protocols.