Volume 8

The December 2 ABCC demo over here was very good; well over 2000 present maybe as much as 3000. Biggest contingents were from MUA and AMWU at around 1000 each.

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 watershortages.

Conventional free-market economics aims to solve this problem by putting a price on water and allowing it to be tradedby those who can afford to purchase it.

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.

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, Justify Fullsystematic 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:

Moved: Pip Hinman

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.

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 though 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.

  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.
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.

This Conference condemns the vicious attacks by the ALP and the mass media on Electrial 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 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 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.

As at the end of the 2007/08 financial year, Socialist Alliance National had $8,387.12 in its bank account and no debts outstanding, apart from a loan of $10,000 from a supporter which was given several years ago for an indefinite period.