Number 1

The following document is intended as a discussion starter for our Sixth National Conference. It tries to summarise answers to the following questions (1) What has the Socialist Alliance achieved? (2) What are the main features of politics under the Rudd government? (3) On what political campaigns should Socialist Alliance focus its energy, and (4) How should we try to improve the functioning of the Socialist Alliance in order to get maximum impact from our political work?

Newcastle Socialist Alliance sharply increased its vote in the September local government election. Zane Alcorn, Laura Ealing and Tom Cameron won 3.7% in Ward 3, almost tripling our 2004 ward result, (although on that occasion we made the mistake of not running as a group), and Zane scored 2%, which is at least twice our 2004 Lord mayoral result.

The centre of attention for Socialist Alliance Illawarra — as for most political currents in Wollongong — has been the struggle to rewin the right to vote for the town’s city council.

It is inaccurate and misleading to characterise the Labor government policies and the politics of Kevin Rudd as “Howard Lite”. There are areas where significant changes have been made: signing up to Kyoto; shifting away from a Climate Change denial position; Apology to the Stolen Generations; significant changes to Mandatory Detention; an end to the “Pacific Solution”; an easing of the work-for-the-dole and mutual obligation rules in the welfare system and; a relaxing of the dreaded “breaching system” which contributed to so much misery under Howard and, it could be argued, contributed to the rise in homelessness.

Alliance Voices spoke to National Coordinator Dick Nichols about the importance of the Socialist Alliance's Sixth National Conference.

The Socialist Alliance’s campaign in ward 3 of the Blacktown City Council in the September NSW local elections was an excellent beginning to collaboration with members of the Communist Party of Sudan and the broader Sudanese community in Sydney. The result — around 2% — was very heartening considering that Socialist Alliance had not contested in the area before, as was the mobilisation of Sudanese comrades on polling day itself.

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.

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