Volume 9

Following our recent National Executive meeting it was requested that we include a copy of the original motion on the NDIS tabled at the 9th National Conference for reference.

The Socialist Alliance acknowledges the important historical role socialists have played in major struggles for Aboriginal rights throughout the last century. Through our new Charter, we commit ourselves to continuing in this tradition, supporting and championing Aboriginal self-determination and Aboriginal control of Aboriginal affairs, while linking Aboriginal struggles to other movements, especially the trade union movement.

The transition working committee on education committee has drafted a set of 10 points which it feels should form the basis for the National Executive discussion on socialist ideas for Socialist Alliance from next year.

I want to thank Graham Matthews for his work in producing a full-length style public transport policy draft for Socialist Alliance. Nonetheless, I suggest we may need to continue the drafting process for this policy area beyond the conference.

I believe the draft has a number of problems. In suggesting this I’m drawing substantially on our experience of sustainable transport campaigning here in Cairns. I will try to relate some of that experience as responses to the policy draft. I apologise for the point format of this contribution.

Green Left Weekly is a great newspaper, but its lack of rivals can blind us to its faults, for lack of anything to judge it against.

The format of Green Left has barely changed over the nearly 20 years since it began publishing. In this time the internet has arrived and changed news presentation dramatically. Print media are struggling everywhere, as people go online for information.

Sex work is still on the criminal code in all states and Territories, except NSW. Having sex work on the criminal code means increased police harassment for marginalised groups, such as Aboriginal street-based sex workers, Asian and migrant sex workers, HIV positive workers and transgender sex workers. Criminalising sex work means significantly lower health and safety standards.

For 20 years we have had employer-contributed compulsory superannuation (ECS), currently at the rate of 9% of gross income. This was “sold” as part of the social wage and as an expansion of the provision of enhanced retirement benefits for Australian workers beyond those then limited to public sector and management in the private sector. It is another example of the ALP-ACTU Accord betrayal of Australian workers.

Fighting for women's liberation is an essential part of the socialist struggle and of liberation for all humanity. It is a critical aspect of our work in the Socialist Alliance — with our general positions on women’s oppression outlined in our women’s rights charter, the Gender Agenda.

On behalf of the Socialist Alliance (and the Democratic Socialist Perspective), I attended “Socialism 2009”, a conference of the Malaysian Socialist Party (PSM), on November 14 and 15, 2009.

Brief background on PSM

The PSM was formed on May Day 1998, from plantation workers and anti-evictions activists. In some ways similarly to the Socialist Alliance, it is a relatively young party, although its tradition goes back far beyond its 11 years of existence.

For centuries, simplistic population theories have been advanced to explain poverty, hunger, famine, disease, war, racism and unemployment. Climate change is just the latest in this long list of issues that has been seized on by supporters of population control. In each case, the real social and economic causes of these social ills have been glossed over.

Australia’s immigration policy should be non-discriminatory on the grounds of nationality, ethnic origin, religion, language, gender, disability, sexuality, age, socio-economic background or skills.

Premable

The following draft of a public transport policy for Socialist Alliance expands and extends existing national policy, by incorporating work done for the NSW state elections in 2007, articles for Green Left Weekly and other research. It attempts to both illustrate the problems with the existing situation, where inadequate provision of public transport disadvantages poor communities and the environment and point the way to an socially and ecologically sustainable alternative.