For genuine democracy!

Corporate power runs Australia right now. Parliaments are subject to the real power of the business class in the final instance. We urgently need real democracy, based on people power.

Against the money and lobbying strength of the mining, banking and energy industries, we will need to build a mass movement based on grassroots action to demand that the country’s resources be put in the hands of the people.

Although the existing Australian Constitution has often proved an obstacle to serious social change in the past, some recent High Court decisions have reflected the pressure of public opinion for change.

The Chifley Labor government’s bill to nationalise the banks was struck down in the High Court in 1947 on the basis of states’ rights, but the trend toward greater centralisation of decision-making power has been confirmed by court rulings in recent years.

In any case, the campaign for nationalisation of key industries under workers’ and community control will need to challenge the formal legalism of the undemocratically created Australian Federal Constitution of 1901.

We will need to push for the election of a Constituent Assembly, as occurred in Venezuela and Bolivia, for example, in the early years of the 21st century, to create a new People’s Constitution, enshrining popular power and human rights as its foundation stones.

Such a democratically elected Constituent Assembly would genuinely reflect public opinion and community involvement, and could consider the creation of new bodies of popular power, like the network of 20,000 Communal Councils established in Venezuela over the past decade.

Any new constitution would need to reflect the genuine wishes of the majority of the people, not the balance of interests between sections of the Australian ruling elite, as our current federal constitution does.

Creation of such a truly democratic new constitution would open the way for radical steps to replace corporate power with people’s power, in particular, nationalising key industries under workers’ and community control, as a transitional phase toward establishing a real system putting people before profit -- Socialism of the 21st Century.