Don't agonise, organise against Abbott's agenda
So Tony Abbott is the new prime minister. The Rudd-Gillard-Rudd Labor governments delivered this outcome with the narrow self-interest of its MPs and mafia-like faction heads and its desperation to prove itself as the best managers for the billionaire class. Abbott's election will bring an escalation in attacks from the ruling class on the rest of society, attacks that the ALP laid the groundwork for through their policies of cutting welfare for single parents, extending the Northern Territory intervention and income management for Aboriginal people, and stripping billions of dollars from higher education, to name just a few. When Rudd lurched dramatically to the right with his “PNG solution” on refugees, it screamed out to the public: Labor agrees with Tony Abbott on stopping the boats! The ugly consequences of that final shameful step by Rudd will be paid for in death and suffering by innocent and vulnerable people for many years to come. However, Abbott's Coalition won with a weak political mandate. Rather than a landslide, the Coalition's primary vote only increased by 1.7% and they won't have full control of the Senate. Furthermore, apart from “stopping the boats”, the Coalition hid most of their real political agenda, which is to continue the capitalist neo-liberal offensive that Coalition and ALP governments have been implementing for over two decades. On the lie that “the market knows best” and “privatisation is more efficient”, Coalition and ALP governments have presided over a $3.3 trillion transfer (in 2013 dollar terms) from wages to profit (that is, from workers to capitalists) since 1975. That is a transfer of more than half of all wealth in Australia. Most of this has gone to the big corporations and the billionaires who own and control them. This is why Gina Rinehart's wealth grows by an estimated $600 a second. It is obscene and it is totally ridiculous for anyone to suggest she has worked for it. Through its modest election campaign, the Socialist Alliance told the truth about this class robbery and the terrible consequences it has for social justice and the environment. We may have only collected a few thousand votes but we used the election to call for the mining, banking and energy industries to be brought into public ownership and under community control. Some people responded that this was nice but “too idealistic” a demand. However, no one has explained how we can do what our society urgently needs to do without breaking the domination of the mining companies and the banks. In the days after the election we had a grim reminder of the reality of climate change as massive bush fires broke out on Sydney's western and northern fringe – only a week into spring. We can be confident that climate change will increasingly reveal that today's supposed “idealists” are in fact the only realists. The billionaires – Rupert Murdoch most famously – made it very clear that they wanted Abbott's Coalition elected because they believe he can better satisfy their insatiable greed for more and more profits. It was not because the ALP was not willing to serve their interests – that had been proved by the good job the ALP did in saving the Australian capitalist economy from the worst effects of the global financial crisis – but that the ALP no longer had the popular authority to implement their agenda at the pace they wanted. The 3.3% swing against the Greens can be partly explained by their close association with the federal ALP government and their participation in government with the ALP in Tasmania which cut services and implemented neoliberal policies. But this swing was also fed by the racist hysteria against asylum seekers unleashed by the bi-partisan race to the moral bottom on refugee policy. If we look behind the political spin and lies of the multi-million dollar election advertising of the major parties, the agenda of billionaire class is not hard to determine. It includes: • More tax cuts and public subsidies for big business and the rich. • A rise in the GST to 15% — although the Business Council of Australia would like it to be 25%. • Cuts to public services, jobs and welfare entitlements. • Re-instatement of the worst of the anti-worker “Work Choices” laws of the John Howard era. • Weaker environmental and social regulation of mining and other businesses. • More attacks on asylum seekers, Aborigines, single parents and youth. • More privatisation of public assets and services. However, this agenda cannot be implemented without a battle. The top priority of all serious socialists should be to do everything possible to help bring together the strongest resistance. This is the main thing that Socialist Alliance members all around the country will be putting their efforts into during the weeks and months ahead. We need as many fighters as possible and if you are willing to be part of this resistance we urge you to join us today.