Socialist Alliance policy platform

Introduction

Socialist Alliance exists to campaign for the ecosocialist changes so desperately needed in our society. Capitalism has proven manifestly incapable of resolving the impending climate catastrophe, arguably the most pressing challenge for humanity.

Equally, capitalism has no answer to the rampant inequality crisis that gets worse every year. In large parts of the world it is incapable of meeting people’s basic needs for shelter and livelihoods. This is increasingly the case in wealthy countries including Australia and has been dramatically illustrated by the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Solutions exist. However, achieving them requires taking power away from the billionaire class and the corporations and governments they control.

The Socialist Alliance believes it is possible to create a democratic socialist society focused on meeting the needs of people and the planet.

It can only be achieved with a revolutionary approach involving the whole community in the transformation of society and the economy.

This platform guides the work of Socialist Alliance members in campaigns and those who are elected to public positions.

We place great value on working with communities, trade unions and social movements because popular mobilisation is the key driver of progressive social change. Direct involvement in struggle changes people’s ideas about what is possible, while creating, expanding and strengthening the grassroots organisations that can make change a reality.

Our goal is the establishment of a new form of radical democracy allowing all those currently exploited, oppressed, and excluded from power, to start shaping the direction society will take, together. We believe it is important to work with others to achieve even partial realisation of the goals and policies outlined in this platform, to make life better now, and as a stepping stone to building the working class and community power capable of achieving more far-reaching change.

Capitalist Australia was founded on colonial theft, genocide and dispossession of First Nations people. We seek to work with Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander communities to rectify these injustices and realise meaningful sovereignty for First Nations people.

This policy platform is intended to be read alongside the Socialist Alliance program: Towards A Socialist Australia.

Tax the corporations and the rich — no GST

  • Scrap the GST
  • For a steeply progressive tax system where people with incomes less than the median wage pay less tax while top tax marginal tax rate is increased to 70% for incomes over $200,000
  • Stop “bracket creep”: index tax brackets including the tax free threshold for inflation
  • Repeal the “stage 3 tax cuts” for the rich
  • Introduce a wealth tax for the super rich
  • An immediate rise in company tax to 49%; establish an additional super-profits tax
  • Make big companies pay tax: remove tax loopholes and expand ATO compliance resources
  • Remove all negative gearing tax breaks on investment properties
  • End the billions in public subsidies to mining corporations banks and energy companies
  • Abolish the Medicare levy and pay for a free universal health system out of general revenue

Public ownership

  • Nationalise the mines, banks and energy companies, under community and workers’ control
  • Oppose and reverse the privatisation of public assets and services
  • Government assistance for the formation and maintenance of worker cooperatives

Real climate action

  • A planned shift to 100% renewable energy within 5-10 years via public investment and emission reduction targets
  • Bring the power industries under public ownership and democratic control
  • Phase out fossil fuels: no new coal or gas projects, including Adani; ban fracking and unconventional gas mining
  • Guaranteed jobs with no loss in pay for workers in fossil fuel industries
  • End all fossil fuels subsidies
  • Asylum for climate refugees and those displaced by climate change
  • Ban the logging of old-growth forests
  • Begin an urgent program of reforestation, sustainable farming and biodiversity protection
  • Employ Indigenous rangers to lead the urgent program of reforestation, cultural burning, biodiversity protection and sustainable farming projects
  • Enforce the rehabilitation of mine sites by companies
  • Institute a national heat health strategy
  • No nuclear energy, no nuclear weapons and no uranium mining

Democracy, not corporate dictatorship

  • Proportional representation at all government levels
  • Election campaigns for all candidates publicly funded to a fixed amount
  • Put politicians on an average worker’s wage
  • All government positions subject to recall elections if 10% of electors petition for it
  • Prevent former ministers and senior public servants from serving on corporate boards or lobbying positions
  • For a genuine separation of church and state (e.g. end prayers in parliament and religious instruction in state schools)
  • Mandate the display of all candidates’ “How to Vote” instructions with equal prominence at polling stations
  • Support a democratically elected constitutional convention to create a new, genuinely democratic constitution
  • Support publicly-funded citizen-initiated referenda on all issues of significant public concern
  • Create a Federal Independent Commission Against Corruption with power to hold public inquiries and investigate politicians, senior public servants and corporate executives

First Nations rights

  • Negotiate treaties to respect First Nations sovereignty and land rights
  • First Nations control of First Nations’ affairs
  • End the disproportionate separation of First Nations children from their families
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community control of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child welfare
  • Repeal the “Stronger Futures”/NT Intervention laws
  • Abolish racist welfare quarantining and compulsory income management
  • No uranium or radioactive waste dumps
  • Close the gap in First Nations health, education, employment and housing
  • Implement all the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody
  • Fund language and culture programs and bilingual education in schools
  • No closure of remote First Nations’ communities
  • Increase funding and ensure community control for First Nations health, legal and other community and advocacy services
  • Paid leave for First Nations workers to attend to cultural commitments

Migrant and asylum seeker rights

  • Full industrial, residency and citizenship rights for all migrant workers
  • Reaffirm Australia's commitment to the 1951 Refugee Convention and 1967 Protocol on the Status of Refugees and honour our other UNHCR international treaty obligations
  • Demilitarise and dismantle Australian Border Force, reassigning its functions to the Department of Immigration and a re-established Australian Custom Service
  • Cease discrimination towards people seeking asylum who arrive by boat without a visa (UMAs)
  • End boat turn-backs and the policy of mandatory detention
  • Close offshore and onshore detention centres; replace with welcoming transit centres to process arrivals, issue IDs, bridging visas, medical checks, organise support and short term accommodation
  • Interim bridging visas enabling people seeking asylum to live in the community while their claims are being assessed and to include Medicare, work rights, free education and access to social services such as housing and government payments
  • Grant permanent protection to all refugees and their partners/children, abolish Temporary Protection Visas
  • Offer permanent protection visas and reparation payments to all refugees and asylum seekers remaining in PNG and Nauru and those brought to Australia under Medevac laws, expedite remaining US placements and accept NZ’s offer where refugees prefer this
  • Enable and expedite family reunion visas
  • Increase the offshore humanitarian intake, including reinstate the intake from Indonesian and Malaysian refugee camps
  • Protect the rights of medical, teaching and security staff to speak out about abuse in detention; restore all Australian territories to the migration zone
  • People displaced by the effects of climate change to be treated and given the same protection rights under Australian law as refugees.
  • End deportations and end ASIO security veto of refugees

Defend civil liberties and human rights

  • End the racist targeting of Muslims
  • Defend and extend anti-discrimination laws
  • Scrap ‘anti-terror’ laws
  • Abolish ASIO and all spy agencies
  • Repeal data retention laws
  • Put the police under community control
  • Adopt a Bill of Rights including guarantees for freedom of speech, assembly and religion
  • Support the right for people to choose voluntary assisted dying
  • Decriminalise assisting a person to carry out their free and informed choice to end their life

Workers’ rights

  • Scrap all anti-union laws
  • Recognise workers’ right to strike and organise in law, including solidarity actions
  • Increase the minimum wage to at least $25/hour
  • Restore penalty rates
  • Make wage theft a crime
  • Recognise the right to secure work for all – reverse casualisation
  • Full industrial, residency and citizenship rights for all migrant workers
  • Expand apprenticeship programs
  • Establish national industrial manslaughter laws
  • Allow workers to retire on the pension at age 55 if they so choose; assist people who wish to continue in paid employment to do so, including retraining for less arduous jobs or changing work processes where necessary
  • Full decriminalisation of sex work and the sex industry; oppose criminalisation of clients of sex workers (the "Nordic model")
  • Retool Australia’s manufacturing sector for the production of renewable technologies, vaccines, public transport and other socially useful projects
  • Immediate public investment to create jobs in providing better public housing, schools, hospitals and health facilities
  • Create jobs by introducing a 30 hour work week, with no loss of pay

Social rights

  • A guaranteed livable and dignified income for all
  • Scrap “Work for the Dole” schemes and all “mutual obligation” schemes
  • No compulsory income management and other forms of welfare quarantining
  • Lift all welfare payments above the poverty line and index them to maintain real value
  • Boost funding to community-based aged care services
  • Provide free, 24 hour childcare funded by a levy on business
  • Expand disability services and access to all who need it
  • Restore the universal right to the aged pension
  • Abolish the Job Network and reestablish a Commonwealth Employment Service with a service provision (instead of punitive) focus
  • Provide guaranteed free aged-care assistance in the home for those who want it
  • Nationalise the residential aged care sector under community control and implement all the recommendations of the Aged Care Royal Commission

National Disability Insurance Scheme

  • Make all infrastructure − housing, public and commercial buildings, transport, education, employment, recreation and culture − fully accessible
  • Private, for-profit organisations should not receive public funding
  • Democratise governance of all disability funding-support bodies, including the NDIS; fundamentally reorganise the NDIS with governance provided by a board with the majority members being people with disability
  • Make NDIS fully transparent and accountable; people with disability and their organisations must be the central decision-makers in shaping the design, implementation and monitoring
  • NDIS eligibility must not apply a medical model to disability; it must meet the needs and reflects the interests of all those with disability, and be inclusive, regardless of type, severity and episodic nature, age, visa status and how disability was acquired; psycho-social disability must be included; access to the system should not be means tested
  • Assessment of requirements for services, support, equipment and aids must be guided by a self-assessment of the person with disability as the expert of their personal and life situation
  • Oppose any attempt to categorise workers in the disability services sector as being in a “private and domestic” relationship with the person/people they support
  • Ensure all workers providing support and other services funded by government receive, as a minimum, the same wages and conditions as those currently working within the state public sector
  • Ensure NDIS is an equitable system across all states and territories, and across urban, regional and rural areas; where relevant services are not readily available (e.g. culturally specific or a service located in a remote or regional area), government must ensure that these services and supports are provided

Women’s rights

  • Eliminate the gender pay gap — equal pay for all
  • Create publicly-funded abortion and contraception services available to all who need them and ensure safe access zones across the country
  • No to foetal personhood laws because they are an attack on abortion rights
  • Restore and expand funding to women's refuges and community anti-violence programs
  • Guarantee employer-funded, paid parental leave with maintenance of seniority
  • Increase funding to feminist advocacy services
  • Paid domestic violence and sexual assault leave for as long as needed

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer rights

  • Make all discrimination against LGBTIQ+ people illegal – no support for religious exemptions
  • Full rights for trans and intersex people including easy change of identity documents
  • Full, publicly-funded medical services for gender transition
  • Fully-funded school programs for non judgemental sex education and anti violence campaigns
  • Full adoption rights for LGBTIQ+ people
  • Paid affirmation/transition leave for gender affirmation/transition steps and procedures

Youth rights

  • Right to vote at 16
  • Boost funding to youth services
  • Full pay for young people – no youth wage
  • Expand youth housing programs
  • Expand apprenticeship programs
  • Raise Austudy, Abstudy and Youth Allowance to a living wage

Justice

  • Re-imagine community protection: make police accountable to local communities and expand social support, mental health support and First Nations restorative and healing initiatives in place of a punitive “law and order” approach
  • Abolish imprisonment for non violent offences of poverty and non payment of fines
  • Decriminalise drugs and public drunkenness
  • Address family and domestic violence with expanded services and rights for survivors
  • Reinstate the Family Court and reform it so that victims of violence, women, children and LGBTIQ+ people’s rights are prioritised
  • Treat corporate tax evasion, industrial manslaughter and other corporate crimes including environmental vandalism as serious offences
  • End mandatory sentencing
  • Raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility to 16 years
  • For prevention programs, community-oriented rehabilitation schemes and alternatives to imprisonment
  • Fully fund legal aid and legal assistance services
  • Keep corrective services in public hands - reverse the privatisation of prisons
  • No police involvement in industrial disputes

Education for all

  • Guarantee free public education at all levels (primary, secondary, tertiary and vocational)
  • Abolish all HECS debts
  • Reverse the funding cuts to public education
  • Democratise TAFE and universities including student and staff control of curriculum
  • Expand the public education sector and massively increase funding to vocational education and TAFE
  • End public funding to private schools, tertiary institutions and training colleges

Housing for all

  • Tackle homelessness and the housing affordability crisis with a large-scale expansion in quality public housing;
  • No ‘privatisation by stealth’ via conversion of public housing into social housing
  • Establish a state-owned body to provide low-interest home loans
  • Nationalise and renovate all substandard landlord holdings; repair and decarbonise public housing
  • 'Use It or Lose It' policy to purchase unused dwellings for public ownership
  • Phase in return to full Capital Gains Tax
  • Cap private rents at current levels for ten years; public and social housing rents to be no more than 20% of a renter’s income
  • Expand emergency accommodation services as an interim measure until a Housing First model can be adopted, that is until everyone is housed via a large scale public housing building program, therefore reducing the systematic trauma people experience moving through the emergency accommodation system
  • Target housing provision for at-risk youth, Aboriginal people, people with disabilities and women and children leaving family violence
  • Ban ‘no grounds’ evictions
  • Establish a bill of rights for renters (including rights to long-term leases, pets and guarantees against unfair eviction)
  • Provision of permanent and stable housing for homeless people should come without conditions, in the area they desire and with genuine wrap around services

Free healthcare for all

  • Restore free, universal health care – end back door co-payments
  • Boost funding for preventative care and chronic disease management
  • Free dental care
  • End subsidies to private health insurers
  • Expand community-based health care networks, reproductive and sexual health clinics
  • Boost funding to public mental health services
  • Legislate for aged-care staffing ratios
  • Provide safe injecting facilities and pill testing
  • Free long term trauma therapy, medical treatment and support services for victims/survivors of sexual abuse
  • Legalise marijuana, decriminalise other recreational drugs, and treat addiction as a health issue
  • National mandated/legislated nurse/carer to resident ratios in Residential Aged Care
  • Health care for all regardless of visa status

COVID-19

  • Improved vaccination rollout prioritising frontline and essential workers, their families and vulnerable sections of the community
  • Establish permanent fund to provide leave payments for all those who need it, particularly for COVID testing, vaccination or self-isolation purposes, regardless of employment or visa status
  • A ban on sackings during lockdowns
  • Ban evictions during lock-downs
  • Lock in a job guarantee program to ensure all workers – full-time, part-time, casual, sole trader, self employed, visa workers and any worker that is stood down – maintain their ordinary-time wage during the crisis
  • Massively increase the numbers of people allowed into Australia by improving existing quarantine facilities, introducing a program of home quarantining and establishing purpose-built facilities
  • End vaccine apartheid: lift patents on COVID vaccines; increase free vaccine distribution and assistance to produce vaccines in the Global South
  • Recruit healthcare workers instead of police as the primary providers of information
  • Ensure essential workplaces are COVID-19-safe with necessary PPE supplied and empowering workers to walk off the job if their employer fails to provide it. Legislate to ensure that workers who report COVID-unsafe workplaces to authorities or a union, are not able to be sacked or discriminated against by their employers
  • Return Commonwealth Serum Laboratories to public ownership

Public transport in public hands

  • Make public transport comprehensive, frequent and free
  • Boost investment in suburban and high-speed intercity rail
  • Reverse the privatisation of and cuts to public transport services

Media and communications

  • Massive increase in funding for ABC and SBS – democratise their boards
  • Reject privatisation of public broadcasters – no corporate advertising on SBS
  • Increase funding and increased availability of licences for community media
  • Support a publicly owned NBN with fibre-to-the-premises
  • Bring telecommunication companies back into public ownership
  • Reject privatisation of Australia Post
  • Support net neutrality, online privacy and a bill of digital rights
  • Shift to open source software use by government bodies

Rural and regional

  • Emergency assistance to struggling farmers, including for sustainable farming and farming cooperatives
  • Restoration and rebuilding of transport links
  • Housing, education and employment assistance in regional areas
  • Just transition from fossil fuels to sustainable jobs
  • Increase access to health services in rural areas
  • Remove water subsidies to industries and mining companies that are contaminating water resources and clearing forests

Animal welfare

  • End live animal exports
  • Abolish the cruel and inhumane use of animals for sport, recreation or entertainment
  • Tighten standards for free-range farming
  • Implement alternatives to culling and netting of sharks
  • Establish a national framework for the protection of animal welfare to monitor and enforce existing laws that criminalise cruelty against all animals and regulate conditions for the captivity, transport and slaughter of animals
  • Restrict experimentation on animals except where there is a clear need and where no current alternative methods are possible;
  • End the inhumane intensive factory farming of animals
  • Support comprehensive and enforceable standards for free-range farming practices for all animals
  • Establish a national labelling system for foods and other products identifying cruelty-free, organic or free-range products, based on the National Standard for Organic and Biodynamic Produce, or better
  • Ban whale slaughter and lethal research on whales
  • Mandate alternatives to shark nets and the culling of sharks
  • Ban trophy hunting of all animals, including Australian native water birds

Solidarity and international aid, not war and occupation

  • Reject war and imperialist aggression against China, while also expressing solidarity with labour and democratic rights campaigns and victims of human rights abuses including Uyghurs, Tibetans and other ethnic minorities
  • No participation or support for imperialist interventions; bring back all military forces abroad
  • Pay reparations to Iraq and Afghanistan for the illegal invasions and occupations
  • Launch an official investigation into Australia’s involvement in illegal wars and prosecute war crimes committed by political leaders as well as Australian troops
  • Isolate apartheid Israel with boycott, divestment and sanctions; end all military and sporting ties with Israel
  • End ANZUS and close all US military bases in Australia
  • Cut military spending by at least 50% and boost development and climate change aid to poor countries
  • Reverse the cuts to Australia's overseas aid programs — for a massive increase in Australia's aid budget
  • End sanctions and blockades except where called for by progressive movements with mass support
  • End Australia’s interference in the affairs of countries in the Asia Pacific
  • Solidarity with all popular struggles for socialism, self-determination and decolonisation
  • Solidarity with the Kurdish liberation struggle, especially the struggle to defend the liberated zone in northern Syria; remove the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) from the Australian government terrorism list
  • Frame foreign policy decisions on the basis of support for global justice, human rights and climate action

Trade

  • Withdraw from all trade agreements that allow corporations to sue governments
  • Conduct an audit of all existing trade agreements so as to withdraw from such agreements that undermine labour rights, environmental measures, consumer protections and human rights

Water

  • End privatisation of water and water infrastructure (dams, water pipelines, pumping stations); restore to public ownership those already privatised
  • No trading of water “rights” for speculative purposes
  • End the free access of the mining industry to water, in artesian basins, catchments and rivers
  • Develop a national water conservation plan
  • Stop land clearing and logging in important water catchments to preserve water quality
  • Phase out water-intensive monoculture crops in climatic regions which remain unsustainable
  • Restore adequate river flows including scientifically based, flow targets for all river systems

Read more about what Socialist Alliance stands for in these documents

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