Activists focus on global warming and workers' rights campaigns


Global warming, workers' rights and opposition to the Iraq war are key campaigns this year, a Socialist Alliance state conference on May 19 decided.

At a prior forum hosted by the alliance, titled "How to stop the planet burning: Can carbon trading and market solutions stop climate change?", Caitlin Care from Sustainable Living Tasmania described the limitations of carbon off-setting and argued that lifestyle changes to reduce household emissions shouldn't be downplayed. Dick Nichols, the Socialist Alliance national coordinator and author of Environment, Capitalism, Socialism, argued that a planned economy could make the radical changes needed within the time-frames dictated by the science.

The futility of the major parties' focus on nuclear and coal was discussed, and participants agreed to focus campaigning on the call for massive investment in renewable energies and reducing energy waste. The nationalisation of the electricity industry was also discussed, as was opposition to the contentious Gunns' pulp mill.

A petition to defend the right to strike, and calls for a major workers' rights mobilisation before the federal election and for all Work Choices laws to be repealed was agreed. A motion in favour of ongoing campaigning against the draconian Welfare to Work laws was also passed.

Participants agreed on the need to keep campaigning for foreign troops to get out of Afghanistan.

Discussion ranged over many issues, including the need for solidarity with Venezuela's revolution, for a bill of rights and government accountability in Australia, to expose the real unemployment and inflation rates, and for better funded public services to alleviate problems in healthcare, housing, education and unemployment.

The conference decided to contest the Hobart-region lower house federal seats of Denison and Franklin, with Susan Austin and Matthew Holloway being pre-selected to stand. A campaign was launched to raise funds to also contest the Senate. If you can help, please email or phone (03) 6234 3645.