"Towards socialism and sustainability" was the theme of the Queensland Socialist Alliance (SA) state conference held at the Activist Centre on April 17. About 40 people gathered to discuss proposals for building the socialist project in 2010.
Keynote speakers in the opening panel, "Political crisis, ecological crisis, and the federal election campaign", were Sam Watson, Aboriginal community leader and SA Senate candidate for Queensland; Ewan Saunders, SA candidate for the seat of Brisbane, and activist in the Community Climate Network Qld; and SA national executive member Dick Nichols.
"Nationally, there is a growing public disenchantment with the major parties", Watson said. "There is now an opportunity for a third force like SA to gain profile in the coming federal elections. As Senate candidate for SA, I will be particularly highlighting Indigenous issues, like Black deaths in custody and the NT Intervention."
Saunders highlighted the climate change crisis, and the need to fight for renewable energy sources as the only feasible alternative to coal and other carbon-producing industries. He stressed the significance of the national climate summit held in Canberra in March and the progress towards a nation-wide climate action network.
Nichols discussed options for SA policy priorities in the coming federal elections, and called for a national discussion in the organisation about perspectives and campaign tasks, to help put the socialist project back on the political map in this country.
Workshops were held on Indigenous, trade union and international solidarity campaigns. The final session heard reports on environmental and other campaigns, and tasks for building the socialist movement.
Reports were presented via internet by Cairns and Townsville SA activists.
The conference also endorsed Townsville trade union activist David Lowe as SA's second Senate candidate for Queensland.