By Greg Adamson
CANBERRA — "Stop the Labor/Liberal program of sack, slash, tax and sell!" is the slogan being raised in the February 15 ACT Legislative Assembly elections by Democratic Socialist candidate Lara Pullin.
The Labor and Liberal parties have little to distinguish themselves in the current election. The Canberra Times referred to their pre-election debate under the label "Laberals".
The independent parties are offering little relief from this boredom, most signing agreements that, if elected, they will provide stability by guaranteeing not to block supply.
"Who cares about stability in the Legislative Assembly", asked Pullin, "when people's lives are being ruined by unemployment, low wages, a lack of affordable housing, and the closing of schools and the Royal Canberra Hospital? Labor and Liberals are united in their desire for stable jobs in the Legislative Assembly, but what about the thousands of unemployed young people leaving schools and universities for an indefinite life of unemployment?"
The introduction of a virtual ban on new party registrations in these elections has forced Pullin to stand as an independent. Of the 11 parties registered to stand, only three met the requirement of having 100 members in the ACT eligible to vote. The other eight simply met the alternate requirement of already having a member of parliament somewhere in Australia.
Lara Pullin has been active in campaigns for public housing and women's rights. She is also a leading figure in the Latin American solidarity movement CISLAC.
The campaign is holding weekly election planning meetings on Monday nights, and assistance is urgently needed to help with leafleting before polling day, and handing out how-to-vote cards.