Expelled ALP member to stand against Baldwin


Expelled ALP member to stand against Baldwin

SYDNEY — A former Labor Party member is the Democratic Socialist candidate in the inner city seat of Sydney, currently held by Peter Baldwin for the ALP. Margaret Gleeson, a community housing worker, has drawn the top position on the ballot.

Through her professional work in housing, family services and migrant services, Gleeson is in constant contact with people who are casualties of "the recession we had to have".

"My experiences in the community housing sector have convinced me beyond all doubt that we must create an alternative to the two-party system, an alternative to the policies of both Labor and the Coalition which put people last", she told Green Left.

Gleeson was a member of the ALP for 25 years and ran as a Labor candidate in previous elections. In 1984 she was expelled for "breach of solidarity" when she worked hard to support official ALP policy against uranium mining.

"Nothing has changed in the Labor Party since I left", said Gleeson. "The party continues to be totally undemocratic in its structure and activity, riddled by factionalism, with an unaccountable leadership which makes decisions behind closed doors and breaks party policy at will. It's no wonder the rank and file members are still leaving in droves."

Over the past two decades, Gleeson has been involved in the peace, environment and women's movements in NSW and the ACT. She participated in organising the annual International Women's Day rallies and marches throughout the 1960s and '70s and continues to work in the community in defence of women's rights — which, she noted, have been steadily and systematically eroded under the past decade of Labor government.

"While there is no doubt that ordinary people would suffer more under a Liberal government because the pace of attacks on living standards and democratic rights would speed up, it is the ALP in government which has laid such solid ground for such a possibility. We urgently need an alternative to both of the major parties."