Kuku Yalanji woman Pat O’Shane’s campaign for the seat of Leichhardt for Socialist Alliance in Far North Queensland was launched at an online event — “Get Inspired” — on February 13.
Socialist Alliance national co-convenor Sam Wainwright told the meeting that socialists spend a lot of time fighting “against” bad laws, but that election campaigns are an opportunity to explain what we’re fighting for. He argued that bringing “important, strategic, monopolised sectors of the economy” under democratic public ownership would help achieve wealth redistribution, climate justice and democratic reforms.
Queensland Senate candidate Renee Lees commended O’Shane for her lifelong fight for justice. “This election is a chance to raise a message about reorienting our economic systems and re-energising social movements,” she said. “This is all bold stuff but I think we all know, in our quieter moments, that this is the minimum we need if we are to withstand the climate crisis, growing inequality and the next rolling pandemic.”
Cairns local councillor Rob Pyne said if O’Shane was elected “she would vote, in Canberra, according to the values that we hold” and that she would maintain the “courage of her convictions to stand up and be counted because she’s done that all her life”.
“We have to challenge the status quo,” O’Shane said, adding that she would be “unrelenting” in taking up climate action and is committed to “justice and equity”. She criticised Warren Entsch MP for not speaking out against the federal government’s Religious Discrimination Bill.
She said that the climate justice campaign has already won significant ground, and referred to a recent poll showing most opposed more exploitation of gas and oil. In Queensland, the big fight is about state Labor’s support for Adani. “It takes money from Adani and it gives money to Adani.” The policies of other state Labor governments, including support for oil and gas, destruction of Indigenous heritage and incarceration of First Nations people, amounted to “failure”.
O’Shane is committed to ensuring people have jobs with wages they can live on “instead of seeing their hard labour going for naught, as people like Morrison hands out millions of dollars to Harvey Norman”.
The launch was followed by a well-attended workshop for campaign supporters to plan the next steps.
[Get in touch to help the campaign here.]