Socialist candidates are campaigning in the May 18 federal elections to put forward solutions to the growing wealth divide and looming environmental crisis.
The Socialist Alliance (SA) is fielding candidates for the Senate in Western Australia and New South Wales, and the lower house seats of Brisbane, Lilley (Queensland) and Fremantle (WA).
Victorian Socialists are also contesting three House of Representative seats: Calwell, Cooper and Wills.
NSW Senate candidate Susan Price said that the redistribution of wealth, ending racism and a speedy transition to 100% renewable power are key priorities for the Socialist Alliance.
Price’s running mate, Joel McAlear, said stagnant wages, pitifully low welfare payments and unaffordable housing and rents are creating a growing underclass.
McAlear said: “Australia is a wealthy country — but only for some. First Nations communities, working-class communities and single parents are under extreme and growing pressure from job insecurity, low wages and cuts to welfare.
“Australia’s billionaires, meanwhile, increased their combined wealth by $100 million a day last year. How is this fair?
“Corporations must be compelled to pay tax, and that wealth should be allocated to urgent social and environmental programs that could create thousands of new jobs.”
Socialist candidates have condemned the major parties for refusing to take real action on climate change and commit to a transition to 100% renewable power within 10 years.
WA Senate candidate Petrina Harley said: “The Coalition wants more coal and Labor is offering, at best, only token change.
“Labor’s equivocation on the Adani mine is a clear signal to the coal lobby that it is leaving it up to them to decide whether to move into the profitable renewable sector and at a time and pace that suits it, not us.
“This is nothing short of criminal, and shows up its class interest.”
Fremantle socialist councillor Sam Wainwright, who is running in Fremantle, said that while socialists want to see the back of the Coalition government “it is not in anyone’s interest to give uncritical support to Labor.
“Labor has declined to commit to a rise in the pitifully low Newstart allowance and end the punitive approach to single parent benefits.
“Neither is it promising to create more public sector jobs or abolish anti-worker laws, such as restrictions on the right to strike.”
Long-time women’s rights activist Kamala Emanuel, who is contesting Brisbane, welcomed Labor’s promise to make reproductive rights a national health issue, but thinks “more needs to be done to combat intimate partner violence and harassment of and assault against women in workplaces, families and communities around the country.
“We have to focus on the impacts of the growing wealth divide such as housing stress and domestic violence, and not get sidetracked by racist dog-whistling.
“Demanding justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people includes taking action to end high incarceration rates, halt the destruction of sacred sites and helping stop communities from being torn apart.”
SA candidate for Lilley Mike Crook said: “We need to shake things up so that ordinary people can take charge of our own lives.
“Only by challenging corporate power will we help create the people power we need to transform our lives.
“We need your help to do this.”