Qld conference plans for new Australia

Queensland Socialist Alliance conference, April 16. Photo: Jim McIlroy

"Another Australia is Possible" was the main theme of the Socialist Alliance Queensland State Conference, held on Saturday April 16 in the Brisbane Activist Centre.

A feature panel, “Fighting for Another Australia”, included presentations from Murri community leader Sam Watson, Sri Lankan human rights activist Dr Brian Senewiratne, socialist educationalist and writer Gary MacLennan, and Socialist Alliance national executive member Lisa Macdonald.

Watson highlighted the ongoing campaign against Aboriginal deaths in custody, and the call for an audit of all deaths that have occurred since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody 20 years ago.

He said: "Without the support of the Socialist Alliance and others we would never have achieved the charging of Chris Hurley [over the death on Palm Island of Mulrunji Doomadgee in 2004]."

Senewiratne spoke on the appalling condition of the public health system in Australia, drawing from his experience as a visiting physician in regional hospitals.

He also exposed the human rights violations of the Sri Lankan regime against the Tamil minority, and called for action to support democratic rights in Sri Lanka.

MacLennan said that left tensions inside the ALP and the Greens provide openings to build the socialist movement in Australia.

Macdonald spoke about the revolutionary developments in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world. She said there was "the need for socialists and the left of the Greens to work together more closely" to help build a left political option for workers in Australia.

Ewan Saunders presented an overview of the political terrain in Queensland, including the possibility of an early state election. He noted the danger of a win to the Liberal-National Party under new leader Campbell Newman, citing the recent experience of the incoming O'Farrell Liberal government in NSW.

Activists also discussed how to strengthen support for trade unions and social justice campaigns and build a stronger socialist movement in regional areas, with reports from Phil Golby from Gladstone and David Lowe from Townsville.