Queensland election: Vote against the system

Feminist activist and women's health doctor Kamala Emanuel is the Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of McConnel. Photo: Kekei Dot Photography.
November 4, 2017

The Socialist Alliance is running in the November 25 Queensland state elections to help build an anti-capitalist alternative to the two-party system. We are also supporting the re-election of progressive independent MP Rob Pyne in Cairns and calling for a vote for the Greens in other seats.

Labor and the Liberal National Party (LNP) have lost any right to claim they represent the interests of ordinary working people.

The last time the LNP was in power, it went on a rampage against workers' rights, civil liberties and the environment.

During this most recent government, Labor has implemented some progressive reforms but it has not been able to hide its complete loyalty to big business.

Both parties have helped make Pauline Hanson's One Nation seem like a palatable option for far too many people.

What is needed is a radical alternative that can argue the case for genuine reform and mobilise popular support to make it happen. This is the pathway towards a more fundamental transformation away from the failed capitalist system.

Take climate change as an example. The United Nations Environment Program warns that existing government commitments have us on a path towards a 3oC rise in average global temperature by 2100. This would mean major cities would be under water.

Adani

In Queensland, the major parties are supporting the Adani coalmine, which would be the largest coal mine in Australia if developed. That policy is not compatible with taking serious action on global warming and saving the Great Barrier Reef.

The Socialist Alliance and the Greens are both opposed to the mine. Rob Pyne remains the only state MP to have voted against it.

Labor tries to walk both sides of the street on the issue. One Labor candidate was caught out telling voters that the mine would “never happen” because it is “not financially viable”.

Some on the Labor left think it is a clever tactic to go along with the pro-corporate leadership's support for Adani while hoping it just “doesn't happen”.

The mine should be denied approval on environmental and social grounds and as a mark of respect to the opposition expressed by Traditional Owners.

More and better jobs can be created in renewable energy and community development projects.

Premier Anna Palaszczuk pledged that her government would not approve the proposed $1 billion Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) loan to Adani on November 3. She claimed this was in response to a “smear campaign” by the LNP and to avoid the perception of a conflict of interest. (Her partner works for a company that helped advocate for the loan.)

However, it is more likely that Labor is feeling the pressure of popular opinion that is running against the Adani mine and even more strongly against the proposed loan. Labor seats – such as that of deputy premier Jackie Trad – are at risk of falling to the Greens. Opposing the loan is a cynical way to give wriggle room to Labor politicians who do not feel comfortable with the party's craven support for the mine.

Abortion rights

The case of abortion law reform also underlines the necessity of building a progressive alternative to Labor. The issue came onto the agenda when Pyne moved a private member’s bill to decriminalise abortion.

Even though Queensland Labor has had abortion decriminalisation as part of its platform for decades, Pyne had to resign from Labor to move the bill.

Labor politicians subsequently refused to support it and instead manoeuvred to delay it to an uncertain fate in a future parliament.

The Socialist Alliance is standing feminist activist and women's health doctor Kamala Emanuel for the seat of McConnel in Brisbane.

Our view is that you cannot just be against something, you need to stand for something positive. It is no surprise that figures such as Jeremy Corbyn in Britain and Bernie Sanders in the United States have had such a positive reception under the banner of socialism.

This is because the capitalist status quo is incapable of solving the problems we face such as rising inequality and climate change.

At a time when the Greens nationally are heading in a more and more pragmatic direction and the far right is picking up support, it is more important than ever to argue the case for a genuine socialist alternative.

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