Raising the red flag in Tasmania

November 17, 1993

Duncan Meerding, Hobart

The Socialist Alliance will be contesting Tasmania's March 18 state election, standing two candidates in the south of the state, in Franklin and Denison.

The socialists will be running on a platform of opposition to the attacks on workers' and union rights; support for health and community services, and opposition to the privatisation of public services; protection of the environment; and opposition to the "anti-terror" laws.

The February 23 Hobart Mercury reported that "Unions Tasmania state secretary Simon Cocker last night said the union movement would 'stay out of politics' this election", using the money that it would have otherwise donated to the ALP's election campaign to run television ads against PM John Howard's new workplace laws. "Cocker said unions' members were free to vote for either Labor or the Greens, as long as they did not back the Liberals", the Mercury reported.

However, the next day, ABC Radio National reported that Cocker said that Unions Tasmania believes that only a majority state Labor government could protect workers from Howard's new workplace laws.

"The state Labor government is paying our bus drivers less than mainland bus drivers. They have become the boss that the workers have to battle against", Socialist Alliance candidate for Denison and union activist Linda Seaborn told Green Left Weekly.

"It is clear to many people who have been Labor supporters their whole lives that Labor have sold them out. They and the Liberals make up the two sides of the corporate political coin. The union movement needs to wholeheartedly support the parties that have taken up the struggles of working people, and that means neither Liberal nor Labor."

According to the most recent opinion poll reported by the Mercury, Labor's support has dropped by 10% since the 2002 state election. According to the same poll, Labor could lose two seats to the Greens, bringing the total number of Green MPs to six and leaving the Liberal Party with seven seats in Tasmania's 25-seat lower house.

The Liberals have promised that, if elected, they will introduce Australia's toughest drug laws and decrease land tax, a tax charged only to people with multiple properties or businesses.

"It is not enough to reject the Liberal Party. While in power, the Tasmanian ALP has voted against a human rights act introduced by the Greens' Peg Putt last October and forced the anti-terror legislation through state parliament", Matthew Holloway, a civil rights activist and the SA candidate for Franklin, told GLW. "Labor has also done little to address issues of prisoner abuse and harassment, and the number of complaints against state police is steadily rising."

To support the Socialist Alliance campaigns, phone Susan on (03) 6234 6397 or email <hobart@socialist-alliance.org>.

From Green Left Weekly, March 1, 2006.
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