BY STUART MARTIN
WOLLONGONG — "If the Socialist Alliance is going to gain the confidence of working people, we have to make a firm commitment to our policies. It's not enough to have a great platform, we have to be supporting these campaigns." With these words Socialist Alliance member Marg Perrott heralded the Illawarra Socialist Alliance's decision to campaign to defend workers' compensation and against cuts to the TAFE sector.
On July 18, Socialist Alliance members participated in mass leafleting at train stations of South Coast Labor Council material calling on workers to keep fighting for better workers' compensation legislation. Others organised banner drops over key intersections opposing the NSW Labor government's legislation.
A well-attended branch meeting the following night discussed the ongoing attacks by the government on both workers' compensation rights and cuts to TAFE library funding. Members decided that simply supporting events organised by these campaigns was not enough and the Socialist Alliance should offer resources to help organise them.
Will Williams, assistant branch secretary of the Democratic Socialist Party in Wollongong and a member of the Socialist Alliance explained: "Its not enough to do the ALP thing and just turn up to stage managed events, or union rallies and spout fine words. Socialist Alliance has to be different, we have to be on the pickets the instant they're called, we have to build public support for campaigns like opposing the Carr government's changes to WorkCover.
"Unlike the ALP we don't want to put our election prospects ahead of workers rights. If all we care about is getting elected then we may as well start supporting the big business agenda right now."
The Illawarra Socialist Alliance decided to send representatives to the regular South Coast Labor Council campaign meetings, and to establish a phone tree to mobilise members and supporters for any rally or picket called by the Public Sector Association to defend and improve TAFE Library staffing and conditions.