The WA branch of the Socialist Alliance will stand Julie Gray, a nurse, as a candidate in the September 6 state election. Gray will compete for the Metropolitan North area of the Legislative Council.
Socialist Alliance WA state convener Chris Latham told Green Left Weekly that Labor had called the election as a manouevre to take advantage of disarray in the Liberal Party. "Neither major party wants to admit that the mining boom is heading into trouble and Labor wants to avoid an election later in the year or early next year", he said.
The alliance will campaign to expose the two-tier effects of the boom, which has brought record profits to mining companies and high wages to a small section of the working class, but has not benefited many others. By standing a nurse as a candidate, the alliance intends to highlight the hard fight that public sector workers have had to wage for pay increases from the ALP government.
"We also want to ask why WA is doing so little about climate change", Gray told GLW. "We should be the solar energy showpiece for the world, but Labor is building two giant coal-burning power stations with plans for two more."
The alliance will also be sending a message of total opposition to the Liberals' preferred climate change answer: nuclear power. "No one can say that nuclear power is safe", Gray said.
"The gas facility at Varanus Island was managed using safety case methodology derived straight from the nuclear industry", she said. "It's bad enough that the state is suffering the gas shortages caused by that explosion [this year]. Heaven help us if it was a nuclear plant."
Another part of the alliance's campaign will be opposing the plan to extend the Northern Territory "intervention" into Aboriginal communities in the north of WA. Welfare quarantining plans are in place for the Perth suburb of Cannington.
"The business pages of the West Australian are full of mining companies announcing their plans for ripping the heart out of the Kimberley region", Gray said. "Suddenly the government has started talking about Aboriginal communities as being unviable."
"It's blindingly obvious what's really going on: ethnic cleansing so the mining companies can do what they want. This ALP government is just appalling, we really need a working-class alternative", she concluded.