On the socialist campaign trail

November 2, 2007

Know your candidate: Dr Tim Kirchler (Moncrieff, Queensland)

In a candid chat with Green Left Weekly, Kirchler, who works as a general practitioner on the Gold Coast, spoke about his reasons for running.

"I believe it's time that we in Australia gave everyone a fair go! I want workers — especially those in low-paid or casual jobs — to feel secure that they won't by fired at whim. I want people to get all the health care they need, regardless of their ability to pay. I want a liveable planet for future generations. And I don't want people who have fled from their own countries in fear of their lives to be locked up behind razor wire."

Not one mention of "forks in the road", "getting the balance right" or "fiscal conservatism". What on Earth is happening to Australia's premier tourist destination?

Kirchler continued: "Even though Moncrieff is one of the safest Liberal seats in the country, the Gold Coast has one of the largest wealth disparities of any Australian city. Because of our local tourist industry, we have a huge casual work force whose pay, conditions and job security have suffered under the continuous attacks of the Howard government.

"Around 700 people are homeless here every night. As a doctor, I have enormous difficulty getting people in to see medical specialists or dentists if they can't afford to go private. The Socialist Alliance is putting forward an alternative vision that addresses all these problems."

What's more, according to Kirchler's website <http://www.timkirchler.com>, "I've played in rock bands, been a radio DJ, worked in developing countries, and I've also done a bit of acting and written two plays of my own."

As if that isn't enough, Kirchler also found time to be the main author of the Socialist Alliance's Welfare Rights Charter (available at <alliance.com>).

You can help Kirchler's campaign in the land of Muriel's Wedding by going to <http://www.socialist-alliance.org/queensland/> or ringing the Moncrieff campaign manager Pablo Alvarez on 0414 996 959.

Union support for the Socialist Alliance grows

Donations to the Socialist Alliance from trade union branches are growing. So far we have received $2000 each from the Tasmanian, Western Australian and Victorian branches of the Electrical Trades Union and $500 from its Queensland branch. The Victorian branch of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union has donated $2000.

Alliance candidates have also addressed the October branch meetings of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) in Fremantle and Melbourne.

After Sam Wainwright, candidate for Fremantle, spoke to WA MUA members, the meeting voted to donate $1000 to the Alliance campaign, while Margarita Windisch's speech to Melbourne's wharfies was well received.

It is clear that there are two key reasons for the unprecedented level of support the Alliance is receiving from some sections of the union movement. The ALP has announced its IR sell-outs before the election, and there's growing confidence in Socialist Alliance because of its track record of committed activism to workers' and union rights.

Our thanks go to all those union branches who have contributed to our campaign.

Candidate incites students to walk out

Susan Austin, the Socialist Alliance candidate for Denison, joined Greens Senator Christine Milne in addressing Hobert's boisterous student walk-out against Gunn's proposed pulp mill (see page nine for full report).

After listing the environmental horrors the mill would produce, Austin revved up her audience, calling on them to see their own strength:

"When young people get active, they can make a difference. It was students in Indonesia who led the protests that kicked out the dictator Suharto. When students in France went on strike and closed down their schools and universities, and united with the workers, they forced the government to scrap their unfair youth working law.

"Do you like the fact that Paul Lennon has spent millions of dollars on promoting and propping up this pulp mill?

"Do you support the fact that he set up a Pulp Mill Task Force to tour around the state trying to convince us that the pulp mill is a good thing for us and for the environment of Tasmania?

"Have we been convinced? No!"

Susan explained that Matthew Holloway, the Socialist Alliance candidate for Franklin "was so concerned about the signs of corruption on this and other issues that he helped to set up a new group called Tasmanians for Transparency. The pulp mill is yet another example of how the government is more interested in helping big business than ordinary working people."

She concluded that the campaign against the pulp mill "might need to include a combination of tactics, including mass protests, like the famous Franklin Dam campaign showed.

"The winning strategy was a combination of huge numbers of people mobilising in a sustained campaign of street rallies, civil disobedience actions and a successful blockade. We know from history that when people refuse to give up, and unite together in action, they can win. We can and we will stop this pulp mill!"

Your latest campaign resources

The following additions to the Socialist Alliance election campaign resources can be downloaded from our website at <http://www.socialist-alliance.org> or our special 2007 Federal Election Campaign Forums site at <http://socialistalliance.freeforums.org/>:

•Hot planet — cool party! is the latest in a series of presentations on the Socialist Alliance's climate change policy. The work of Adelaide ecosocialist John Rice, Hot planet — cool party! is a witty Powerpoint presentation of the Socialist Alliance's proposals for combating global warming, done as "a political quiz for pundits".

•The Alliance's updated lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex rights policy.

•Videos from the Geelong Socialist Alliance branch of candidates Jeremy Smith (Senate, Victoria) and Chris Johnson (Corio) and from NSW anti-war activist and Senate candidate Alex Bainbridge on Afghanistan.

•Our latest media releases on Lib-Lab similarities on climate change and why Afghanistan is not a just war.

[Compiled by Dick Nichols, Socialist Alliance national coordinator.]

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