Building support in Aboriginal Australia (1)
One Indigenous community to organise a meet-the-candidates forum during the election campaign was the Illawarra Aboriginal Community (NSW south coast). It drew more than 60 people, including prominent elders. A feature of the meeting was the lively reception given to ALP MPs Jennie George (Throsby) and Sharon Bird (Cunningham).
Dootch, a prominent local Aboriginal activist who led the campaign to have the NSW south-coast sacred site Sandon Point formally recognised as Aboriginal land, attacked the Labor parliamentarians for their support for the Howard government's intervention in Northern Territory communities, as well as numerous other sell-outs. The contribution led to spontaneous applause from the crowd.
In contrast, the speech of Greens' candidate for Cunningham Michael Organ was well received, as was that of Socialist Alliance candidate Jess Moore. A number of people present told Moore that they would be voting for the Socialist Alliance not only because of its policies, but also because of alliance activists' work in local actions against the Northern Territory intervention and the Women for Wik campaign.
Building support in Aboriginal Australia (2)
Sam Watson, the long-standing fighter for Aboriginal rights was the Socialist Alliance's lead Senate candidate in Queensland. Also, through his statement "We urgently need a new vision for our common future" (posted at <http://www.socialist-alliance.org>), Watson symbolised the alliance's campaign for social justice and environmental sustainability.
Watson spent much of the last week of the election campaign doing radio interviews. He started with lengthy interviews on radio stations in Townsville and Cairns, then moved on to be interviewed by the best-known Aboriginal station, Koori Radio. He also did a solid 50 minutes on Queensland's Murri Radio, talking about politics generally and the Socialist Alliance specifically.
Through Waston's untiring work, the alliance between left and progressive forces and Indigenous communities has strengthened, helping put the broad movement for Indigenous rights on a better footing for the battles ahead.
Fire sale desperation
Late last week a desperate Sydney Socialist Alliance decided to conduct a poll-driven "Fire Howard Fire Sale" of all its anti-Howard merchandise. With defeat for John Howard looking highly likely, the organisation was running a severe risk of suffocating in a pile of out-of-date T-shirts, badges, posters, stickers and stubbie holders!
(The Socialist Alliance's "Up Yours, Howard!" stubbie holder, with iconic militant worker Rosie the Rivetter giving the PM a gesture lacking in respect, was a popular item at rallies against Work Choices.)
The alliance advertised the sale as "absolutely last chance for all those people who want to remember their part in Howard's downfall to pick up their piece of memorabilia. In 20 years this merchandise will be as treasured as the 'It's time!' memorabilia from the 1972 Gough Whitlam victory is today."
NSW CFMEU donation
The NSW branch of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union voted to donate $350 to the Socialist Alliance election campaign fund drive. Our thanks go to CFMEU members and to NSW state secretary Andrew Ferguson.
The Socialist Alliance's Gold Coast branch has designed a new T-shirt sporting the slogan "People before profits" on the front and "Planet before profits" on the back. The striking piece of attire (check it out on the website) is $20. Phone (02) 9690 2508 to place your order.
[Compiled by Socialist Alliance national coordinator Dick Nichols.]