Voters in two key Queensland seats will have the chance to vote for grassroots socialist candidates at the next federal election.
Medical practitioner Kamala Emanuel and community activist Mike Crook have been endorsed as the Socialist Alliance candidates for Brisbane and Lilley, respectively.
Emanuel has worked in family planning, Aboriginal and sexual health clinics. She is currently an abortion provider and actively involved in the fight to decriminalise abortion in Queensland.
For more than 25 years, Emanuel has been involved in various campaigns and helped organise events for International Women’s Day, Reclaim the Night and World Environment Day, among others.
Emanuel has also campaigned in solidarity with struggles in East Timor, Venezuela and Palestine.
Emanuel believes that the escalating climate crisis makes it essential to build a clearly anti-capitalist force in Australian politics.
She told Green Left Weekly: “Labor and the Coalition are still looking after the interests of fossil fuel billionaires rather than the needs of ordinary people.
“We need urgent action for 100% renewable energy and other measures to reduce emissions in transport, housing and agriculture. But the capitalist establishment is not capable of doing this,” she said. “Our campaign is about building the kind of people’s movement that can.”
Crook is a long term Sandgate resident and has been a community activist for more than 30 years. He has participated in environmental, anti-war, workers’ rights and refugee rights campaigns, as well as the fight to stop the Adani coal mine. He was a founder and convenor of Green P Community Farm.
Emanuel and Crook will be campaigning on issues including the rights of workers and women, climate justice, justice for refugees, education for all, and an end to racism.
Emanuel believes it is time to guarantee provision of publicly-funded abortion to all women and non-binary people. “Decriminalising abortion in Queensland will be a great step forward, but the struggle for women’s rights won’t stop there,” she said.
“We need to reverse the gender pay gap and cuts to the single parent pension, restore and expand funding to women’s shelters, properly fund refuges and community anti-violence programs, and introduce employer-funded, paid parental leave for all Australians.”
Emanuel is also concerned about attack on civil rights and the resurgence of racism over the past 20 years: “We must defend our civil rights by fighting the racist targeting of Muslims and defending anti-discrimination laws”.
A passionate supporter of LGBTQ rights, Emanuel supports full rights for trans and intersex people; full, publicly-funded medical services for gender transition; anti -violence campaigns; and ending discrimination when it comes to adoption.
“A fully-funded Safe Schools program must be restored to ensure that all students have access to factual, non-judgemental and inclusive education on sex, sexuality and gender,” Emanuel said.
On Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers and refugees, Crook said: “The federal government must close all offshore and onshore detention centres and end mandatory detention now.
“We have to ensure that Australia honours its United Nations obligations and ends deportations and the ASIO security veto of refugees. The government must end the boat turn-backs, and protect the rights of medical, teaching and security staff to speak out about abuse in detention.”
Crook also said “all anti-union legislation must be scrapped, and the Australian Building and Construction Commission has to be closed down immediately.
“The so-called Fair Work Act introduced by Labor has to go and the right to strike and organise restored in law. Any new act must allow unions to take solidarity actions.
“We also need to raise the minimum wage, restore penalty rights and reverse the trend towards casualisation”, he said.
Crook echoed the need for public investment in renewable energy and also called for the power and mining industries to be brought into public ownership and democratic control.
“The big corporate polluters and the billionaires who have profited from fossil fuels have lost the right to make any more money out of ecocide,” Crook said.
[To get involved in the campaign phone (07) 3357 4718 or visit Queensland Socialist Alliance on Facebook.]