BY NORM DIXON
The Socialist Alliance on March 3 called on Greens, Australian Democrats and ALP senators to demonstrate their opposition to Australia's participation in a US war on Iraq by blocking supply when treasurer Peter Costello delivers the federal budget in May.
"John Howard has rejected putting Australian involvement in a war on Iraq to a referendum because he knows the vast majority of Australians would vote against this unjust and criminal war. That's why Howard must be forced to go the polls by blocking supply. The people have a right to decide on war", Socialist Alliance national co-convener Dick Nichols told Green Left Weekly.
"The opposition parties in the Senate have the power to force Prime Minister John Howard to face the people: if they don't take this opportunity, they will be failing in their responsibility to the majority of the Australian people, who want nothing to do with a war on Iraq, with or without UN support."
In response to the argument that the federal budget has "nothing to do" with the looming war on Iraq, Socialist Alliance national co-convener David Glanz said: "Costello himself has already flagged that this will be a 'tough budget'. The increase in 'defence' expenditure to fund Australia's biggest military adventure since the Vietnam War will come out of funds for health, education and welfare.
National co-convener Riki Lane added that the Socialist Alliance would be making use of every possible opening to pressure the opposition parties in the Senate to block supply. "Alliance members in the trade unions will not only be pressing for union action — including strikes — against the war, they'll also be calling on unions affiliated to the ALP to pressure Labor senators to block supply."
[For more information, visit <http://www.socialist-alliance.org>.]
From Green Left Weekly, March 12, 2003.
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