Socialists to stand in Wollongong
By Liam Mitchell
WOLLONGONG — The Democratic Socialists have announced that they will stand Chris Pickering as candidate for the seat of Wollongong in the upcoming state elections. Pickering, a 30-year-old librarian and active member of the progressive movement in the Illawarra, will campaign on issues including support for the East Timorese who have suffered at the hands of Australian governments and big business.
The seat of Wollongong encompasses the Southern Copper smelter, which will be closing in January 1995, with an estimated cost of 1000 jobs from its own work force and dependent industries.
"It is truly unbelievable that this company says it will close down because it can't afford to carry out an environmental upgrade", Pickering told Green Left Weekly. "Southern Copper has spent years making money from polluting the environment; it should pay for equipment needed to prevent further pollution. If the company says it cannot pay and its losses are too high to continue, then it should prove this by opening its books to public scrutiny.
"What of SCL's profits prior to 1991? The overriding argument is that the copper smelter should not close. We need to guarantee these workers' jobs."
Pickering said that if necessary CRA, Southern Copper's parent company, should pay for the upgrading. "CRA has done enough damage to the environment in its search for profits in Australia, the Asia-Pacific region and Bougainville. They should be made to repair this devastation, which includes making their industries environmentally safe."