Sam Wainwright

The result of the October 19 Fremantle Council election was a real glimmer of hope for us in Western Australia, particularly after the bleak state and federal results this year.

Under the first-past-the post system used in WA council elections, I was re-elected in Hilton Ward with 58% of the vote, compared with 33% in 2009. In the other wards, the incumbent councillors defeated more conservative opponents. Mayor and Greens member Brad Pettitt won more than 70% of the vote, defeating former state and federal Liberal candidate Matthew Hanssen.

The Socialist Alliance is using the federal election to popularise the idea that we need bring mines, banks and power companies into democratic public ownership. Here are five reasons why this is a good idea.

1. Wealth distribution

The richest 20% in Australia own more than the rest combined. Mining company profits rose 540% between 2000 and 2009, while the share they paid as tax or royalties dropped from 40% to 14%.

After promising not to “lurch to the right” on refugees if he returned as prime minister, Kevin Rudd dramatically did just that with his plan to send refugees to Papua New Guinea for processing and resettlement. He says no refugee who arrives by boat will ever be settled in Australia.

This is a draconian plan beyond the dreams of hardline racists like Pauline Hanson and John Howard. Yet despite this, leaders of the ALP left, such as Doug Cameron and Melissa Parke, have defended the policy.

Sam Wainwright gave this speech at a refugee rights rally in Perth on July 20.

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A statement by famous British Labour MP and socialist Tony Benn said: “The way a government treats refugees is very instructive because it shows you how they would treat the rest of us if they thought they could get away with it.”

What he was getting at is that the fear and loathing of refugees is a deliberate concoction.

The refugee crisis is real, but the fear and loathing of refugees that’s generated in our media and the general population, is a deliberate and cynical concoction.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme, now to be known as DisabilityCare, has become a central theme of Australia’s national debate. This is a tribute to the many thousands of people who have campaigned tirelessly for better support for and inclusion of people with disabilities in society.

There's a lot of unease in progressive circles in Western Australia in the wake of Liberal Premier Colin Barnett's landslide reelection win in the March 9 WA state election. The expectation is that many things will get worse before they get better.

The minority Liberal government, dependent on National Party support and buoyed by mining royalties, has been restrained compared to the slash-and-burn of public services rammed through by its counterparts in Queensland and Victoria.

While Australia and Sri Lanka battled it out at the Sydney Cricket Ground early this month, a Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seeker on a bridging visa living in Hamilton Hill, a victim of torture, died in Fremantle Hospital after attempting suicide last Thursday.

The tragic event played out as momentum grows for a boycott of Sri Lankan cricket, lead by former cricket writer for The Age Trevor Grant.

The members and supporters of Socialist Alliance join progressive minded people across Australia and around the world in mourning the heart wrenching and tragically unexpected loss of Gavin Mooney and Del Weston.

Del and Gavin were as kind and loving in their personal dealings with everyone they met as they were committed to the liberation and freedom of all humanity. They were strong supporters of Green Left Weekly; making regular donations, hosting fund-raisers and recently making a significant contribution to the new Green Left TV project.

Sam Wainwright is a Socialist Alliance councillor in Fremantle. Below is a talk he gave on the topic of how to achieve social change in Australia.

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It's pretty obvious for anyone that cares to look that capitalism is a socially destructive and ecologically unsustainable system.

Based on the unequal distribution of wealth, it condemns billions to living in poverty worldwide.

Our dear friend and comrade PA (Ram) Subramaniam, a tireless and courageous supporter of Tamil freedom and the liberation of all humanity, died on the morning of October 4.

When PA called to advise us of his cancer diagnosis less than two months ago, he did so in a completely matter of fact way. There was not a hint of self-pity or regret. In fact there was a renewed impatience and urgency.

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