Socialist Alliance protests Tasmanian budget




HOBART — Praised by the establishment for handing down a "fiscally responsible" budget, the Labor government was criticised by the Socialist Alliance, which has just announced its candidates for the state election later this year, and formed a Launceston branch.

Six Socialist Alliance activists were ejected from state parliament house for protesting during treasurer David Crean's budget speech on May 23. The six activists chanted "more money for health, increase tax on wealth" and attempted to unfurl a banner. Parliamentary security was unprepared for the action, which lasted for several minutes.

While the budget did include modest increases in health and education spending and a prediction that 4000 jobs would be created in the next year, the government has once again refused to spend the money that is needed to improve social services — particularly in the cash-strapped health sector.

"Working people have paid for these modest spending increases we've seen through the cuts to services in previous budgets and of course the GST", said Socialist Alliance candidate Kamala Emanuel.

Emanuel, a local doctor, will be contesting the seat of Bass in the state election. The decision to contest the seat was taken at the May 25 founding meeting of the Socialist Alliance in Launceston. The meeting also discussed organising a refugees' rights protest on June 23, but deferred the decision. Another meeting will be held at the Royal Oak Hotel on June 1. For more information phone Sam on 6334 9338 or Kamala on 0417 319 662.

The Socialist Alliance will contest three of the five Tasmanian seats, other candidates are secondary teacher Alex Bainbridge, who will contest Denison; and hardware store worker Brian Millar, who will run in Franklin.

Millar told Green Left Weekly that he is pleased to stand for the Socialist Alliance. "It's crystal clear that Labor and Liberal are not doing anything good for ordinary people, so it's about time that socialist solutions came back on the agenda."

From Green Left Weekly, May 29, 2002.
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