ALP

The cycle path known as the Iron Curtain Trail follows the boundary that separated east from west during the cold war period from 1947 to 1989. The 7650 kilometre route that stretches from north of Turkey to the Barents Sea, 400 kilometres inside the Arctic Circle, is not for the faint-hearted. But such is the desperation of Syrian refugees that up to 20 people a month are using the route to get to the safety of the Norwegian town of Kirkenes on the Russian-Norwegian border. Here they make a formal request for asylum and are then flown to the capital Oslo for further processing.
The Labor-dominated Newcastle council has defied pressure from unions and senior ALP figures to rescind moves to investigate moving a $270 million investment portfolio away from banks that fund ‘‘socially and environmentally’’ harmful projects and industry. Labor’s Cr Declan Clausen, who moved the original motion, said it was not against the coal industry or coal jobs, but a symbolic move in support of ‘‘different jobs for the future’’ and a shift to renewables and a clean energy industry.
Robert Menzies achieved many things in his long political career. To remain prime minister as long as he did, Menzies kicked the communist can for as much as it was worth. He also benefited from a split in the Australian Labor Party and the ALP’s remarkable talent for shooting itself in the foot. By choosing ineffectual leaders — Doc Evatt was brilliant but erratic, while Arthur Calwell was dour, dull and unelectable — the ALP was putty in Menzies’ clever political hands.
New polls show that had an election been held in mid-August, Tony Abbott's federal Coalition would have suffered a 7.5% swing against it. The Prime Minister’s prevarication on marriage equality and the scandal over entitlements are fueling the dissent. The IPSOS-Fairfax and Essential Research polls revealed that the Coalition would have lost between 36 and 44 seats — with Labor and the Greens being the main beneficiaries.
Over the weekend of July 24 to 26, the nation will be watching as the Australian Labor Party (ALP) holds its 47th triennial national conference at the Melbourne Convention Centre. The Labor Party’s national conference is its highest decision-making body, deciding its policies and future direction. The Labor party’s previous national conference was in Sydney in 2011. At that conference, it voted for a policy supporting marriage equality. Despite that vote, and the Labor Party being in government until the end of 2013, marriage equality was not made law.
Socialist Alliance’s Sue Bolton spoke to Green Left Weekly’s Dave Holmes about her work as an elected socialist local councillor in Moreland, a municipality in Melbourne. This is the fourth in a series of interviews with Bolton. You can find the whole interview at links.org.au. * * *

A Short History Of Social Democracy: From Socialist Origins To Neoliberal Theocracy By John Rainford Resistance Books $20, 184pp. The rise and then fall of social democracy as a movement for fundamental social change is a modern tragedy of Shakespearean proportions. It is one of the epic stories of the 19th and 20th centuries.

This statement was released by Billy Gordon on April 8. *** Last week I resigned from the Australian Labor Party. I will not resign from parliament. My decision is based on advice from the clerk of parliament, who gave detailed reasons why I did not have to resign over past events and allegations. I am also determined to honour my commitments to my constituents. During the election campaign I committed to tackling entrenched social and economic problems in Cook and helping communities seize economic development opportunities.
Verbal Reality Volume 2 Provocalz Coming October 2013 www.provocalz.bigcartel.com Rapper Provocalz has dedicated a song to Australia's Liberal and Labor parties on his new album - but it won't be music to their ears. On his track "Liberals or Labor", the Indigenous emcee suggests the two big parties are so contemptuous of voters that some, like him, might consider swapping their ballots for bullets: Liberals or Labor, they both leave us to rot So it's criminal behaviour, politicians get shot Pop pop pop pop! It's that real hip-hop, hip-hop
Refugee rights activists representing groups and individuals from Darwin, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Canberra, Wollongong, Sydney, and the Blue Mountains met on December 3 to plan campaign activities for this year. It was the first national gathering of refugee rights campaigners since federal Labor's 2007 election, and fittingly occurred on the same weekend as the ALP's national conference. Labor further entrenched its anti-refugee policies, in particular offshore processing.
Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore made clear at a Sydney City Council meeting on November 6 that she supported the “principles” of the Occupy movement but did not support Occupy Sydney. Greens councillor Irene Doutney put a motion to investigate the dawn police raid on the group in Martin Place and help find Occupy a site for the protest. But Moore replied that she had to “balance the rights of residents, visitors, workers and others to have access to the public domain”.
Phil Golby was the president of the Port Curtis and Hinterland branch of the ALP until October 20. Then, along with five leading members, he publicly resigned to protest against the Queensland Labor government’s proposal to sell off public assets despite mass opposition from rank-and-file ALP members. Until October, Golby was also the president of the Gladstone branch of the Queensland Council of Unions (QCU). He is a state organiser with the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, working out of the union’s Gladstone office.
In 2007, federal election candidates made much of the seven vultures that were feeding on the carcass of the Howard government as it flailed around shifting further and further to the right. Those seven vultures were: • the denial of climate change; • touting of the war in Iraq; • Work Choices; • policy failure on education spending; • poor vision of infrastructure; • destruction of research and development; and • persecution of refugees with the Pacific Solution.
On September 1, Luke Foley, the newest Labor member of the New South Wales Legislative Council, rose to make his inaugural speech to the chamber. Foley began: “It is with pride and humility that I enter this place, Australia’s oldest Parliament, as a representative of Australia’s oldest, and greatest, political party — the Australian Labor Party.” Oh dear. What a day for Foley to praise the ALP in NSW.
The Socialist Alliance national office has produced its analysis of the August 21 federal election. It traces the precise mix by electorate of the increased Green, Coalition, independent and informal vote, produced as voters deserted Labor. The differences among the seat-by-seat contests in an Australian federal election have never been so great. The general disillusionment with the two major parties expressed itself in quite different ways in different electorates and areas.
Whichever major party wins the August 21 elections, the real job of fighting for progressive change will remain. Not just because Labor and the Liberal-National Coalition have made this election campaign an ugly race to the right, but also because real change never comes simply through a vote. Even an election that registered real victory, such as the defeat of the hated John Howard Coalition government in November 2007, came on the back of sustained political action by millions of ordinary people focused primarily around the campaign against Work Choices.

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