Our Common Cause

The March in March protests across Australia over March 15-17 were a resounding success – not just because of their size, focus and breadth. Just as significant is the fact that March in March tore apart the idea – seeded by the cynical rhetoric of John Howard's spin doctors in the wake of the invasion of Iraq – that protests don't work. This protest worked precisely because it brought between 80,000 and 110,000 people out of their homes and into the streets in a disparate yet united way against the Tony Abbott government's attacks.
You can tell how good a newspaper is from the enemies it keeps. The Australian wrote a sneering dismissal of the new Saturday Paper, launched last weekend, and used its ultimate insult by comparing the new paper to Green Left Weekly, calling GLW “ignorant, moralistic and simplistic”.
The Tony Abbott government has announced another Royal Commission into corruption in building industry unions. But Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Dave Oliver said the terms of reference for this Royal Commission “are narrowly directed at unions and will not adequately deal with corruption or unlawful behaviour by businesses or employers”.
A big attack on Medicare is on the cards after Prime Minister Tony Abbott refused to rule out forcing all patients to pay an upfront cost when they visit the doctor. Former health advisor to Abbott, Terry Barnes, has written a paper to the federal government's Commission of Audit recommending a $6 upfront fee to see a doctor. The commission was appointed by the federal government to propose business-friendly cuts to government spending before the May budget.
Under the guise of “law and order” and protecting the community from “criminal bikie gangs” Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has passed new laws that have implications for the civil rights of the wider community. The Liberal-National Party used their majority to rush the laws through parliament on October 17. The Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment Bill, Tattoo Parlours Bill and the Criminal Law Amendment Bill specifically target bikies.
Forty-eight hours to send newly arrived refugees back the way they came and a plan to conceal when boats are “turned around” at sea, were among immigration minister Scott Morrison's statements at his first weekly briefing under “Operation Sovereign Borders” on September 23.
One of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s first acts has been to abolish the Climate Commission. Set up under Julia Gillard in 2011 and chaired by Tim Flannery, the commission’s role was to explain climate science to the public. It is well known Abbott will abolish the carbon price, but other climate programs in Abbott’s sights include the Climate Change Authority and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. This is a clear sign the new Abbott government believes the environment can be sacrificed for profit.

So Tony Abbott is the new prime minister. The Rudd-Gillard-Rudd Labor governments delivered this outcome with the narrow self-interest of its MPs and mafia-like faction heads and its desperation to prove itself as the best managers of the system for the billionaire class.

At every election since its founding in 2001, the Socialist Alliance has decided preferences on a principled basis, by giving preferences to other parties based on how closely their policies and actions align with its own. This federal election, the Socialist Alliance is running two candidates in the NSW Senate and six candidates in lower house seats around the country. In the NSW Senate, the Socialist Alliance has preferenced Ron Poulsen of the Communist League second, followed by candidates from the Greens and then the WikiLeaks Party and other small progressive parties.
Recent polls say the refugee rights movement is in the minority on the issue. An Essential Report shows 61% of Australians support the “PNG solution”, which proposes to expel all refugees that arrive by boat to Papua New Guinea. But we can win people over on this question because we have truth and justice on our side. I am old enough to have taken part in the movement against the Vietnam War. I remember that at the start about only 30% of the public was against that war. But the anti-war movement went on to decisively win the battle through a persistent campaign out in the streets.

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