Our Common Cause

In the next few weeks, protests will be held around the country against the Australian government’s complicity in the PRISM spying scandal. These demonstrations were called in response to the anger and frustration many Australians felt at the eroding of their civil liberties for the benefit of Australian and US imperial interests with the support and assistance of large internet companies.
The following resolution was adopted by the Socialist Alliance national council meeting on June 10. *** • If socialism is not just to be a good idea, it has to become a movement of the working class and other oppressed groups. It flows from this that to build the socialist movement we have to have a permanent focus on linking up with the activists and leaders of the working class and oppressed groups who are fighting capitalist oppression.
Aid organisation Oxfam International said this year that the annual income of the world’s richest 100 people would be enough to end extreme poverty four times over. It said the richest 100’s net income — rather than wealth, which is much higher — was about $240 billion last year. Oxfam went on to make some modest demands:

This is an edited version of the Socialist Alliance’s agriculture policy adopted in May. The full version can be read at socialist-alliance.org. *** There are approximately 134,000 farm businesses in Australia, 99% of which are family owned and operated, and as of 2010-11 they employ only 307,000 people to manage 417.3 million hectares of land, including the 46.3% of Australia that is marginal land. Any sustainable and justice-oriented agricultural practice needs to place Aboriginal self-determination, empowerment and participation as its framework.

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.
The Socialist Alliance estimated in 2010 that its key policies for social justice and environmental sustainability would cost a minimum of $81-140 billion a year. Any budget devised by a party focused on putting people and the planet before profits would look significantly different to the “safe” yet largely austere budget the federal Labor government released last week.
As the 2013 federal budget looms, both the Labor government and the Opposition insist on the need to cut social spending. All the talk is about bringing the budget back into surplus as soon as possible and the cuts, they argue, will be needed to end the federal deficit. Ministers in Julia Gillard’s government have warned of a huge shortfall in government revenue, estimated at $7.5 billion by treasurer Wayne Swan and $17 billion by finance minister Penny Wong.
Years of campaigning and mass protest have culminated in another round of victories for the worldwide movement for equal marriage rights. In the past month, a further three countries have voted to allow people of the same sex to marry. A vote in Uruguay’s parliament on April 11 made it the second country in Latin America to allow marriage equality, joining Argentina, which changed its law in 2010. New Zealand’s parliament was the site of a moving scene on April 17 when galleries packed with supporters burst into song as the parliament passed the Marriage Amendment Bill.

Moreland Council is proposing to install more CCTV cameras in response to concerns about safety after the murder of Jill Meagher last year. The expansion of CCTV cameras, already a civil liberties concern, would do little to make women safer on the streets at night.

Socialist Alliance released this statement on May 1. *** As workers around the world take to the streets to celebrate May Day, we are sharply aware that the capitalist system has reached a point of development where it threatens the habitability of the planet on which we all live.

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