Our Common Cause

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.

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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