Friday, July 27, 2007

August Darlington Review column

New Vision for Australia

Queensland Aboriginal leader and Socialist Alliance Senate candidate, Sam Watson, has issued a statement outlining his vision for Australia. Here is an edited version:

“We urgently need a new vision for this country’s future.

Traditional politics—Coalition and Labor—is increasingly hostile and irrelevant to that future.

There is no hope in a Labor “opposition” that stands beside John Howard in his latest racist attack, supports anti-terrorism legislation that destroys civil liberties, and retreats from its promises to tear up Howard’s hated anti-worker and anti-union laws?

It’s time to put shameful and disgusting politics into the rubbish bin.

It’s time to enshrine the principles of justice, democracy and sustainability in a Bill of Rights, at the core of which is reconciliation with Indigenous Australia.

It’s time to build a political alternative that rejects economic rationalist “competitiveness”, which threatens our planet with a permanent tragedy of war and environmental disaster.

The alternative must put people and our planet before the profits of the giant corporations. It must learn from Indigenous tradition and live in balance with the natural world.”

If you want to work with Sam towards this vision visit: Sam’s statement is available as a sign-on petition.

These values will be in evidence at our state conference on August 11 at the MUA Hall, 2-4 Kwong Alley, North Fremantle, from 1 - 6pm.

The plenary will discuss opposing WorkChoices with speakers Chris Cain (State Secretary MUA), Steve McCartney (State President AMWU), Joe McDonald (State Assistant Secretary CFMEU) and Sue Bolton (Socialist Alliance National Trade Union Convener). Workshops on Indigenous rights, Climate Change and rights of migrant workers will follow.

Our next local event is a re-showing (due to popular demand) of Unjust Genes, a film about genetically modified food, on Sun Aug 19 at 6:30pm at the Soul Tree Café.

East/Hills branch runs candidate in Pearce!

East/Hills branch of the Socialist Alliance has preselected Annolies Truman for the seat of Pearce in the up-coming federal elections. Our information from Canberra predicts an election in November, which would give us about 3 1/2 months of campaigning.

Here's a word from Annolies: "I'll do my best to present a more humane, environmentally sustainable vision for Australia. Our overarching slogan is People before profits! Planet before profits! Our main demands are: Tear up Work Choices; No more blood for oil - Bring the troops home now; System change not climate change; Lock up war criminals, not protestors; Respect Aboriginal Land Rights.

Please join me in this campaign. While only one person represents us as a candidate, the effort is very much a collective one.

We'll need ideas for campaign opportunities and fundraising. We'll need people handing out how-to-votes on polling day. We'll need donations for the deposit and for the leaflets we'll print. We'll need letterboxers and people willing to erect a sign on their property.

Any contribution of skills, creativity, imagination, hard work, money or moral support is much welcomed.

We need people to join the Socialist Alliance and help make a difference.

Leanda Horth is joining today (welcome!) and Len Howle, who joined in April, has just donated $50. Thank you, Len!

Our next branch/election campaign committee meeting will be on August 25 at 4pm. If you're interested, contact me on 9299 6453."

Thursday, July 26, 2007

July Darlington Review: Uranium Mining and Land Rights

Over 30 people came to see our June 23 screening of A Hard Rain, a compelling anti-uranium mining/nuclear power documentary. The issues presented in the film caused a wide-ranging discussion where links were made with recent events.

Just before the film showing the federal government announced its sudden interest in saving Aboriginal children from neglect. Indigenous NT landowners successfully campaigned against the Jabiluka uranium mine and have refused to allow nuclear waste to be dumped on their land. The plan to “save Aboriginal children” shifts overall control of communities away from Aboriginal land councils to the federal government, which will be given five-year leases of their townships.

Will landowners who prevent mining now be found to be in need of extra police and army troops in their communities? Will families that object to radioactive waste dumps find their children taken away?

After consistently refusing to address the $450 million deficit in Indigenous health funding, the federal government has suddenly found funds to introduce compulsory health checks for Indigenous children. The “health checks” are linked to families being subject to surveillance and punitive sanctions that would never be tolerated in the broader community. Australia has seen all this before. The Bringing Them Home report into the stolen generations described it in heart-breaking detail.

How many times will fraudulent concern over children be used in Australian elections? The fake “children overboard” incident was manufactured to cast refugees in a subhuman light. White Australians are now being encouraged to see Aboriginal Australians in the same way.

Australia now has a police state attitude towards refugees, police state anti-terrorism laws that have been directed against Muslim citizens, police state laws targeted against construction workers and now a police state for Aborigines. Who will be next?
July’s event will be a screening and discussion of An Inconvenient Truth on Sat 21st at 4pm in St Cuthbert’s Meeting Room.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

SiCKO a film by Michael Moore

Fundraising screening for Green Left and Socialist Alliance: Opening with profiles of several ordinary Americans whose lives have been disrupted, shattered, and-in some cases-ended by health care catastrophe, SiCKO makes clear that the crisis doesn't only affect the 47 million uninsured citizens-millions of others who dutifully pay their premiums often get strangled by bureaucratic red tape as well.

After detailing just how the system got into such a mess, we are whisked around the world, visiting countries including Canada, Great Britain and France, where all citizens receive free medical benefits. Finally, Moore gathers a group of 9/11 heroes - rescue workers now suffering from debilitating illnesses who have been denied medical attention in the US. He takes them to a most unexpected place, and in addition to finally receiving care, they also engage in some unexpected diplomacy.

While Moore's SiCKO follows the trailblazing path of previous hit films, the Oscar-winning Bowling for Columbine and all-time box-office documentary champ Fahrenheit 9/1, it is also something very different for Michael Moore. SiCKO is a straight-from-the-heart portrait of the crazy and sometimes cruel U.S. health care system, told from the vantage of everyday people faced with extraordinary and bizarre challenges in their quest for basic health coverage. SiCKO uses humour to tell these compelling stories, leading the audience conclude that an alternative system is the only possible answer.

For more information on the film, visit and Thursday August 9, 6:30 pm Luna Cinema 155 Oxford Street, Leederville. Tickets: $20 solidarity / $15 waged / $12 concession. Tickets available from the Resistance Centre, 15/5 Aberdeen St, East Perth. Ph: 9218 9608

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Socialist Alliance State Conference

Building a Fighting Alternative to Howard: The 2007 Socialist Alliance State Conference will be held at the Maritime Union of Australia Hall North Fremantle, from 1 pm on Saturday August 11.

The conference will provide an opportunity for members to discuss the work of Alliance and the campaigns against the Howard government's assault on workers rights and the wider community. In addition the conference will set the framework for the Alliance's campaign in the coming federal elections.

Defend our Rights at Work-Tear up all of Work Choices!

We will open the conference with a panel discussion about the fight against the anti-union laws.

Figures for March show that corporate profits are growing at the expense workers' wages. The Howard government plans has plans for even tougher anti-union laws if it gets re-elected. The ALP has said it will keep the majority of Work Choices if it gets elected, including draconian penalties for workers who strike outside the bargaining period, a ban on pattern bargaining and special policing of building workers.

This panel will discuss options for union campaign against Work Choices, whether the anti-Work Choices campaign should be independent of the ALP, the potential for a right to strike campaign in Australia and the implications of both major parties support for a building industry police force continuing after the federal election.

Speakers include:
Chris Cain
State Secretary Maritime Union of Australia
Sue Bolton
Socialist Alliance National Trade Union Convener

The conference will also include workshops sessions on:

  • Campaigns for the rights of migrant workers
  • Indigenous rights
  • Climate Change and the campaign against nuclear power

    1 pm Saturday August 11, entry $12/$8, Maritime Union of Australia Hall 2-4 Kwong Alley North Fremantle. or 9218 9608.