Monday, May 31, 2010

19 killed! Protest Israeli attack on humanitarian flotilla! 5pm Tues 1 June


5pm Tues 1 June

Wesley Church (cnr William & Hay Sts, Perth)

Socialist Alliance statement May 31, 2010
Rudd must break ties with murderous Israel
Socialist Alliance condemns the completely unwarranted and murderous attack by Israel on the civilian Flotilla carrying aid to Gaza.
Media reports on May 31 say that between 16-20 people may have been killed and more than 30 injured after hundreds of masked Israeli commandos stormed the six vessels of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in international waters off the coast of Gaza.
Al Jazeera reported that the ships are being towed by Israeli warships to the port of Haifa, instead of Ashdod, where dozens of journalists were awaiting the Flotilla's arrival.
Protests erupted in Turkey and Gaza immediately, and are being organised around Australia for June 1.
It is not yet clear who from among the hundreds of activists on board the flotilla of ships, many of which were Turkish, has been killed.
Two Australians, among them well-known Sydney Morning Herald journalist Paul McGeough, were on board the flotilla. Their whereabouts is not known.
Not since the French Secret Service blew up the Rainbow Warrior in Auckland Harbour in 1985 has there been such a brazen act of international piracy by a sovereign state. Governments all around the world have condemned the criminal actions of Somali pirates in international waters off the horn of Africa, and have even sent naval armadas to confront those pirates. The international community must now unreservedly condemn this criminal act of piracy on the high seas, and immediately sent an international naval armada to restrain the barbaric actions of the Israeli Navy.
We demand the Rudd government immediately condemn the killings of unarmed civilians, break off diplomatic relations with Israel and demand that the Flotilla is allowed to land unimpeded, and the aid delivered to the people of Gaza.
Most of the 1.5 million Palestinians living in Gaza rely on aid – which has been blocked by Israel and Egypt.
The Rudd government must demand that the siege of Gaza, imposed in 2007, be lifted immediately and that Israel recognise the democratically-elected Hamas government of Gaza.
Israel has once again violated international law and must be bought to justice for these and other war crimes.
For more information contact Pip Hinman 0401 760 577

June 1 Protests around Australia

Huge protests have broken out in Turkey and the Israeli embassy there has been stormed. There are emergency protests being organised around the world.
Sydney: Protest on Tuesday June 1, 5.30pm, Town Hall, organised by Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine.
Melbourne: There will be a protest on Tuesday June 1, 4.30pm at the State Library.
Perth: A snap protest will be held Tuesday June 1, 5pm, Wesley Church, cnr William & Hay Sts, Perth. Organised by Friends of Palestine.
Brisbane: A protest will be held on Tuesday June 1, 5-7pm, Brisbane Sq, Cnr Queen and George Sts.
Adelaide: Details coming soon - keep checking back here!
Canberra: Tuesday June 1, 5pm, outside Israeli Embassy, 6 Turrana St, Yarralumla. Plus also a rally in Garema Place on Thursday 3 June at 4.00 pm (organised by Australians for Justice and Peace in Palestine)
Al Jazeera is now reporting that up to 16 [latest: at least 19] people have been killed and more than 30 injured after hundreds of masked Israeli commandos stormed the six vessels of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in international waters off the coast of Gaza.  Al Jazeera further reports that the ships are being towed by Israeli warships to the port of Haifa instead of Ashdod where dozens of journalists were awaiting the flotilla’s arrival.
Not since the French Secret Service blew up the Rainbow Warrior in Auckland Harbour in 1985 has there been such a brazen act of international piracy by a sovereign state.  Governments all around the world have condemned the criminal actions of Somali pirates in international waters off the horn of Africa, and have even sent naval armadas to confront those pirates.  The international community must now unreservedly condemn this criminal act of piracy on the high seas, and immediately sent an international naval armada to restrain the barbaric actions of the Israeli Navy.
Friends of Palestine Western Australia has called an emergency protest outside Wesley Church for tomorrow (Tuesday) 5.00pm outside the Wesley Church on the corner of Hay & William St in the Perth CBB.
You can take action before the protest tomorrow by contacting the following:-
Israeli Prime Minister’s Office
Israeli Ministry of Defence

Israeli Members of the Knesset Presidium
Dalia Itzik
Collete Avital<>,
Mohammad Barakeh<>
Amnon Cohen <>
Yuli-Yoel Edelstein
Yitzhak Levi<>
David Rotem<>
Otniel Schneller<>
Yitzhak Ziv<>
Israeli Knesset public complaints department
Gila Rothschild
Israeli Chairman, Security and Foreign Affairs Committee
Tzachi Hanegbi
Israeli Ambassador to Australia
HE Yuval Rotem

And please ask our own government  to condemn this attack in the strongest possible terms

Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs
The Hon Stephen Smith

Australian Ambassador to Israel
HE John Larsen
Fax: +972 3 6935002

Below is a link to a BBC report which contains a feed of the Turkish TV footage of the commando assault on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.  At this stage, the Turkish camera crew’s footage is the only footage known to have been taken of the murderous attack.
Disregard the disgustingly biased BBC commentary that overlays the footage which implies the situation was so “chaotic” the Israeli naval commandos were justified in opening fire.
Note also that since this report was filed several hours ago, the IDF itself has confirmed on Israel Army Radio that at least ten people were killed.  An IDF spokesman that activists tried to seize weapons from the commandos, and that the commandos were attacked with iron bars, sticks and knives.  Yet in the very same report in Haaretz (see link below), the Israeli military is reported to have said in an official statement that “protesters…attacked [the commandos] with live fire.”  In other words, the IDF has directly contradicted itself and shown itself to be lying through its teeth.  Either the naval commandos were attacked with iron bars, sticks and knives, in which case lethal force could not have been justified, or they were attacked with live fire.  Both things by definition cannot be true.  In either case, history demonstrates beyond any shadow of a doubt that any statements made by the IDF cannot be believed for one nanosecond.
We will all have an agonising wait over the course of the next few hours before we can discover exactly what happened on board the six vessels of the Freedom Flotilla early this morning.  What we can say for certain at this stage is that an Israeli naval commando unit has carried out an illegal act of piracy in international waters that has led to the deaths of at least ten activists guilty of nothing more than attempting to deliver desperately needed humanitarian aid to the besieged and long-suffering people of Gaza.
BBC stream of Turkish TV footage of the commando raid
Haaretz report confirming at least ten deaths

Alex Bainbridge on the mining tax

Fund Renewables, tax mining
Writing in the May 27 West Australian, Paul Murray said WA Labor senators facing election will have to “explain to voters why they intend to support a tax that is so palpably against WA’s best interests”.

For Murray, who was referring to the Rudd government's proposed Resource Super Profits Tax (RSPT), it is simply a given that the interests of the people of Western Australia coincide with the interests of the big mining companies that operate in the state.

His article assumed WA Labor candidates have been “hung out to dry” by the federal ALP and even sitting members will struggle to win seats in WA.

Murray is one of many media commentators chiming in to support the shrill opposition of the billionaire mine owners to Labor's proposed new tax. They are trying to tell us that we're all in the same boat with the mining executives.

But is it really the case that ordinary people lie awake at night worrying about the profitability of the big mining companies? And should we?

On the same day Murray's column was printed, the West Australian also published parts of the Business Review Weekly’s Rich 200 list. Gina Reinhart and Andrew Forrest headed the list from WA. Both have mining fortunes.

The WA Today website reported on May 26 that those with mining fortunes are “still worth a combined $7.9 billion more than they were a year ago” despite the announcement about the new tax.

Mining company shares have certainly (but also temporarily) taken a hit. Forrest, who was headed towards the number one spot on the BRW list, had to settle for number four. In the weeks before the list was published the value of his shares went down because of the tax announcement. Nevertheless, he was still credited with a fortune of $4.24 billion.

Overall, the 200 people on the list increased their wealth by more than $20 billion — an average of more than $100 million each. Just ask yourself how many people in your street increased their personal wealth by $100 million in the past year?

Contrast this thought with the May 23 revelations by deputy prime minister Julia Gillard that domestic mining companies pay an effective company tax rate of only 17%, and that the big multinationals like Rio Tinto and BHP pay only 13%. These are lower tax rates than an average worker.

There is nothing remotely unreasonable about raising taxes on big business in general and the mining companies in particular.

The biggest problem with the Rudd government's proposed tax is that it doesn't go far enough. It is limited to the mining industry for a start (arguably there is a case for a “super profits” tax on the big banks and other industries) and will be used to fund company tax cuts.

But corporate profits have risen dramatically in recent years and the big companies already pay too little tax. Between 2005 and 2008, 40% of the biggest companies in Australia paid no tax at all.

Further, Rudd's tax is likely to be watered down in “negotiations” with the mining companies.
When compared with the corporate welfare that the mining companies already get, Rudd's tax looks decidedly modest.

Charles Berger from the Australian Conservation Foundation pointed out in the May 11 Age that mining companies are already given between $4 billion and $5 billion a year from the public purse.

This annual subsidy includes $1.7 billion in subsidised fuel, more than $1 billion in tax rebates, about a billion worth of greenhouse pollution that isn't paid for and several hundred million dollars of subsidised science.
“And that's before we've even begun to talk about government-provided roads, rail, ports, electricity networks and other infrastructure”, Berger said.

“The government plans to return far too much of the revenue raised by the resources tax to the mining industry in the form of additional exploration rebates and mining industry infrastructure, when we should be using the additional revenue to help us build a clean, sustainable economy, including investment in renewable energy and clean transport.”

This latter comment reveals the real elephant in the room — the fact that governments and corporations are acting as if there is no climate change crisis.

Take for instance the recent WA state budget, which earmarked more than $100 million towards the development of a polluting liquid natural gas processing plant on the Kimberley coast. Piers Verstegen from the WA Conservation Council said on May 27 “this development [alone] would be responsible for increasing WA's greenhouse emissions by 25%” should it go ahead.

The real challenge we face is to urgently turn around the increases of carbon emissions and towards completely de-carbonising our economy. Climate change campaign group Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) has already released a detailed plan to move to 100% renewable energy by 2020 at a cost of less than $40 billion a year.

In one sense this is a lot of money. However, it is only an eighth of the gross operating surplus of private corporations in Australia in the past financial year. A quarter of it could be obtained simply by ending funding to fossil fuel industries, which an April 30 University of Technology Sydney report calculated at $10 billion a year. Moreover, the measures promoted by BZE are job-rich.

To avert the looming global warming crisis, money must be invested in public transport, retrofitting buildings and renewable energy, among other things. However, in tandem with this, fossil fuel industries need to be phased out. This means mechanisms are needed to give society the power to determine not only how profits are distributed, but how they are made.

The mining companies squeal about what they will lose from Rudd’s moderate tax, but a lot more must be taken from them if we are to avert the danger of losing our entire planet.

[Alex Bainbridge is the Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of Perth. Contact Socialist Alliance to donate or assist the campaign. Phone 9218 9608 or 0413 976 638 for more information.]

Friday, May 28, 2010

Introducing Socialist Alliance candidates

Read more:

Refugee Rights vigil Friday 4 June

Snap Action at Perth Immigration Detention Centre.
 Corner Baker & McComb Roads - opposite the boom gates to the short term parking at the Perth Domestic Airport.  Redcliffe WA 61044june_vigil

Short vigil on the lawn outside the PIDC: 6:30 - 8:30 pm

Bring your ideas, outrage, compassion, knowledge, music, etc.

Don't forget also the World Refugee Day Rally

Resettlement not Racism
Dignity not Detention
Wesley Church - cnr William & Hay Streets, Perth
head to our facebook event page to RSVP: World Refugee Day Rally

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sanna Andrew for Fremantle

Respected Hilton activist Sanna Andrew runs for Socialist Alliance in seat of Fremantle

The Fremantle branch of Socialist Alliance selected local activist Sanna Andrew as its candidate for the federal seat of Fremantle in late April, and this week formally launches its campaign. Andrew said, "I'm looking forward to putting real solutions to the ecological and social problems facing our country instead of the racist refugee bashing that gets served up by Labor and Liberal every time an election approaches." 

Andrew is a mental health support worker, member of the Australian Services Union (ASU) state executive, Aboriginal rights activist, and a single parent living in Homewest house.

Socialist Alliance candidate in the previous federal election and Fremantle Councillor Sam Wainwright commented, "I'm really pleased to pass the baton to Sanna and we are very proud to have her represent us. Kevin Rudd likes to bang on about working families but doesn't really understand the challenges faced by people who are struggling. Sanna doesn't just know what it's like; she's an experienced and gutsy fighter for the rights of workers and all people who are oppressed, marginalised and disadvantaged."

Andrew is an active member of the Aboriginal Rights Coalition, the Deaths in Custody Watch Committee and the mother of two Nyoongar children. She is passionate about achieving reconciliation based on respect and justice for indigenous Australians. She said, "The Rudd government's apology to the stolen generations was a great step forward, but the words haven't been matched by actions. There's been no compensation to the stolen generations, the draconian and racist measures in the Howard-era NT intervention have not been scrapped and two decades later the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Black Deaths in Custody have still not been implemented."

The Socialist Alliance will also be running strongly on its call for a transition to 100% renewable energy for stationary electricity production by 2020. Andrew said, "According to leading climate scientists from the Potsdam Institute the fairest way to ensure we stop catastrophic runaway global warming would be for the industrialised countries to achieve a zero emissions economy by 2020. Rudd's failed CPRS is not better than nothing. It still sets us on a course for mass species extinction. The targets have to be based on the science, not what the big coal barons are prepared to cop. Both Rudd and Abbott are completely unwilling and incapable of taking the action that is necessary. Here in WA the Barnett government has joined in with its suicidal decision to bring another five coal fired power stations on line. This must be stopped."

Sanna Andrew knows how community service workers are underpaid and undervalued. As an active member of the ASU she is helping to organise community support for a pay equity case going before Fair Work Australia which aims to test the new Equal Remuneration Laws. Andrew said, "Because caring for the elderly, people with disabilities or mental illness and other community sector work has traditionally been seen as women's work; it has always been undervalued and underpaid. If we win this case we will then need to force the government to properly fund these services so that their workers can be paid the wages and get the respect and dignity they deserve."

The ASU is organising an "Equal Pay Day of Action" at 11am on Thursday June 10 in support of its struggle and Andrew called on the community to join the ASU at Solidarity Park, behind Parliament house to support them on the day.

While Andrew welcomes the support given to the community workers equal pay case by Deputy PM Julia Gillard, she slammed the government for failing to abolish all of the hated WorkChoices regime.

She said, "Labor got elected on the back of the Your Rights at Work campaign and promised to rip up WorkChoices. Instead they rebadged it and kept about 70% of it. We didn't vote for WorkChoices Lite. Disadvantaged workers with less bargaining power are still being ripped off. Meanwhile Gillard actually boasts about retaining the draconian powers of Howard's ABCC that strips away the civil liberties of blue collar workers and treats them like terrorists; all in clear violation of the very International Labour Organisation conventions that Australia is a signatory to."

Regarding the campaign by the mining bosses against the proposed tax on mining super profits Andrew commented, "The way these bloated billionaires carry on you'd think they were the most downtrodden people in our society. The real problem with the tax is two-fold. Firstly it doesn't go far enough, and secondly it's being used to fund a cut in the overall tax rate for other big business; that is welfare for the rich. The revenues from this tax should be used to improve public health, fund the transition to renewable energy or all the other things we desperately need done. As for the mining companies threat to divest, we should call their bluff with this blackmail and tell them that if they do, their assets will fall into public ownership. That way all of their profits would be returned to the community, not just 40%.”

She added, "Many countries maintain 100% public ownership of their mineral wealth. Yet in this country if you dare to suggest we should reverse the three decade long bi-partisan march to privatisation of just about everything, you're treated like you're crazy. It's actually the current situation that's crazy.  We're in the middle of a mining boom yet we still don't have universal dental care, adequate public housing or public transport or pay community workers what they deserve. Where's the money going to come from to do these things unless we take back some of that mineral wealth for ourselves?"

For more comment contact Sanna Andrew 0405 208 943 or email

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Democracy for Thailand

Democracy for Thailand

6.30pm, Thurs 27 May 2010

Perth Activist Centre, 15 / 5 Aberdeen St, East Perth
(next to McIver station)
Ph 9218 9608, 0413 976 638

This meeting will feature a talk and discussion about the struggle for democracy in Thailand and the solidarity measures we can take in Australia today. Discussion will be led by Socialist Alliance member Rob McKenzie.




To all Perth citizens in solidarity with the struggle for democracy in Thailand

As you all know, in recent weeks the military-appointed dictatorship of Abhisit Vejjajiva has slaughtered some 80 Thai civilians in its efforts to cling to power. 

Last Wednesday, under orders from the dictatorship, the Thai military assaulted the red shirt protest encampment in the centre of Bangkok, in the process murdering another 15 civilians and taking into custody many of the key leaders of the democracy movement.  The New York-based Human Rights Watch has raised grave concerns about the safety and well-being of those leaders.  Currently some 114 red shirt activists are being held in custody, their location unknown, their treatment unknown.

The pro-democracy red shirt movement - which has fought so heroically these last few months in its campaign to dissolve parliament and force new elections - has the overwhelming support of the rural poor and the urban working class, who for so long have been deprived of the most basic necessities of life. 


An Australian citizen, Conor Purcell, who has been living in Bangkok for several months and been part of the pro-democracy movement, was arrested this morning.  He has already been convicted of overstaying his visa and is to be charged under the emergency decree imposed by the Vejjajiva dictatorship in April.  Under this decree, Purcell potentially faces a two-year jail sentence.


AVSN Brigade reportback 16 June 2010

The "Good Oil" on the Venezuelan Revolution

AVSN brigade reportback by:
Adrian Evans
Deputy Branch Secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia and brigade participant

Adrian was one of the representatives of a range of Australian trade unions who participated in the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network’s May Day 2010 brigade to Venezuela. At this public forum, Adrian he will talk about the radical changes that are being carried out by Venezuela’s workers and communities.

6pm, Wed 16 June
MUA Hall, 2-4 Kwong Alley, North Fremantle

Organised by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network
Ph Barry 9433 6946, Nancy 0434 382 450

Monday, May 24, 2010

Cuban Foreign Minister to speak in Perth 7 June 2010

The Australia-Cuba Friendship Society
invites you to a public talk with

Cuban Foreign Affairs Minister
His Excellency Bruno Rodriguez-Parrilla

Speaking on:
Cuba Today &
Australia-Cuba relations

Minister Bruno Rodriguez-Parilla has a degree in law and worked as a professor of International Public Law at the University of Havana. From February 1995 - December 2003 he served as the permanent Representative of Cuba to the United Nations. From 2003 - 2004 he was Deputy Foreign Minister in charge of Latin America and the Carribbean and for information and communication. In 2004, he was appointed First Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs. He led the humanitarian medical missions to Haiti in 2004 and to Pakistan in 2005-2006.

6:30pm, Monday 7 June
Social Sciences Lecture Theatre, UWA
(entrance: carpark No 4 off Hackett Drive)

For more information: ACFS on 0419 812 872 or 0421 113 343
Email: or

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Perth march for same-sex marriage rights 15 May 2010

Almost 250 people marched in Perth for same-sex marriage rights on 15 May 2010 to mark the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO). The video above can be viewed on YouTube at:


Toxic fire exposes working class community

A near-disaster involving toxic waste in the southern Perth suburb of Hamilton Hill has revealed that working class neighbourhoods are exposed to potential carcinogens local resident and Socialist Alliance candidate Sanna Andrew said.

The Fremantle Steam Laundry in Hamilton Hill burst into flames in the early hours of May 13. Fire fighters ordered some nearby residents to evacuate because the factory had a stockpile of the dry cleaning chemical perchloroethylene (PCE).

A Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) spokesperson was quoted in the May 13 on-line edition of the West Australian as saying that there was a concern about stocks of “berchloroethylene” at the factory. People living in a 1km radius were advised to close doors and windows and turn off evaporative air conditioners.

“Unfortunately it is all too common in WA that toxic chemicals are piled up in working class areas”, Andrew told Green Left Weekly.

“DEC said that one of the chemicals is berchloroethylene”, Andrew said. “They — or the West Australian — couldn’t even spell the name correctly; it is really perchloroethylene, which is terribly dangerous.”

DEC understated the danger, she said. “DEC said that the chemical doesn’t burn, which is true. But when it gets hot it breaks down into other products which the DEC said are hazardous when breathed in.”

“That is the greatest understatement of all time! Heated PCE breaks down into phosgene, one of the poison gases used in World War I. When it isn’t heated to a deadly gas it is one of the worst carcinogens around.”

Hours after the DEC statement the Fire and Emergency Services issued an all-clear, saying that the PCE stacks had been isolated from the fire.

This isn’t the first time that Perth residents have faced a PCE emergency, Andrew said. “In 2001 about a half a million litres of this stuff and worse went up in a massive disaster in Bellevue, a working class area in Perth’s eastern suburbs.”

“There was a Parliamentary inquiry into that, which studiously avoided talking to any of the workers employed at that site, so the full story never got heard.”

Since the Bellevue inquiry the situation has not improved, Andrew believes.

“The government has avoided facing up to dealing with these chemicals. There is no dump for them, there is no legal disposal in WA, nobody knows how much is piled up in the back of suburban dry cleaning shops or stored in factories like this one.

“You never hear of stockpiles of these chemicals in Peppermint Grove or Cottesloe, but it is relatively common in working class suburbs. They are only ever found after a disaster happens. We need a royal commission into toxic wastes in WA and if the government won’t agree, then we need the trade unions to take up the issue.”

PHOTO: Sanna Andrew at the May Day March

[This article first appeared in Green Left Weekly #837.]

Buswell-Carles affair shouldn't distract us from building opposition to Barnett

Truth is stranger than fiction! What else can describe the extraordinary revelation by Fremantle Greens MP Adele Carles on April 25 of her four-month affair with Liberal Party MP and now ex-treasurer Troy Buswell, and her subsequent resignation from the Greens on May 6?

For some commentators in the corporate media, the pity of the whole thing is that Buswell’s “considerable talents” will go to waste and his potential to succeed Colin Barnett as premier has been undone by his bad judgment.

Actually, Buswell's departure is a blessing. He has a deserved reputation as a sexist boofhead for his harassment of female staffers because of the infamous “bra snapping” and “chair sniffing” episodes.

The real tragedy of the saga is that it dramatically strengthens the hand of the ALP in its bid to take back the seat of Fremantle. This would shift politics back to the right; to the detriment of every campaign for workers rights’, the environment and social justice.

Labor got a well-deserved kick up the bum in the 2009 by-election, won by Carles, for having taken the residents of this “safe” seat for granted.

It was always going to be a tough battle for Carles to hang on to the seat in a general election, deprived of the special hype and big bungles by Labor that surrounded the by-election, in which the Greens claimed their first lower house seat in Western Australia.

However, she would have had the benefits of incumbency and the starting point of a high primary vote in 2009. Also, the ALP’s performance as a so-called opposition to the Barnett government had been underwhelming to say the least.

But with the fall-out from the affair and without a party to support her, it’s pretty hard to imagine Carles will be re-elected.

The Greens now face the uphill struggle of winning the seat with a new candidate who may have to compete with Carles, as well as overcoming Labor. The ALP power brokers could not in their wildest dreams have imagined this piece of good fortune falling in their laps.

Carles was quick to point out that her affair had never compromised her vote in parliament. To her credit, she has been one of the most outspoken critics of some recent cases of police brutality and the state government’s proposal for draconian police “stop and search” powers.

However, Labor will inevitably seek to cast doubt on her preparedness to stand up to the Liberals, and unfortunately, in a sexist society such as ours, this sort of judgment weighs more heavily on women.

Furthermore, the reality of this double standard means that, regardless of her real policy record and performance, many progressive voters who would have dismissed an affair, will not be able to get past her decision to pursue an extended relationship with a man whose disrespect for women is so well known.

A sad irony of this is that on a whole range of policy positions, it’s really Labor that’s routinely “getting into bed” with the Liberals.

Labor has already indicated it will support the government’s Public Sector Reform Bill, which proposes to sub-contract or privatise a huge swathe of human services. In a letter to a Civil Service Association delegate, Peter Tinley the Labor member for the neighbouring seat of Willagee confirmed that, "Labor will support the Bill in Parliament and will also move a number of amendments that will strengthen the Bill".

Under Barnett’s plan, public servants whose jobs are outsourced will be compelled to enter the private and not-for-profit community sector, even if this means taking a 20% pay cut. While Labor's amendments would soften the “take a pay cut or face the sack” provisions of Barnett's legislation, they don't oppose the march to privatisation as such.

In all the noise and gossip about the Carles-Buswell affair, the failure of the ALP to oppose outright this assault on public sector workers has gone fairly unnoticed; which is just how Labor likes it.
Carles resigned from the Greens, telling the media that she was unhappy with the way the other Green MPs, particularly Giz Watson and Alison Xamon, had pushed her to go public about the affair against her will.

They disputed this version of events, saying that although they had urged her to end the affair when they found out about it at the start of the year, it was Carles’ decision to go public with it.

I won’t pretend to know who said what in the Greens’ internal decision-making processes, or judge how they handled this issue. They were clearly in a very awkward and damaging situation. Furthermore, the affair was rapidly becoming public knowledge anyway.

Whatever the case, Carles' decision to resign from the Greens doesn't help the situation.

In the meantime, the Barnett government is continuing its assault on public sector workers, allowing the state’s network of rail freight lines to crumble into the dust, destroying our civil liberties and accelerating the suicidal rush to climate catastrophe by bringing five more coal-fired power stations online.

You’ll struggle to find much mention of all this in the corporate media at the moment.

But despite the setback and distractions of recent events, this needs to be our major focus.

We in the Socialist Alliance are willing to work with everyone, including Carles and the Greens, to build the biggest community opposition we can to stop the regressive policies of the Barnett government.

[This article is by Fremantle councillor and Socialist Alliance member Sam Wainwright and was written for Green Left Weekly #837. Wainwright was also the Socialist Alliance candidate in the 2009 Fremantle by-election.]

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Friends of Palestine defeats censorship attempt

[Green Left Weekly article by Alex Bainbridge, Perth]

The Friends of Palestine WA (FOPWA) has received confirmation from the Town of Vincent that a booking of the North Perth Town Hall has been reinstated.

FOPWA made a booking on the hall in early April to stage a production of Caryl Churchill's play Seven Jewish Children. The play dramatises the answers by Jewish parents to questions by their children about aspects of Jewish and/or Israeli history including last year's assault on Gaza that killed 1400 Palestinians.

In order to avoid critical discussion of Israel's role in that episode, the Jewish Community Council has gone to extreme lengths to try to prevent the play from being performed in WA. This is despite the fact that the play has had many prestigious performances including it premier at London's Royal Court Theatre, Victoria's State Library (to an audience of 700) and a recent performance in Israel.

The JCC falsely claim that the play is anti-semitic. The JCC campaign against the play resulted in the cancellation of planned performances at Kulcha (in Fremantle) and at the Hale School.

On April 19, FOPWA was informed that its hall booking had been cancelled due to ``electrical problems'' at the hall caused by a storm in March. This rationale was exposed as false when FOPWA members anonymously were told by the booking office that the hall was available for hire on the days before and after the scheduled performance.

Vincent CEO John Giorgi has since confirmed that there was a complaint made about the play and that a staff member cancelled the booking using ``real but minor'' electrical problems as the excuse.

A lobbying campaign by Friends of Palestine proved successful and Giorgi has confirmed that the booking was cancelled in error and has been reinstated, albeit with new conditions including the onerous requirement that four registered security guards are hired for the night.

Giorgi told FOPWA and local media: ``The issue is, does local government have a role to censor speech? The answer is no.''

Seven Jewish Children will be performed at the North Perth Town Hall on May 15 at 7pm followed by discussion about art and censorship.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Socialist Alliance candidates at May Day 2010

Socialist Alliance candidates Alex Bainbridge (Perth), Sanna Andrew (Fremantle) and Ben Peterson (senate) all took part in the May Day march on May 2, 2010.

Socialist Alliance helped make May Day a chance to challenge the Barnett government's plans to privatise the public sector and attack working conditions.

Thousands of people took part in the the parade.

Socialist Alliance distributed a leaflet titled "May Day 2010: Let's get serious about building an alternative to the ALP" which also featured a section on fighting Barnett's attacks on the public sector. The leaflet can be downloaded from here.