Thursday, October 18, 2007

Trent Hawkins for Senate

Trent Hawkins
Trent is a 24-year-old activist and PhD student of engineering at the University of Western Australia. He got involved in politics on campus in 2003, joining the student campaign against the invasion of Iraq, and has since consistently been involved in campaigning against the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. Trent has also served as a UWA Guild Councillor in 2005 and been involved in campaigns against the Howard government's university fee increases and voluntary student
unionism legislation.

Trent is the president of the Perth branch of the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network. He visited Venezuela in December 2006 during the country's most recent presidential election, where socialist president Hugo Chavez was re-elected in an overwhelming victory. The revolutionary transformation of Venezuelan society, where the poor are being empowered to take control over their lives, communities and resources for the first time is a major inspiration for Trent and others invoved in building the socialist movement here in Australia.

A leading youth activist in Perth over recent years, Trent is the Perth organiser of the socialist youth organisation Resistance, and organised the recent high-school student walkout against the visit of George Bush for the APEC summit in September, which hundreds of students participated in. He is currently involved in organising young people in the environment movement, and has initiated a youth and student contingent to the upcoming Walk Against Warming march, which
will be happening around the country on Sunday November 11.

Trent said, "Young people need to be at the forefront of the movement to stop climate change; it's our world and our future, and increasing numbers of young people are coming to the realisation that only radical social change will solve this problem. A Newspoll released in Februry this year showed that 94% of 18-34 year olds think climate change is a massive problem, and the Democrats' Youth Poll 2007 found that 87% of young people think the government is not doing enough to
address it.

"Young people are dismayed at the Labor Party's environmental policies, particluarly at the decision of the Tasmanian state Labor government to approve the Gunns pulp mill, and the ALP's decision at its national conference to drop its no-new-mines policy and back an expansion in the poisonous uranium mining industry.

"It is widely agreed in climate science that we have a narrow window of about 10 years to drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions in order to avoid catastrophic runaway climate change; these cuts require more than changing our lightbulbs. The government and big business advocate
individual-based solutions to reducing emissions, when the reality is that a fundamental transformation in industry and massive investment in renewable enery is what's necessary. The major parties lack the political will to take this sort of action for the sole reason that it will hurt their pockets.

"The Socialist Alliance is the only party contesting these elections that stands for the kind of radical change necessary in industry and government; we stand for people and planet before profit, and believe in democraticownership and control of the earth's resources. We don't just think we can make small changes here and there through parliament, but aim to build a mass movment of working people, on the streets, in their schools and workplaces, that can force whatever
government that's in power to act in the planet's interests – and that can ultimately change the system and build a sustainable, democratic socialist society that puts people and the environment first.

"I'm calling on all young people not just to vote for the Socialist Alliance, but to get active in the movement to stop the destruction of our planet by oil-thirsty warmongers and climate vandals: we want renewable energy now, not wars for oil!"