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