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Joe Higgins: Speaking Tour Of Australia
JOE HIGGINS, Socialist Party (SP) member of the Dail (Ireland's Parliament) and one of the SP members recently jailed for defying the "bin tax" levy on Dublin householders, has spoken to thousands of workers in a very successful visit to Australia.
Joe spoke at public meetings in Newcastle (NSW), Perth, Sydney and Melbourne before speaking at the Socialist Party (SP) conference. In Sydney Joe spoke to around 400 shop stewards from the National Union of Workers, the main blue-collar union. Then in Melbourne, Joe spoke to 500 building site workers on the 'Eureka' project - an enormous building site and to 300 workers on another site.
Joe met union leaders from the Metal Workers' Union and the Communication Workers' Union. One delegation presented him with a ring commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Eureka Stockade - a heroic workers' uprising in Australia.
Joe attended the Australian Socialist Party national conference. SP members report: "Almost 100 people attended the conference. Joe spoke eloquently of a world in which the fate of billions of people lies in the hands of the smallest ever group of rulers, and an EU where every 'Labour' Party has decamped to the bosses.
"Joe talked about the 'Peace Process' in Northern Ireland. He explained why the only long-term and lasting solution to the national question still lies in the hands of workers, Catholic and Protestant, and the need for an independent mass party to defend working class interests."
The average age at Australia's most successful SP conference yet was young - with most delegates in their early 20's. The conference also discussed perspectives for Australia and the rest of the world.
In The Socialist 4 September 2004:
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