The Socialist 17 October 2007 |
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Australia: Liberals v Labour - no choice for working people in election
The 2007 Australian federal (general) election is expected to take place on 24 November. The opposition Australian Labor Party, led by Kevin Rudd, will be the main challenger to the right-wing coalition government, in power since the 1996, led by prime minister John Howard's Liberals and their partners, the National Party.
Australian workers are desperate to get rid of the right wing John Howard government in the election. However, the Australian Labor Party (ALP) opposition offers no meaningful alternative and it fully supports the main neo-liberal policies of the coalition government.
The ALP's policies are not merely because of sell-outs by its leaders. The party has, especially since the 1980s, been an open party of big business. Its pitch to big business is that the ALP can sell cuts 'better' to workers, due to its historic connection to the trade union movement.
Notwithstanding the pro-big business character of the ALP, the defeat of Howard would boost the confidence of workers and young people. A victory for Howard would have the opposite effect, at least in the short term.
Workers will put pressure on an incoming Rudd ALP government to claw back what they lost under Howard. The unwillingness of Rudd to do so would lead to big conflicts between his government and the working class.
No matter who wins the election, the Socialist Party (CWI, Australia) will push harder for the creation of a new mass left-wing workers' party in Australia.
If progressive unions, active community groups, and the hundreds of thousands of left-wing voters were to unite behind such a party the level of struggle, political debate and understanding in Australia would be rapidly stepped up.
Socialist Party to contest Melbourne seat
The Socialist Party is standing Kylie McGregor for the seat of Melbourne in the upcoming election. This seat takes in the municipalities of both the right-wing run City of Melbourne, as well as the City of Yarra, which has the first ever Socialist Party councillor, Stephen Jolly.
Kylie is the president of Unite, the new militant union, established last year, to organise fast food and retail workers in Victoria.
As a co-founder and organiser of the Unite union, Kylie has been active in struggles to stop the exploitation of young workers. She campaigned to abolish low paying 'youth wages', and to increase the minimum wage for all workers.