Thursday, February 28, 2013

Farida Iqbal speaking at Perth Town Hall debate

This video is from the West TV Perth Town Hall candidates debate on 26 February 2013 featuring Socialist Alliance candidate Farida Iqbal.

UWA: Feminism in the 21st Century

Socialist Alliance and Resistance campus forum

Feminism in the 21st Century

* Violence against women and how to fight it

* Feminism and Socialism - what's the connection?

* Women's rights activism in 2013

Guest speaker: Farida Iqbal

1pm Wed 13 March

Social Sciences G.27 (Seminar Rm 5)
Attend on Facebook:

Organised by Socialist Alliance and Resistance at UWA *

NDU: Stop violence against women

A forum organised by Notre Dame Socialist Alliance club and the NDU Students Association

How can we end violence against women?

Christie Woodleigh
How can we end violence against women?

Chris Jenkins
Why men need feminism?

Thurs 7 March

12:20pm, Malloy Courtyard, Notre Dame Uni

Ph Christie for more info: 0420 944 651

Attend on Facebook:

Occupy Cottesloe - Colin Barnett has got to go

[Information below supplied by Occupy Perth.]

Saturday 2nd March from 4pm,
Cottesloe Beach Foreshore,
Marine Parade, Cottesloe, Western Australia

Song and Dance and a call to action to avert another 4 years of corporate Government failing the people and environment of W.A.

Occupy Cottesloe will see a diverse range of community groups and individuals speaking out on key failures of the Barnett Government to deliver the services and protection demanded by people inWA.

Cottesloe beach will ring to the chants of “Colin Barnett has got to go”!

Speakers will include Linley Lutton of the City Gatekeepers, Greens senator Scott Ludlam, Jess Beckerling of the WA Forrest Alliance, Max Hipkins, independent candidate for the seat of Nedlands, Dawn Jecks from Hands Off Point Peron, Indigenous activist Marianne Mackay and many others. Interspersed with the speakers will be musicians and other entertainment.

A common concern of gathered groups is the erosion, the corruption of our democracy by big money and corporate interests.

People have had enough of the exploitation and destruction of our precious environment, the state’s housing and homelessness crisis, a fragile two-speed economy, rising wealth inequality , among other problems.

Occupy Perth has organized this event to highlight the many critical issues that are not being addressed by the two major parties.

Colin Barnett’s Liberals want the media to focus on shopping hours and a pretty foreshore so we aren’t embarrassed when his high flying mates come to visit the West.

We demand that access to healthcare and housing take precedent over access to 24/7 shopping, and miners’ access to sacred ground.

We have chosen to target Colin Barnett as the premier and the man responsible for overseeing a government which has absolutely failed to meet the peoples expectations on a wide variety of issues.

As such we are bringing this event to Cottesloe to encourage locals to use their vote to send Barnett and others in parliament a message - West Australian citizens will not be taken for granted by our politicians, we can and will remove you from your seat if you do so.

The event will be covered extensively online, and we look forward to facilitating your coverage with access to speakers, video and pictures.

Following is a full list of speakers;

Alex Jones - Save Our Trees
Alex Whisson - Perth Indymedia
Amber Maxwell - Equal Love
Ben Taylor - Welcome to Country
Chris Jenkins - Facilitate People's Mic
Claire McKinnon - No Fracking Way
Dawn Jecks – Hands Off Point Peron
Janet Grogan - Say No to GMO / Monsato
Jess Beckerling - WA Forrest Alliance
Kamala Emannuel - Free Speech WA
Katie Batty - Animal Rights Advocates
Linda Rogers - Save Our Subiaco
Linley Lutton - Waterfront Development
Marianne Mackay – Indigenous Activist
Max Hipkins - Independent Candidate Seat of Nedlands
Mia Pepper - Ban Uranium Mining Permanently (BUMP)
Sarah Ross - RRAN
Senator Scott Ludlam - Greens
Tony Costa – former mayor of Subiaco
Vasu Barnao - CREW - Gnangara Mound
Zoe Bush - Feminist Action Network


Dennis Simmons - Indigenous singer songwriter
Eva Harper - Singer/song writer
Jeff Hewitt - Comedian
Jupiter Zeus - Psychedelic Space Rock
h2wo - the CREW band
Maar Koodjal - Indigenous dance group
Selekt Few - Hip Hop Duo

Media contacts;

Karun Cowper – 0423972949
Victoria Martin - 0410589064
Facebook event page -

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Homestretch: Socialist Alliance election campaign calendar

There are a number of events coming up in the final week and a half of the election campaign, and we'd love your support for them.

In particular, we'd like to invite you to our election campaign rally on this Friday March 1. It will be held 5:30pm at Pioneer Park (next to the Fremantle station).

Other events coming up include:

Tues 26 February
* West TV, Town Hall style meet the candidates forum. Support candidate Farida Iqbal (6:30pm, Perth Town Hall)
* Fremantle Candidates Forum Support candidate Sanna Andrew. (6:15pm, Tannock Hall, Cnr Cliff & Mouatt Streets)

Wed 27 February
* Perth Socialist Alliance and Resistance meeting (6:30pm, Perth Activist Centre, 15/5 Aberdeen St, Perth)

Thurs 28 February
* Willagee Candidates forum. Support candidate Sam Wainwright (6:45pm, foyer, Hilton Community Centre)
* Environment Matters - State election forum (6:30pm, Murdoch Lecture Theatre, Arts Building, UWA)

Fri 1 March
* Socialist Alliance election rally: Mining wealth for people not profits (5:30pm, Pioneer Park - next to Fremantle station)

Sat 2 March
* Occupy Cottesloe (4pm, Cottesloe Beach)

Sun 3 March
* "Let's frack parliament" - rally against gas fracking (2pm, WA Parliament House, Harvest Terrace, West Perth)

Sat 9 March
* POLLING DAY - can you help hand out how-to-vote information (all day in Fremantle, Perth & Willagee)

* Election Night Party (from 6pm, 21a Jarvis St, O'Connor)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Rally and concert for the Kimberley

20,000 people turned out to hear the John Butler Trio, Missy Higgins and Bob Brown among others in a concert and rally and march for the Kimberley in Fremantle on February 24, 2013.

It was a massive outpouring of community opposition to the Barnett government's blatant attempts to steal Aboriginal land, ride roughshod over local community opposition to the project and to trash the environmental qualities of the area around James Price Point.

Less widely known but of major concern is the fact that this project - regardless of where the gas is processed (JPP, off shore, Pilbara, etc) - if it goes ahead will contribute between 30-40 million tonnes of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere every year. On this basis alone the project should be rejected in favour of investment in renewable energy and other measures to reduce carbon pollution.

The video above is from Green Left TV.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Support the WA Nurses Strike!

The 10,000 nurses and midwives involved in industrial action across Western Australia have been threatened with disciplinary action and deregistration by the state’s Director General if they go ahead with a planned 24 hour strike on Monday. The industrial dispute, which for the first time in 12 years has seen the closure of beds across the state’s public hospitals, is set to intensify in the coming week as the State Government continues to ignore nurses’ demands on wages and conditions.

The Barnett Liberal government has claimed that it cannot negotiate with the nurses’ union while acting as a ‘caretaker’ government ahead of the March 9 state election. ANF WA secretary Mark Olson has challenged the premier’s claim, accusing the state government of refusing to meet with the union for months, and promising to make nurses pay a key battle ground for the upcoming state election.

Despite Western Australia being the most expensive state to live in, wages for WA nurses have fallen to now stand 6th behind most of Australia’s states and territories. To alleviate this margin, the ANF is demanding from the government a 20% pay increase over the next three years. The Liberal government has previously set a limit to pay increases to 3% yearly, which Mr Olson claims will not even keep up with the rate of inflation, and will consequently mean a further cut in nurses’ wages. Other issues relating to working conditions and charging nurses for staff parking ($20/day at Midland Hospital) are other important points of dispute.

In face of the ongoing unwillingness of the Liberal government to act on this issue, the ANF is calling on all its members to stand up against the increasing efforts by the Director General’s office to intimidate the union, and to make Monday a strong message that the nurses will not allow this issue to stand idle, but rather the campaign will continue to grow until a decent wage is won.

For more details visit the ‘WA Nurses Shake the Tree’ Facebook page.

[This solidarity message was written by Socialist Alliance member and nursing student Chris Jenkins.]

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Sam Wainwright speaking at sustainable transport forum

Full story from the forum is here here.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Forum: Meeting the challenge posed by Geert Wilders and the far right

Public forum after Geert Wilders' visit cancelled

Meeting the challenged posed by Geert Wilders and the far right

This forum will discuss the issues raised by the Geert Wilders visit to Australia in the wake of the cancellation of his Perth public forum and his false claim that his free speech has been undermined.
In particular, it will focus on strategies for successfully defeating the far right.

Wed  20 Feb 2013
6:30pm Perth Activist Centre
15/5 Aberdeen St, Perth (next to McIver station)
Ph 9218 9608, 0413 976 638.

Monday, February 18, 2013

What Socialists Stand For

Socialist Alliance and Resistance are running "What Socialists Stand For" sessions for new and prospective members as part of campus orientation week activities.

These will be running:

  • 4pm Tues 19 Feb - Perth Activist Centre (15/5 Aberdeen St, Perth - next to McIver station)
  • 12:30pm Thurs 21 Feb - Notre Dame University (meet at the Socialist Alliance/Resistance stall)
  • 1:30pm Fri 22 Feb - University of WA (meet at the Socialist Alliance/Resistance stall)

We're also encouraging all our members and supporters to attend the forum on combatting the far right on Wednesday night. Meet in the Activist Centre at 6pm.

Don't hesitate to give us a call on 9218 9608 or 0413 976 638 if you want more info.

Flying Foam Massacre commemorated in Perth and around Australia

The photos above are from the Perth commemoration of the Flying Foam Massacre.

The round up below is by organiser Mark Lawrence

West Pilbara elders lead first Flying Foam Massacre Remembrance Day,

A minute's silence on the Burrup

On Sunday17 February, for the first time in 145 years, black and white Australians jointly organised a national commemoration day of one of Australia’s largest massacres known as the Flying Foam Massacre.

At 11 am on King Bay, Burrup Peninsula, 1500 km north of Perth on the Pilbara Coast, site of the first Flying Foam massacre, Wong-goo-tt-oo, Yaburara-Mardudhunera, and Yindjibarndi elders observed one minute's silence for more than 60 Yaburara men women and children murdered there by Western Australian police and colonists on 17 February 1868.

The 1868 Flying Foam Massacre was in fact a series of massacres that lasted from 17 February to May 1868, on the Burrup and on other islands and in sea passage surrounding was then known as Dampier Island.

It is believed that 150 Yaburara men women and children were shot in cold blood in a genocide planned to terrorise all the tribes of Australia’s North West. Only 6 Yaburara people, all men, are known to have survived.

Elders and members of the neighbouring tribes – Yaburara-Mardudhunera, Wong-goo-tt-oo, Ngarluma and Yindjibarndi organised Flying Foam Massacre Remembrance Day to honour the murdered Yaburara , and to show unity in the campaign for World Heritage listing for the Yaburara's legacy, the Murujuga/Dampier archipelago rock art precinct.

Wider community supporters present included cultural heritage specialist Dr Ken Mulvaney, and Pilbara representatives of the major political parties.

Wong-goo-tt-oo elder Wilfred Hicks said that the unity shown in the West Pilbara and across Australia for Flying Foam Massacre Remembrance Day was encouraging, and will be built upon in the months ahead,

National remembrance events

As well as at the King Bay Massacre Site, commemorations were held at the Australian Parliament in Canberra, and at the New Wales and Western Australian Parliaments in Sydney in Perth, and at the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne, seat of of the Australian Parliament from 1901 to 1926.

Commemorations were also held in Adelaide at the Tandanya Indigenous Arts Centre's annual Spirit Festival, in Brunswick, Melbourne,in Tarradale in the Central Victorian Highlands, and elsewhere. Solidarity messages came from England, the Isle of Wight, New Zealand, Chile, the USA and elsewhere.

Stand Up for the Burrup campaign coordinator Mark Lawrence said that the national Flying Foam Massacre Remembrance Day events showed that people throughout Australia and internationally are aware that the Australian and Western Government's claims to sovereignty over the Burrup and Dampier Archipelago are unlawful, being based on a crime against humanity.

Maritime Union members observe minute's silence

Members of the Maritime Union of Australia at Mermaid Marine near Karratha and the P{rt Of Dampier showed solidarity with Ngarda Ngarli elders by holding a minutes silence at 11 am and 11 pm respectively.

Stand Up for the Burrup campaign coordinator Mark Lawrence, a lawyer and former national union official, said that elders in Roebourne were moved by the MUA members' spontaneous show of support.

“This is the first time workers have taken solidarity action on the job in support of the Stand Up for the Burrup campaign.

That workers in the Pilbara have taken such action is demonstrates the extent of community support for World Heritage protection for the spiritual and cultural heritage of the Ngarda Ngarli peoples.”


Nyungar Senior Elder Aunty Mingli Wanjuri welcomed 30 supporters to a commemoration at the Western Australian Parliament, on Whadjuk Nyungar land.

Aunty Mingli spoke of the unrecorded massacres of her Wanjuri people near Bremmer Bay in Western Australia’s South West, and of the need to raise awareness of the the history of massacres in Australia.

Supporters lay 130 white crosses on the Parliament steps to signify each of the Yaburara victims of the Flying Foam Massacre.

The Catholic Church was represented by Father Alfonsis Savrakis, former Chaplain to the Western Australian Aboriginal communities and long-term Stand Up for the Burrup supporter.

Other speakers included Stand Up for the Burrup campaign coordinator Mark Lawrence, Perth organiser Seamus Doherty, and indigenous rights activist John McBain.


Supporters from the ACT, NSW and Queensland met at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra to remember the 145th anniversary of the Flying Foam Massacre and show their support for the Stand Up for the Burrup campaign. .

Organiser Laurence 'Sprocket' Coughlin said “like the heritage listed Aboriginal Tent Embassy, the Burrup needs heritage protection, through the World Heritage List”.

Aboriginal Tent Embassy activists around Australia have shown consistent support for the Stand Up for the Burrup campaign, with photo-shoot actions at the Canberra, Brisbane and Nyoongar Embassies in recent months.


In Adelaide, a commemoration was held at the Tandanya Indigenous Cultural Centre's annual Spirit Festival with visiting artists and performers and elders from many communities in South Australia and elsewhere showed support by being photographed with Stand Up for the Burrup signs.

Organiser Tanya Hunter countrywoman Tanya Hunter spent two days at the festival explaining the Flying Foam Massacre to people from around Australia.

Some spoke of the massacres in the own lands, and the need for white Australia to confront these historical truths. All expressed support for the campaign for World heritage Listing for the Yaburara peoples' legacy, the Burrup rock art.


Sydney's Flying Foam Massacre Day Remembrance Day events began at the NSW Parliament House at midday, with speeches from Stand Up for the Burrup organiser Paddy Tobin about his other rock art passion, the cave art at Bambara, NSW, and Occupy Sydney's Lanz Priestley about the Flying Foam Massacre and corresponding massacres on the East Coast.

Artist Jude Williams brought a new banner commemorating the Flying Foam Massacre, a revitalised Stand Up for the Burrup banner, and new t-shirts and hats carrying our message.

After the Parliament House action, supporters carried the banners to Sydney Harbour and the Opera House for more photo-shoots and more opportunities for community education about the Flying Foam Massacre and the need to protect the Burrup sacred rock art.


Victorian organiser Davie Thomason and a group of supporters held their Flying Foam Massacre Remembrance at the World Heritage Listed Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton, seat of the Australian Parliament from 1901 to1926, ad the place at which both the Terra Nullius and White Australia policies were made into federal law.

Cathryn Murdoch and friends organised a ceremony for the Yaburara's memory at Allison Monkhouse in Brunswick, including selecting a symbolic object be sent to Western Australia and gifted to Ngarda Ngarli elders.

In Tarradale, Central Victorian Highlands, Robbie Noakes and friends organised another solidarity action, showing their respect for the Yaburara victims of the massacre.

Mark Lawrence said that at each location, black and white Australians gathered to mark the occasion with a minute’s silence.

This commemorations were part of the Stand Up for the Burrup campaign which is seeking World Heritage Listing for the Burrup Peninsula and Dampier Archipelago rock art precinct.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Socialist Alliance election material

Sanna Andrew for Fremantle

 DOWNLOAD PDF FILE (for Fremantle)

Farida Iqbal for Perth

Sam Wainwright for Willagee
DOWNLOAD PDF FILE (for Willagee)

Socialist Alliance election rally: Mining wealth for people not profits

Join the Socialist Alliance for an election rally to support people not profit

If you support more public housing, better public transport and renewable energy, we have a plan that can make it happen: Take the big mining companies out of the hands of the super rich billionaires and into the hands of the people!

Speakers include:
Sam Wainwright (candidate for Willagee)
Farida Iqbal (candidate for Perth)
Sanna Andrew (candidate for Fremantle)

5:30pm Fri 1 March
Pioneer Park (next to Fremantle Station)

Ph 9218 9608, 0413 976 638.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Protest Geert Wilders in Perth: No to racism, no to Islamophobia

PERTH: Wed 20 February
**** UPDATE: Geert Wilders has cancelled his forum in Perth but there will be a forum on tonight for any anti-racists who wants to discuss the issues raised ****

Attend on Facebook for updates:

***We understand that the location of Wilders' speech will be kept secret until shortly before the event. His supporters claim that this is for his safety, but in reality it is because he is scared that anti-racists will outnumber his racist supporters. Please add yourself to this event to get updates as we know more details***

Rfugee Rights Action Network in Perth is calling all anti-racists to support a protest outside the speech by Dutch fascist, Geert Wilders.

Wilders is the founder and leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV), and campaigns against what he calls the “Islamisation of the Netherlands”.

Wilders will be using this visit to spread his message of hate and intolerance. His views on immigration and Islam, including ending all immigration from Muslim countries and a 1000 euro licence to wear the hijab (which he called a “rag head tax”), contribute to the hysterical anti-Muslim climate generated by the War on Terror.

Politicians and the mainstream media have promoted both Islamophobia and wider xenophobic attitudes. They will inevitably give Geert Wilders saturation coverage when he arrives, helping to legitimise his abhorrent ideas.

We believe there needs to be a large, broadly-based show of opposition to Geert Wilders through a peaceful protest outside every appearance he makes in Australia. This is one of the few ways to ensure that he does not go unchallenged, and will make it harder for the media and right-wing figures to pretend he is raising issues that are in any way legitimate.

We have a responsibility to see that Wilders' views do not pass unchallenged. Public protests make it clear that anti-racists will have our views heard. We ask all anti-racists to support and attend protests wherever he is organised to appear.

[This protest was initiated by Refugee Rights Action Network. Other groups are welcome to promote and endorse the protest.]

Friday, February 8, 2013

Anti-fracking activists versus Stirling Council

Local activist Trish McAuliffe has had a run-in with the Stirling City Council in Perth's northern suburbs over a banner on her property advertising a public meeting about gas fracking.

McAuliffe is a member of grassroots campaign group No Fracking Way and put up a hand-painted banner on her own property that said “Fracking = pollution”. The sign also gave details for a public meeting organised by the Clean Water Healthy Land alliance featuring a speaker from the Lock the Gate Alliance.

A representative of the Stirling City Council told Green Left that their action was taken in response to a complaint. “The City is required to follow up any complaints made by residents,” she said.

Further, the council representative told Green Left that the sign may fall under the category of “Community Service Signs” in which case it may not need a development approval. However, if development approval were required, a $139 fee would have to be paid and a turn around time – which could be as long as 20 days – could not be guaranteed.

The banner was put up eight days before the public meeting it was advertising. It is not clear that the banner would meet the definition of a Community Service Sign and the council could not point to another remedy within their bylaws.

McAuliffe has complained that this is an example of “bureaucracy gone mad” and “an attack on freedom of speech” saying that she's had three different stories from the ranger, a planning officer and the senior ranger that she has dealt with.

McAuliffe has re-erected her banner because she believes that people have a right to know about the dangers of gas fracking.

This incident follows the free speech campaign waged last year in Perth against Perth City Council by-laws that make it an offence to hold a hand-held sign without approval of the Council. While the by-laws were not changed and one court case is still outstanding, activists have won the right in practice to organise speak-out protests, hold signs and set up campaign stalls without interference by the Council.

The meeting about gas fracking is on 7pm, February 13, Lotteries House, City West.

[This article by Alex Bainbridge was written for Green Left Weekly #953.]

How The Post reported the issue:

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Sanna Andrew: Children should not grow up in poverty, single parents need a living wage

Sanna Andrew - Socialist Alliance candidate
for Fremantle
One measure of how a nation should be judged is by how it treats its most vulnerable members.

Children are among the most vulnerable members of our society as they have absolutely no say, politically in how their lives are shaped and how their futures will be determined at a government level.

The lives of our children of our communities are shaped by the start they have in life, by the resources that their families have or are able to access. Research continues to clearly demonstrate that a childhood marred by poverty is more likely to lead to long term and entrenched poverty and disadvantage throughout life.

Children in single parent families are even more disadvantaged in terms of readily available resources, particularly as 87% of single parent families are headed by women. Women in general, are also vulnerable to poverty, purely by the structure of capitalist society that arbitrarily attributes more value to specific types of work that see women earning less than men purely because of the lack of value given to the work that women traditionally undertake.

This is further impacted on by the fact that women’s working careers are far more likely to be interrupted by child-rearing, hindering longer term and overall wage earning capacity, superannuation and upward career and social mobility.

On a day to day basis, this again is further impacted on by multiple interrelated factors ranging from and a lack of “family friendly” industrial relations, worker’s rights and protection legislation and flexible workplace practices; availability of suitable and flexible work, training and education options; suitable quality childcare options and the availability, affordability and ability to access extra curricula children’s activities.

Paradoxically, this is on top of the mainstream media and social pressure placed on parents, mostly women, to be at home for and spend quality time with our children.

The ALP policy to shift single parents on to Newstart is a policy that punishes vulnerable community members. This demonstrates that the ALP has become completely out of touch and divorced from its purported role as a working people's party.

Single parents - typically mothers - shouldn’t be punished for the crucial and important work they are doing raising children in our community.

It should also be noted that the majority of single parents do go back to work as soon as they can and engage in self-directed further education and training to improve their future prospects for their children (!) and they should not be punished for this. The new Gillard ‘Parenting Payment to Newstart’ effectively does this.

The Gillard regime is punishing parents and forcing an already under-resourced and struggling sector of the community into grinding poverty, a condition that will become lifelong and entrenched for the many children subject to this policy. This policy will also potentially see children remaining in violent situations as the financial burden to adequately care for and provide for children as a single parent will potentially become greater than living with violence, for women secure only in the knowledge that you can forgo your own safety to ensure your children are provided for.

Julia Gillard having once touted Gough Whitlam - who introduced the single parents pension - as her mentor. Now, seemingly, she has made Tony Abbot her mentor in implementing the kinds of policies he supports. Even Abbott quipped that Gillard is more right wing than he!

We must take action to resist the actions of our governments when they don't act in our interests! We must not allow them to get away with the things they are doing by accepting and voting for the lesser of two evils.

We the people have to say enough is enough and we the people no longer accept a two party system purely built to serve a rich minority of business and mining operators. We the people have to stand up and be counted, it’s time to stop trying “to make the bastards honest”, because that will never happen, and we the people have to now take the bold move and create a government of our own.

I stand against these changes to the single parent pension, not because they personally affect me now, but because I do know this experience and because the devastating effects this policy will have on other people. I can’t stand by and see other people suffer just because I got through the system before it got really bad.

I was subject to this system and whilst it was grinding and extremely difficult and my children have and continue to miss out, it was certainly a lot better than what is now available.

I abhor the Labor Government’s attempt to single out single parents or other vulnerable groups. This is nothing but a mean spirited publicity stunt to save a mere few dollars and a comparative drop in the ocean, particularly compared to the ‘welfare’ they provide to big business and mining industries.

My own personal experiences and my experiences in working with vulnerable and marginalised community members has made me become actively political because I know we have the resources as a nation to provide for everyone and to move to a more sustainable way of production and living that will not only give our children a future but ensure a future for the world. The current model of business and industry is effectively destroying our environment, climate and economic stability. It is not the single parents trying to eek out a living and improve their future prospects for their children that are doing this.

So “our” Governments nasty evil mean spirited attempts to save a few dollars at the expense of a future generation and to divert our attention from the real problems and issues no longer works on me. I am politically active and I am standing to send this message to other people, sick of not only being the butt of Government mismanagement and anti-people policies but also to say we do have hope, we can save our future, but we have to get active to make a change.

Vote for Socialist Alliance candidates if you share this vision.

[By Sanna Andrew, Socialist Alliance candidate for Fremantle.]

Photos from single parents protest, Perth, 5 February 2012

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Forum discusses sustainable transport options for election

Fremantle Town Hall was packed with 250 people on January 31 for a public meeting on sustainable transport organised by the Freo Road to Rail campaign and hosted by the Fremantle City Council. The forum was also supported by the Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute (CUSP), the Bicycle Users Group and the Wheatbelt Rail Retention Alliance.

Public transport has emerged as a major issue in the lead up to the March 9 state election.

The crowd was addressed by Professor Peter Newman from CUSP, Jane Fuchsbichler from the Wheatbelt Rail Retention Alliance and Gaye Page-Burt from Fremantle Road to Rail.

Fuchsbichler stated that “we need to keep grain on rail” and that the roads in the Wheat belt area were unable to cope with increase amount of freight on the roads especially since they were built 50-60 years ago and were in a state of dilapidation. If the Barnett Government closed the Tier 3 railway, an extra 57,000-85,000 trucks would be on the road she said.

The crowd also heard from Ken Travers (shadow transport minister), Lynn MacLaren (Greens transport spokesperson), Sam Wainwright (Socialist Alliance co-convenor and Fremantle City Councillor), Max Trenordan (Independent MP). The Liberal transport minister, Troy Buswell, was invited to speak at the forum but neither he nor another representative of the Liberal party attended.

Travers promised that if the ALP was elected on March 9 that they would build "Metronet" - Labor's brand name for an expanded train system including a ring route connecting outer suburbs and a train line to the airport. Travers pointed out that the WA Liberals had a 30 year track record of breaking public transport policies made at election time.

Both MacLaren and Wainwright welcomed the ALP plans for Metronet. MacLaren argued that previous advocacy by the Greens for light rail development contributed to the pressure on the ALP to put forward its policy. She also called for 3% of the governments transport budget to be set aside to upgrade the bike network for cyclists to be integrated with the public transport system.

Afterwards she told Green Left Weekly that “this forum demonstrates that transport is an election issue” and called for people to vote for the Greens and other independents to parliament so as to maintain scrutiny on the major parties to keep their election promises.

Wainwright slammed the attempts by the Barnett Liberal government to close the so-called "Tier 3 rail lines". He argued that privatisation needed to be reversed. He also slammed the government's $1 billion "Gateway Project" saying that nobody had done a proper cost/benefit analysis nor considered sustainable public transport alternatives. "Every cent of the government's planned expenditure on the Gateway project and the Roe 8 extension - together around $2 billion dollars - would be better spent on public transport instead," he told Green Left.

Wainwright also said that the issue of public transport was a matter of social justice with 30% of Perth’s population unable to drive due to medical conditions, disability, cost and other factors. Any transport policy that doesn't consider this treats those people as second class citizens, he said.

[This article by Alex Salmon was written for Green Left Weekly #952.]

Video of Sam Wainwright's presentation to the forum

Interview with Sam Wainwright: Making Fremantle a 'social justice town'

Sam Wainwright speaking at the January 31 forum in Fremantle
on Sustainable Transport
Sam Wainwright has been a Socialist Alliance councillor on the City of Fremantle council since 2009, when he was elected in the Hilton ward with 33% of the vote. He spoke to Green Left Weekly's Mel Barnes about what he has been able to achieve while on council.


One that I'm proud of is the fact that we have made the City of Fremantle a much more worker-friendly employer. Local governments are under a lot of funding pressure, it hasn't got a big capacity to raise money, and state governments are always trying to cost shift and so inevitably council managers are always looking for ways to save money, and that includes on staff costs.

We got to a situation where the Fremantle council had a non-union [bargaining agreement], union membership was in decline, and union activity was increasingly not really welcomed, and also a spread of temporary contracts as a form of employment.

So that left someone like me in an interesting position. On the one hand, the last thing I wanted to do was to represent a city council that was leading workers rights in completely the wrong direction, on the other hand workers can only lead that fight themselves and the day to day management of staff is a management job, councillors can't get involved in it.

The solution was to bring in, debate out and implement what we ended up calling the “Employment Values Policy”. Without seeking to intervene in all the day to day direction of council staff – which we can't do – it set out some basic principles guiding city management around those matters. That established union rights and a preference for workers who have ongoing substantive work to be made permanent, not put on rolling, short-term contracts.

The union now has a much higher level of respect and authority, and the union and management now sit down and talk about employment conditions like any other workplace. So of course there's still plenty of disagreements, and things are not perfect by any means, but its reaffirmed the point that Fremantle should be a social justice town.

Yes, things are hard and, yes, the city doesn't have enough money, but we're not going to try and save money by attacking wages and conditions of staff.

There was one area of the policy that we proposed that wasn't successful. We sought to tell management that we wanted them to discontinue the practice of paying staff at the Fremantle Arts Centre and at the Leisure Centre on lower rates of pay than other staff.

That wasn't successful, which I was bitterly disappointed about, but it ended up being fought out in Fair Work Australia and the union was ultimately successful, so that's had a positive resolution as well.

Some other fantastic transformations have been a lot easier. One that I've been happy to be associated with is a new emphasis the city has got on sustainable transport. An example of that is spending on bicycle infrastructure. If you're serious about sustainable transport then you have to systematically prioritise cycling, pedestrian and public transport over private motor vehicle traffic.

An example of how that has happened is the City of Fremantle was previously only spending $39,000 a year on cycling infrastructure, which is nothing, and now it spends $400,000 a year. So that's a qualitative leap and you're already starting to see that in the actual statistics of the number of journeys.

The whole process has been supported by the Fremantle Bicycle Users Group, which I helped set up, and that's a very active, dynamic advocacy group for cyclists. That is a change that came easily and had majority support on council.

The other thing that I've been engaged with and really passionate about is trying to make the City of Fremantle a social justice council, returning the City of Fremantle to its roots.

Under this whole pressure of costs, over time Fremantle council has been jettisoning the provision of direct community services, such as aged care service, child care and other things, and when I first got onto council, the city was already in the process of getting rid of a youth crisis accommodation service that was funded by the state government but was topped up very significantly with money from the City of Fremantle and plans had already been put in train for the city to withdraw from that service which I was quite shocked about.

I was shocked because it wasn't even going to be taken to council to vote on, it was being treated as an administrative matter and the city management were shocked that I was even opposed to it.

So in that sense you can't just blame the city management, the previous elected council hadn't objected to this, hadn't expressed an opinion on these kinds of things.

But the people on Fremantle council now said: “We want to know about these things, we care about community services.”

I put a resolution to stop that youth crisis accommodation service from being let go of, that was unfortunately unsuccessful. But it really did raise the issue and we got a clear message from the community that other services [were important], like the Women's Refuge – the first purpose-designed women's refuge in Australia, which is an incredible achievement and actually something Fremantle should be proud of.

So now the review of our community services always comes to council. And we haven't got rid of any significant community services since, and the community owns those things and the community has the right to part of that discussion and debate.

I've been encouraging the city to take on the issue of domestic violence as a local government responsibility.

There's a lot of discussion in the local media about what the city can do to make Fremantle safer and what's meant by that is essentially violence on the streets on Friday or Saturday nights.

Now that's a legitimate and important part of community safety as well, but if you look at it statistically the greatest form of assault and violence taking place, in every suburb of Australia, is family and domestic violence. It's no more or less the responsibility of local government to stand up and do what it can to eradicate that kind of violence from our society than it is blokes having a fight in the street on a Friday night.

Every sector of society has to take domestic violence seriously if we're going to do something about it. So that relates to the Women's Refuge, but I just recently initiated a committee that's made proposals that will be going to council this month about things that the city can do to aid the campaign about awareness of domestic violence.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Five simple ways to support the Socialist Alliance election campaign

The five points below are each simple ways that you can make a big difference to the Socialist Alliance campaign for the 2013 WA state elections:

1. Attend our election events
The two most important of these are the public forum: The Case for Public Ownership of the Mining Industry on Sat 13 Feb and our election rally on March 1.

2. Make a donation to our campaign
If every person reading this gave us $100, we would be home and hosed. All donations big and small make a contribution to building a genuine socialist presence in Australian politics and help make real solutions possible. See below for details.

3. Help out on polling day
Click here to register your interest

4. Help Socialist Alliance get registered for future state elections
Click on this link for more details

5. Help with letter boxing
We're running in Fremantle, Perth & Willagee. Ph 0412 751 508 if you can help in any of these areas.

You can donate to Socialist Alliance by:
* Deposit or Transfer to: Socialist Alliance State Committee [CBA, BSB: 066 003  Account: 1014 0921]
* Post cheque or money order made out to "Socialist Alliance" to PO Box 204, Northbridge 6865
* Come into the Activist Centre (15/5 Aberdeen St, East Perth - next to McIver station) (we're there most of the time but may be best to phone first to check 9218 9608 or 0413 976 638.)
* Make a credit card payment over the phone (ph 9218 9608 or 0413 976 638)

P.S. We'll also be having an election night party after polling day - all welcome (details soon)