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Issue #1675      March 4, 2015

For a working class solution

As workers and their unions prepare to take to the streets in defence of their rights at work, the Communist Party of Australia joins with them in the call for the provision of all crucial basic services and public assets – health services, public education, social security – and against privatisation. The following basic human rights and demands look to the future to set a new direction for policy development in Australia, one which neither Liberal nor Labor will deliver:

Workers’ rights

A new industrial relations system based on protecting the rights of workers and their trade unions. In particular, the right to strike, the right to be in a union, the right of entry for trade union officials, strong occupational health and safety measures, and the protection of workers’ jobs and entitlements. This includes the abolition of the anti-worker building industry police force the Australian Building and Construction Commission. (See article this issue – Workers’ rights)

Migrant and refugee rights

A humanitarian policy with fast processing of asylum seekers forced to flee their country and support for genuine refugees to build a new life here as part of our community. Implementation of refugee rights set out in the UN Declaration on Human Rights. A migration policy that gives priority to humanitarian and family reunion considerations, rather than financial considerations. End off-shore processing and mandatory detention of asylum seekers.

Indigenous rights

An immediate end to the racist, criminal intervention in the Northern Territory and quarantining of welfare payments. Proper funding and provision of basic services, including housing, education, health and water along with job creation in Indigenous communities. Genuine recognition of land rights.

Women’s rights

Equal pay for work of equal value and an end to discrimination against women, in particular migrant and Indigenous women, in employment and other areas of society. Recognition of the right of women to control their own bodies, including legalisation of abortion.

Health

A nationalised public health system with high quality, free and accessible medical, dental and mental health treatment for all Australians. Team-based primary care services with salaried GPs and specialists (as in hospitals). Expansion of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme with free prescriptions for age pensioners, the unemployed and other welfare recipients and substantial reductions in the price presently charged for prescriptions. In the immediate term, defence of Medicare and its provision of primary care. NO co-payment. (See Hands off Medicare)

Education

A fully funded, free, secular public education system available to all Australians from pre-school through to TAFE and university. Abolition of use of diagnostic and other testing to rank schools. Abolition of the huge subsidies to private schools, with funds diverted to state schools. Restore compulsory student unionism to universities and student services. NO to the Abbott government’s deregulation push in tertiary education. (See Education – Where we stand)

Secure income

An immediate increase in welfare benefits for pensioners, carers, unemployed, people with disabilities, and other welfare recipients. National, public superannuation scheme which guarantees workers a specified income throughout their retirement years.

Sustainable future

A national energy plan with legislated timetables and mandatory targets, for transition to an ecologically sustainable energy system. The transfer of subsidies and government support from fossil and nuclear fuel sectors to energy efficiency and renewable energy, including research and development and conversion programs which protect the rights of affected workers and communities. The expansion of public transport.

Democratic rights

The right to express political views in public and the right to dissent, set out in the United Nations Convention on Civil and Political Rights, must be protected.

Peace and security

An immediate cut of 10 percent in military spending, freeing up billions of dollars per annum for health, education, social welfare and public infrastructure.

Next article – Editorial – Political agendas and the treatment of Gillian Triggs

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