The Federal Elections
This 9th Congress of the Communist Party of Australia observes there is a growing rejection and opposition in Australia to the consequences of the economic rationalist policies which have been implemented by both Coalition and Labor Governments since the mid-1980s. These policies have meant the privatisation of many previously publicly owned enterprises and government services, including QANTAS, the Commonwealth Bank, airports, transport services, part of Telstra, hospitals, water, gas and energy services in some States and some government departments. Privatisation was never intended to bring about more efficient and cheaper services, as its supporters claimed, but to open up new areas of profit making for private enterprise. Private enterprise has proven to be less efficient. Services have deteriorated or been destroyed while prices have often risen. So-called "competition policy" has deregulated a number of agricultural industries, broken up enterprises and introduced outsourcing, especially in the public sector. It is these policies which are being rejected by farmers and rural communities, a number of which have been devastated with sharp declines in population and the decimation of country services. Opposition to economic rationalist policies is widespread as was seen in the Melbourne demonstrations against the World Economic Forum in September 2000, in which many community organisations and trade unions took part. It was again demonstrated in the State election results both in WA and Queensland. The Liberal and National Parties are being held responsible for the insecurity, unemployment and economic difficulties being experienced particularly by farmers and workers at the present time. Congress calls on all Party organisations to intensify opposition to the economic rationalist policies of privatisation, deregulation, the GST and other policies implemented to benefit the big corporations. Party organisations should encourage public rejection of pro-big business economic policies and take up opportunities to vigorously advance alternative policies. We propose alternative, people-friendly policies, including: * A halt to any further privatisation, deregulation and "competition policy"; * No further sale of Telstra; * Adequate funding for the ABC to maintain itself as a public, independent, non-commercial broadcaster. * An increase in government funding to meet the needs of the public education system at primary, secondary and tertiary levels. Elimination of fees for public education. Cease public funding of private schools. * A 10% cut in military spending to fund public education, health etc. * Create employment via the immediate introduction of a 35-hour week with no loss of pay and through increased public-sector investment. * Introduce a guaranteed right to work. Curtail casualisation, create more permanent, full-time jobs, impose limits on overtime. * Repeal all anti-trade union legislation. * Restore fully indexed wages. Outlaw individual work contracts for wage and salary earners. * Repeal the GST and adopt a progressive taxation system to increase taxation on companies (at least 36%) and wealthy individuals. Tax relief for low and middle-income earners. * Maintain Medicare and universal access to bulk billing. Extend Medicare to cover optical and dental care. * Banning of GM crops until proven fully safe for consumption. * Adoption of a program to protect the national environment, including implementation of measures to control climate change and reverse the damage already done. * Maintenance and growth of public transport throughout Australia. * Recognition of the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Support for a treaty. * Oppose the General Agreement on Trade in Services. The implementation of these policies would begin to reverse the consequences of the present economic and social policies. Congress calls for new initiatives by the Party, leading up to the Federal election to be held later in 2001. Congress calls on all Party organisations to become active in the election campaign in the following ways: * The Party to consider standing a Senate team in each State, to allow every Party organisation, and unattached members, to become active in the election campaign. * Party organisations should hold discussions with The Greens and progressive community candidates in their area, to discuss means of co- operation. Trade union activists should be encouraged to nominate as candidates. * Work out the allocation of preferences on the basis of giving support to left and progressive candidates, putting One Nation and the Coalition candidates last and second last respectively. A number of different circumstances can arise and Party organisations should be prepared to be flexible while working within the context of our policy of building a left and progressive political alternative, the main electoral goal of which at this stage is to defeat the reactionary Howard Government and to elect to Parliament more progressive members who actively oppose economic rationalist policies. This is an important step in winning a people's government committed to policies which serve the people rather than the big corporations.