CPA electoral policies
A government in the interests of the people
There is growing struggle against the consequences of the economic rationalist policies which have been implemented by both Coalition and Labor Governments since the mid-1980s. One reflection of this is that the number of people voting for alternative parties and independents is increasing. To meet this situation the Communist Party of Australia believes that a government of a new type based on a broad popular front uniting all left and progressive parties and community organisations or elements in these organisations is the way forward. The aim of such a front is to build the widest possible unity of the people's organisations and individuals to achieve the immediate alleviation of some of the worst features of the present economic and social system with its drive for maximum profits. It requires the establishment of a new type of government such as has not been seen in Australia before. Such a government would implement many of the policy proposals which have been put forward by the left and progressive political parties, by trade unions, environmental, peace, educational and community organisations, health and democratic rights bodies and so on. Many more left and progressive parliamentarians are needed at all levels of government and the current elections provide us with an opportunity to increase the number of such representatives at the Federal level. Respected, knowledgeable and active participants in the above organisations should be supported. To be effective, we believe that a new type government would have to implement policies to substantially curb the power of the big corporations and increase the democratic rights of the people, especially the working class and the trade union movement. It would encourage the active participation of progressive community organisations. A government of this type — a real people's government — would include the political representatives of all the progressive and democratic forces, from communist and left Labor, from trade unions and progressive community organisations, from the Greens and environmental organisations, from working farmers, professional and small business circles. Such a government would be democratic, multi-party and answerable to the people. As the vast majority of the population is made up of working people, we believe that the representatives of the working class would form the core of the new type government. The political program and aims of the government would have to be worked out in discussion and negotiation between the representatives of the organisations willing to take part in a coalition government. Recognising that many organisations which could come together to form a new government will each contribute to the formulation of an agreed program of policies, the Communist Party suggests the following ideas and proposals: Workers' rights and conditions Collective bargaining and the restoration of legally binding awards or other agreements covering all workers in an industry. The restoration of fully indexed wages. A guaranteed minimum living income for all people of no less than the minimum adult wage. The outlawing of individual work contracts. The implementation of comprehensive job-creation schemes guaranteeing the right to work for all who want to work. The immediate introduction of a 35-hour week without loss of pay. Hours of work to be eventually reduced to 32 without loss of pay. The curtailment of casualisation and the imposition of limits on overtime and the protection and expansion of permanent, full-time employment. The repeal of the Workplace Relations Act and Sections 45D & E of the Trade Practices Act. The repeal of similar State anti-trade union legislation. The enactment of industrial legislation to guarantee the right of workers to strike and to act in solidarity with others, both nationally and internationally. Publicly-owned media Strengthen all publicly-owned media outlets. Protection of cultural and educational standards and Australian content when reviewing the allocation and renewal of commercial broadcast licences. A second full-time ABC TV channel and adequate funding for the ABC and SBS radio and television networks. The establishment of a new publicly-owned body similar to the ABC to publish newspapers, magazines and books. Assist and encourage the media of democratic and progressive organisations such as trade unions, environment, cultural and other community organisations. Women's rights Equal rights for women with equal pay for work of equal value. Provision of publicly funded before-school, after-school and long day child-care facilities for all who need them. Young people and education Secure for young people the right to education and to full-time work. The provision of sufficient funding to provide free, secular and universal education from elementary school to university. Cessation of public funds going to private schools and colleges. Medicare and health The maintenance and extension of Medicare. The full restoration of a publicly-funded national health and dental service providing care to all at home and in the workplace. Priority to be given to preventative medical services. Economic controls Price controls on major commodities and services. Opposition to privatisation and contracting out. The maintenance and extension of public ownership. Adoption of a national investment policy that will outlaw control of the national economy by foreign investors. Strict control over the movement of money in and out of the country to the detriment of the nation. The Reserve Bank to control interest rates, credit policy and currency exchange rates. Housing Increase government funding for public housing to end homelessness and provide housing for cheap rental and for purchase. State governments to exercise their powers to control rents. Progressive taxation system Government taxation policy and revenue raising to be based on: Repeal of the GST and its replacement with a progressive tax system; A tax rate on private enterprises according to their ability to pay; Personal income tax, to be levied on a progressive scale with no tax on incomes less than the minimum wage; A significant reduction in Australia's swollen military budget. Farmers' needs Priority support for the social and economic needs of small and family farms. The creation of cooperative marketing facilities democratically controlled by small producers. All large agricultural corporations to be publicly accountable for the preservation of the environment and the use of resources. Large privately operated agri-businesses to eventually become publicly owned. The banning of GM crops until proven fully safe for consumption and the environment. The environment A comprehensive program for the protection and regeneration of the national environmental, protection and care of river systems, land care, measures to deal with salination, waste management, urban and workplace pollution, loss of bio-diversity, and protection of old growth forests. Urgent implementation of internationally agreed measures to control greenhouse gas emissions. Multiculturalism and anti-racism The promotion of multiculturalism that recognises the contribution made by migrants from many countries to the cultural richness and diversity of present-day society. Provision for the teaching of the languages of migrant communities at public education facilities. The elimination of all forms of discrimination on the grounds of ethnic background, religion, race, gender, sexual preference, age, disability or parenting. Indigenous people The recognition of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the original inhabitants of Australia and their right to land and to the resources both above and underground and in adjacent seas. Support for the maintenance and enrichment of the culture and beliefs of the Indigenous people. The commencement of negotiations for a treaty between the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and the Australian state. The above are some of the policy proposals being put forward by the CPA for discussion. The winning of government by an anti-imperialist, anti-monopoly coalition would be a first step in a protracted struggle to wrest power from the present capitalist ruling class. The reconstruction of economic and political life in favour of the people necessitates the wealth, power and so-called "rights" of big capital being challenged and restricted. This process will take some considerable time. We believe that over time the people's own political experiences will lead them to support and eventually adopt as their own the full implementation of the people's program that requires a socialist reconstruction of society. A main goal in the current elections is to defeat the Howard Government. This means its replacement with a Labor Government. Another main goal is to elect to Parliament more progressive members who actively oppose economic rationalist policies. This is an important step towards winning a people's government committed to policies that serve the people rather than the big corporations. For more details of CPA policies see the Political Resolution of the 9th Congress of the CPA, available from 65 Campbell St, Surry Hills, NSW 2010, $5 (incl p&p).