The Guardian November 7, 2001


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).

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