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Issue #1436      18 November 2009

Glebe Street Fair goers condemn privatisation

The Port Jackson Branch of the Communist Party of Australia ran our usual stall at the Glebe Street Fair.

During part of the day we handed out ballot papers, inviting fair goers to reply “yes” or “no” to the question “Do you want the NSW government to privatise public assets such as electricity, ferries and lotteries?” Anyone who wanted to vote simply put a tick on a ballot paper which also offered the chance for comments to be added.

The result was an overwhelming rejection of the Rees government’s headlong rush to sell off the state’s assets.

Glebe Street Fair goers voted 94.4 percent against privatisation with 4.8 percent in favour. One voter supported electricity privatisation, provided there was strong environmental control, but opposed the sell-off of ferries, lotteries, water and the Fish Markets.

Fair goers voting against privatisation wrote comments such as “Keep our essential services ours!”, “Keep it in the right hands”, “We will never get it back”, “I’m sick of ALP arrogance” and “Efficiency of privatisation is a lie”.

Since coming to office on the back of Premier Iemma’s demise over electricity privatisation, Rees has outstripped his predecessor in a headlong rush to sell off the state’s assets.

This activity hits hardest in the area of public transport services. There is a threat to privatise the ferries which will affect the community in Balmain and threatens the possible expansion of the service to Glebe Point.

Our area has the two busiest roads in Australia passing through it – Victoria Road and Parramatta Road. Each has millions of traffic movements each year.

Any threat to public transport will bring more cars onto to these roads which will mean more traffic congestion, more environmental problems and connected health issues.

The local Member Verity Firth must take note of the voting figures and oppose privatisation – or risk losing her seat to the Greens. The anger in the Inner West is plain to see.

The party’s stall attracted many people to discuss issues of concern, including the threat of unemployment and loss of homes. Many were interested in what the Party’s position is on these and other issues, and a few left their names and contact details. Much Party literature, Guardians and the Branch’s Port Jackson Tribune were distributed.

The Branch’s usual call for people to “Revolutionise your table with red jams and pickles” attracted many sales. Besides the sales of homemade strawberry and plum jams, quince jelly and pickled onions, the other best sellers were Lenin T-shirts and “how to spot a communist” tea towels.

Next articleConference of the NSW ALP

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