The Guardian • Issue #2012

Open letter to the Prime Minister of Australia

Prime Minister Albanese signing submission to the Fair Work Commission, recommending Australia’s lowest-paid workers not go backwards. Photo: @AlboMP twitter account

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP
Prime Minister
Parliament House

21 June 2022

Dear Prime Minister Albanese,

The Communist Party of Australia wishes to congratulate you on the election of a Labor government and the more diverse Cabinet of MPs and Senators. We recognise you will face many challenges from the nine years of the corrupt, dysfunctional Coalition government with its anti-worker, union-bashing record.

We warmly welcome your government’s swift action to support a cost-of living increase in the minimum wage. The outcome is a start to arresting the decline in real wages experienced by low- and middle-income workers over recent decades.

We are concerned that the income of Social Security recipients is not keeping pace with rising prices. JobSeeker recipients in particular have been hard hit and we would urge you to reconsider your decision not to increase JobSeeker in real terms during your first term of office. We believe that Social Security recipients have a right to an adequate income above the poverty line at a level where they can live in dignity.

We applaud your decision to abolish the Australian Building and Construction Commission and the Registered Organisations Commission. There are, however, other important reforms to the industrial relations system that we urge you to implement; the unfettered right to strike, abolition of the right of entry permit system, and restoration of industry bargaining.

We applaud your preparedness at the recent National Cabinet meeting to retain the ratio of health funding with states and territories at 50:50 until the end of the year. However, the health crisis will not be solved by then and we believe that funding ratio should be kept on an ongoing basis. In this regard we ask that MEDICARE be protected and further funded to include dental care for all.

Your commitment to the Uluru statement made in your election night speech was warmly greeted and we hope you will not only honour that commitment but take measures to strengthen land rights and end the sacrilegious destruction of the cultural heritage of First Nations people.

Public education is facing a crisis with huge shortages in funding for staff and resources. It is unacceptable that funding to private schools rapidly increased at the expense of public schools. It is time to turn it around. Your commitment to free TAFE places is very welcome. There also needs to be additional funding for the university sector which was hit hard during the pandemic with tens of thousands of jobs lost and courses cut. We believe all education from early childhood through to university should be free. The financial and developmental dividends for Australia would well outdo the expenditure.

Your government has been left with an aged care system in crisis – massive loss of life from COVID, staffing shortages and abuse of residents to name a few issues. We acknowledge your commitment to increase funding by $2.5 billion which is welcome but the findings of the Royal Commission found much more is needed. We believe a conflict of interest arises when care is provided on a for-profit basis. The private sector has failed. Aged care needs to be nationalised and the whole regulatory regime overhauled to ensure appropriate standards are maintained.

The NDIS is also in crisis and in need of massive reform. The private sector again has shown that the market fails, especially when trying to deliver support at the same time creaming off billions of dollars in private profits. As the architects of this system we urge your government to take full responsibility and nationalise this scheme, to end contracting out and overhaul the allocation of resources and regulate the sector so that it truly is client centred.

Your government has increased the target for emissions to forty-three per cent, an improvement on the Coalition target but we believe it is possible for Australia, with so much wind and sun and surrounded by thousands of kilometres of ocean, to make a considerable boost to that target. The present energy crisis demonstrates the failure of the Coalition and markets to transition to renewable energy. The crisis was deepened by the fossil fuel subsidies which must be cut. We urge you to nationalise the energy sector to ensure affordable energy for households and businesses and facilitate a just transition.

The CPA also welcomes your swift action to return the Biloela family to their community which signifies an end to their immediate torture. However, a cloud remains which can only be lifted by granting permanent visas. We urge your government to free the family and grant those visas. We recognise, also, that hundreds of refugees continue to live in limbo. Your government needs to adopt a humanitarian policy to end offshore detention and other inhumane policies such as boat turnbacks. Australia must adhere to its international humanitarian commitments. We need to increase the number of humanitarian visas.

We congratulate your government on its stand at the United Nations in not supporting the US-led opposition to an inquiry into human rights abuses by Israel in the occupied territories of Palestine. We urge also that your government take up the olive branch extended by China on the basis of reciprocity, mutual respect and relations based on mutual benefit. China should be seen as a partner and not a rival.

The Communist Party strongly believes that the contract for nuclear-powered submarines only increases tensions and should be cancelled. The planned increase in offensive weapons and US bases and other military facilities also increases tensions. Former Defence Minister Peter Dutton’s statement that “If you prepare for war, you prevent war” is a nonsense. If you prepare for war, you get war. We urge you instead to prepare for peace and initiate a peace budget and redirect military expenditure to alleviate the causes of war.

Finally, The Communist Party of Australia calls on you to urgently secure Assange’s freedom by making representations with US President Biden and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. All charges must be dropped and he must be brought back home.

We thank you for your time and would be very happy to discuss any of these issues with you or your Ministers.

Yours Faithfully,

Vinnie Molina
Communist Party of Australia

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