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Party Statements – 2012

Asylum seekers and the legal excision of the Australian mainland

Solidarity statement

November 2012

The intention of the Gillard government to excise the Australian mainland from the country’s migration zone deserves the strongest possible condemnation. This cruel act – a clear breach of the letter and the spirit of UN Convention on Refugees to which Australia is a signatory – was rejected by the Labor Party when it was in opposition to the Howard government. Immigration Minister Chris Bowen on August 10, 2006, speaking against the Howard government’s legislation, said:

“This is a bad bill (Excision of the Mainland) with no redeeming features. It is a hypocritical and illogical bill. If it is passed today, it will be a stain on our national character…. If it is passed, it will be repealed by an incoming Labor government. Decency and self-respect as a nation would demand nothing less.”

They still demand nothing less today.

The backflip has arisen from the opportunism of the parliamentary Labor Party on the question of boat arrivals and is the next “logical” step following the reintroduction of mandatory detention and the restoration of prison-like detention centres associated with the Howard government’s “Pacific Solution”.

The CPA rejects the cynical claim that these measures are motivated by concern for the safety of asylum seekers coming to Australia aboard boats from Indonesia. It is motivated by political opportunism and capitulation to the hysteria whipped up by xenophobes in the political sphere, in the media and on the margins of the community. The contrast between the treatment of very wealthy applicants for business migration and those desperately seeking peace and security could not be clearer.

The CPA supports the demands of the majority of the Australian people for an end to Australian involvement in US-led military engagement in wars such as Afghanistan. It calls for a new approach to relations between developed and developing countries based on respect and mutual benefit; not aggression and exploitation. Only measures of this nature will prevent a growing global refugee crisis. It is folly to think a “fortress Australia” can be built that can ignore the suffering of people caused by policies and intervention supported by Australia, the US and other imperialist states.


Australia and Venezuela

Joint Statement by Communist Party of Australia and Communist Party of Venezuela

August 2012

On the occasion of the visit to Australia by Dr Carolus Wimmer, International Relations Secretary of the Communist Party of Venezuela, the Communist Party of Venezuela (CPV) and the Communist Party of Australia (CPA) adopted the following joint statement.

Our two parties work in countries still living under the shadow of the United States empire and the threat that its aggressive policies and bloated military machine create for our countries and the world.

The United States aims to dominate the planet and its resources, to install compliant governments everywhere, to privatise and deregulate the economy of every nation, and to inflict “free market” corporate capitalism on the peoples of the world.

Plans for new military bases in Latin America, the Caribbean and elsewhere and US involvement in recent coups in Honduras and Paraguay expose once again how far imperialism will go to protect the profits of its transnational corporations.

The US sustains the right-wing paramilitary-based regime in Colombia and is stepping up its efforts to subvert democratic advances in Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia and to isolate and cripple socialist Cuba.

The Communist Party of Australia stands in solidarity with the Communist Party of Venezuela as it works to defend Venezuela’s Bolivarian revolution from US interference and to advance the struggle for economic and social justice in Venezuela.

The CPA supports Venezuela’s democratic elections, in which Hugo Chavez is the candidate of the majority of the people as well as the Communist Party of Venezuela. The Communist Party of Australia rejects all attempts by foreign forces to intervene in and destabilise the election to be held on 7 October this year and demands that the election results be recognised and respected as the will of the Venezuelan people

The Communist Party of Venezuela stands in solidarity with the Communist Party of Australia in its struggle against US plans to use Australia as a base from which to threaten and “contain” China. The CPV supports the campaigns against the stationing of US marines in the country, for the closure of the more than 30 US military bases in Australia, to stop joint military exercises, and ban more US ships and planes coming to the fifth continent. Both parties condemn the attempts by imperialism to provoke conflicts between China and other countries in the South China Sea.

These policies raise the danger of aggression and war to a new level. Combined with US imperialismʼs willingness to use its massive arsenal of nuclear weapons, planetary destruction is a possibility.

The Communist Party of Venezuela and the Communist Party of Australia condemn any intervention in Syria by the US, NATO and reactionary Middle East countries. We demand that the conflict be ended and the Syrian people given the opportunity to decide themselves what their future will be.

Imperialist states continue to control immense economic, military and political resources and are the main threat to the peace of the world.

Our parties agree that it is this imperialist control that stands in the way of social and economic progress, peace and security. It also fuels the environmental crisis. Both parties emphasise that we cannot build socialism on a dead planet.

The successes already achieved in the anti-imperialist struggle and the improvements in the living conditions for masses of the poor in developing countries such as Venezuela are inspiring others to set out on the same path.

The Communist Party of Venezuela and the Communist Party of Australia will continue to work together and strengthen their fraternal relations, sharing the confidence that the future holds greater possibilities for resistance and social progress, for just and democratic economic development, for environmental protection and sustainability, and for socialism.


Standing with CFMEU Melbourne workers

Solidarity statement

August 2012

“The CPA applauds the courage of building workers in Melbourne in standing up for the right to have union safety officials on building sites. We stand in solidarity with the workers and the CFMEU in this struggle,” Dr Hannah Middleton, CPA General Secretary said.

At its peak about 500 construction workers were at the Grocon site on the corner of Swanston and Lonsdale Streets in Melbourne’s CBD on Tuesday morning, facing off against police in riot gear and on horseback.

There are concerns about safety and the workers want to control the appointment of safety stewards on the construction site. Quite reasonably, they want their own OH&S people they can trust on site.

The construction giant Grocon got orders last week that prohibited CFMEU organisers going within 50 metres of the site and returned to the Supreme Court last Friday to try to get contempt orders against union officials and members who, the company argued, had breached the orders.

The union has taken action at sites in Brisbane and Melbourne, including setting up a blockade since Wednesday of last week of the $1.3 billion Grocon development site.

The CFMEU has accused Grocon CEO, Daniel Grollo, of trying to de-unionise the company’s sites.

“Grocon is using the court system to try to smash the union and the workers,” Hannah Middleton said.

“Not surprisingly, Daniel Grollo is furious that the workers are fighting back. He has been spluttering about illegal blockades, intimidation, defiance of the Victorian Supreme Court and police.

“And in a shameful statement, Federal Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten has backed this position, condemning ‘violence’ and ‘illegal blockades’.

“But when injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty,” she said.


Ecuador defends Assange’s human rights

CPA statement

August 2012

The Communist Party of Australia (CPA) welcomes and congratulates the government of Ecuador on its principled decision to grant political asylum to Julian Assange.

We acknowledge the courage of the Ecuadorian government in facing down immense pressure and the bully-boy tactics from Britain and the United States.

We support wholeheartedly Ecuadorian government statements that Assange’s human rights may be violated if he is sent to Sweden to be questioned over sex assault claims and that his fears of political persecution are legitimate.

Julian Assange has championed people’s right to know and has challenged governments that try to keep the public in a state of ignorance. He has provided a massive public service by, among other things, revealing truths about murders by US military.

His challenge to government secrecy explains their desire for revenge.

The CPA believes that everyone who supports freedom of the press, freedom of speech and the values associated with diplomatic immunity should publicly insist that the Ecuadorian decision to give asylum to Assange should override any other consideration.

The Australian government should stand up for the rights of an Australian citizen and make clear its commitment to freedom of political communication, to democratic principles and the rule of law.

The CPA demands respect for international law and the sanctity of diplomatic missions.

While calling for protection for Julian Assange’s rights, the CPA also demands justice for Bradley Manning, the former US soldier accused of leaking government material to WikiLeaks, who has been detained without trial for well over two years.


CPA condemns shooting of South African miners

International Department

August 2012

The Communist Party of Australia condemns the shooting of striking miners by police in South Africa. The CPA mourns the loss of life and expresses its sympathy to the families of the miners. The Party supports calls by progressive forces for a commission of inquiry to get to the bottom of the matter and bring those responsible for the deaths to justice. While the circumstances of the tragic incident are complex and unclear at the time of publication of this week’s Guardian, there can be no justification for the use of deadly force against workers. The Guardian will carry a full report in an upcoming issue.

Bob Briton
Secretary – CPA International Department


Communist Party flourishing

Dr Hannah Middleton – CPA General Secretary

June 2012

Contrary to an article on May 31 in The Australian, the Communist Party of Australia (CPA) is alive and working for the interests of all those members of our community hit so hard by corporate globalisation and the capitalist crisis.

Joe Kelly writing in The Australian confuses – accidentally or deliberately – the CPA with the Communists. The Communists (originally called the Communist Alliance) was an electoral alliance of which the CPA was one part, together with migrant Communist parties and progressive individuals from around Australia.

The Communist Party of Australia supported the Communist Alliance (CA) because it united a range of left political forces to fight for real change.

The Communist Alliance was registered as a party on March 16, 2009. A legal challenge from the Community Alliance, a conservative group in Canberra, forced the CA to change its name to the Communists. This group did not manage to meet the requirement that it update its membership list in time and was recently deregistered by the Australian Electoral Commission.

A media release at the time of the CA’s 2009 launch stated:

We oppose both major parties because of their welfare for the rich approach and their ties to big business interests.

But we have a longer term vision for Australia too.

The global economic crisis has shown the people of the world and Australia that capitalism has failed.

We need radical change to protect our communities and create a world of peace and sustainable development. Ultimately we need socialism – a new system where people’s rights are paramount and the people decide their own future.

While the Communists has been deregistered, CPA members will continue to stand in some elections. CPA members will be involved in the NSW local government elections this September, for example.

The existing system, in which government is alternately shared between the Liberal-National Coalition and the Australian Labor Party, obscures and protects the dictatorship of capital over our economic and political life.

The two-party system, which has dominated Australia’s political life for more than 100 years, does not allow for significant streams of political thinking in Australia to be represented in Parliament, particularly in the important lower houses of our parliaments.

The CPA campaigns for the repeal of the present Electoral Act and its replacement by a more democratic method of election. We call for a compulsory, proportional-preferential voting system which gives the people a wider choice of candidates through multi-member electorates and a choice of local members to whom they can take their concerns.

The Communist Party of Australia continues to exist and work. We work for a society in which publicly owned enterprises play the major role in the economy, which encourages the participation of people in democratic decision making and management, a society where Indigenous Australians, women, and migrants are treated equally and with dignity. We work for a society where the environment is protected.

The CPA advances an alternative political agenda before the people that puts the people’s needs and interests first. In our vision of an alternative, the people’s voice and participation are paramount. The purpose of our economy must be to fulfill people’s needs, not to produce ever-increasing wealth for private corporations and the super-rich.


Importing workers driven by greed

June 2012

The Communist Party has condemned the decision by the federal government to allow Gina Rinehart to import 1,700 foreign workers to develop the multi-billion dollar Roy Hill iron ore project in Western Australia.

“The decision is particularly offensive to working people given the recent spate of large scale layoffs from Australian workplaces,” CPA President Vinnie Molina said.

“Despite the fictitious government figures on unemployment, there is a growing alarm at the rate of joblessness in the country that is met with a lack of interest on the part of the government to ensure that Australians are trained to fill positions in the resource sector. TAFE is under attack and there is no obligation placed on profit-gorged mining corporations to train local workers.”

“These facts render worthless assurances from the Prime Minister that local workers should be taken on first. Everybody knows big mining companies are seeking to boost their profits to even greater heights by cutting their wages bill. If unions and the community don’t put their foot down the next phase in the evolution of these Enterprise Migration Agreements will be the employment of workforces at rates way below the established rate in Australia. This is the plan from the boardrooms - to divide and conquer workers and to drive their pay and conditions down. We therefore call on workers, their trade unions and the community to fight and overturn this reactionary decision.

“We don’t support jingoism. The CPA is taking a stand for workers to be able to defend their legitimate interests against massive attacks from reckless transnationals. Foreign workers should be welcomed to fill genuine skills shortages and their ongoing needs met. Their situation should not be exploited to further the ambitions of people whose wealth is a scandalous obscenity. Ultimately, the welfare of workers and the environment can only be ensured by putting the country’s resources into public ownership by a government with a much more enlightened agenda. After all, these resources belong to the people, not to certain privileged individuals,” Mr Molina said.


Bringing war to our doorstep – US “pivots” to Asia, Pacific and Indian Ocean

Central Committee Executive Statement

February 2012

“The United States is a Pacific power, and we are here to stay,” said US President Obama during his visit to Australia late last year as he announced the stationing of 2,500 US Marines in Darwin, more visits by US ships and aircraft to Australia, greater US access to Australian military bases, more joint military exercises, and storage of more US military equipment in Australia. Then on January 5 at the Pentagon, President Obama formally announced a new US policy which will bring war to Australia’s doorstep.

Sustaining US Global Leadership: Priorities for the 21st Century Defence outlines a “historic shift” in which the US will maintain its military presence in the Middle East and Europe but will now give priority to Asia, the Pacific and the Indian Ocean.

As more US ships, aircraft and troops come to Australian military facilities, the level of Australian military integration with an aggressive and destabilising US government will rise, further undermining Australia’s independence and security.

Over 160 years ago, Karl Marx predicted that the Pacific Ocean – “the great waterway of commerce” – would serve as “the centre of gravity of world commerce’, playing the same role as the Atlantic did in his century and the Mediterranean in Roman times. Marx’s comments captured the essence of the significant shift in global political economy that we are witnessing today, with increased trade and investment across the Pacific basin.

The Bush administration recognised the growing economic, political and strategic significance of the Asia-Pacific region over two decades ago. However, following the 9/11 attacks it gave priority to its “war on terror” to control the resources and political direction of the Middle East.

Now the Obama administration has ramped up the US interest in the Pacific basin and Asia, but also added the Indian Ocean.

The central US goal is control of the planet, power to install governments subservient to its demands, power to privatise and deregulate the economies of every nation in the world, the power to inflict on peoples everywhere “free market” corporate capitalism. US supremacy will be ensured by preventing the emergence of any other potentially competing power or government independent of its control.

The new US military policy is clearly designed less to cut US military spending than to reorder Pentagon priorities to ensure full spectrum dominance (dominating any nation, anywhere, at any time, at any level of force) for the first decades of the 21st Century. As President Obama himself said, after the near-doubling of military spending during the Bush era, the new doctrine will slow the growth of military spending but “it will still grow, in fact by four percent in the coming year.”

The new doctrine places China at the centre of US “security” concerns and prioritises expansion of US war making capacities in Asia and the Pacific and Indian Oceans, This means greater involvement of Australia, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and now India as the US “pivots” from Iraq and Afghanistan to the heartland of the 21st Century global economy, Asia and the Pacific.

The US strategy is to first exaggerate the level of China’s present military build-up, to encircle China through the acquisition of military bases in the Asian-Pacific region, to establish anti-Chinese alliances, and to deploy Theatre Missile Defence (TMD) systems near China as a way to negate their existing force of 20 nuclear missiles.

The US is making an effort to woo India into the American orbit by offering them help with nuclear weapons and Star Wars technologies. Australia is assisting with the supply of uranium. US armaments companies are facilitating India’s military expansion, especially space development, through an aggressive move into South Asian markets to supplement reductions in their Pentagon contracts.

Sustaining US Global Leadership: Priorities for the 21st Century Defence includes a focus on Iran, clearly intended to ensure that Tehran cannot jeopardise the West’s neo-colonial control of the Middle East and its oil which is so essential to their economies and militaries.

China’s military expansion is actually small compared to the US military. Australia’s intelligence community has stated that China’s current limited military build-up is not a threat to Australia. Rather it is China’s response to the huge US military expansion in the Asia-Pacific region.

China and Iran are the primary targets of: weapons systems to be developed; of expanded US military alliances, bases, access agreements and an increased tempo of military exercises; as well as advanced cyber and space war capabilities.

Despite the fact that China’s military budget is less than one tenth that of the US, China is providing the “enemy” the US military-industrial complex requires.

Preparing for war with China provides additional super profits for the US armaments corporations. It will be the primary justification for the acquisition of these costly new weapons systems.

Dennis Muilenburg, President of Boeing Defence, Space and Security (BDS), has estimated that countries such as Australia, South Korea, Japan, India, and Malaysia will be strong markets for its fighter jets, unmanned systems, helicopters, energy systems security and even cyber-warfare technology amid a slowdown in defence spending in its US home market.

The new US thinking on the region was foreshadowed in June 2005 when former Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld gave a speech in Singapore in which he criticised what he called China’s ongoing military build-up and claimed that it posed a threat to regional peace and stability.

US strategy was spelt out in the Pentagon’s 2006 Quadrennial Defence Review (QDR). This said the US will not allow the rise of a competing superpower. “Of the major and emerging powers,” the QDR says, “China has the greatest potential to compete militarily with the United States and field disruptive military technologies that could over time offset traditional US military advantages.”

The expansion of “missile defence” systems in Australia, Japan, South Korea and on US military platforms near China is intended to assist with these plans. It will actually create more regional tension and instability, increasing the possibility of war.

The US is engaged in an extensive build-up of military forces as part of a strategy to strengthen and position US and allied forces to contain or even militarily defeat China. Victory from these efforts would give the US its major economic goal of securing the natural resources, cheap labour and increasing productive strength of the region for the US transnationals.

With breathtaking arrogance, Hilary Clinton wrote last November in Foreign Policy that the Asia-Pacific focus puts the US “in the best position to sustain our leadership, secure our interests, and advance our values ...

“Harnessing Asia’s growth and dynamism is central to American economic and strategic interests ... . Open markets in Asia provide the United States with unprecedented opportunities for investment, trade, and access to cutting-edge technology. Our economic recovery at home will depend on exports and the ability of American firms to tap into the vast and growing consumer base of Asia.”

Liberal and Labor governments have been obediently trotting after the US, with a bloated “defence” budget now costing taxpayers $80 million every single day.

Labor’s opposition to missile defence has been abandoned and Australia may acquire its own limited missile defence capabilities – an additional part of the noose being tightened round China.

North West Cape (the Harold E Holt military base at Exmouth in WA) is the expected site for the establishment of the US Space Surveillance Network sensors. The Australian government has recently signed an agreement for US forces to return to North West Cape.

It is madness for the Gillard government to risk escalating tension and even war in the region, instead of good relations with a major trading partner, for the sake of an alliance with the United States.

The Gillard government’s decision to escalate its military relationship with the US is intended to strengthen US efforts to contain China as well as to strengthen Australia’s role in the region. It is all about strategic, political and economic dominance, directed first and foremost against China.

The ANZUS treaty underpins Australia’s military relationship with the USA.

Despite the views of the Australian public, ANZUS does not contain specific commitments or any guarantees that the US will assist Australia in times of need, even though it speaks vaguely about “consultation” and “action in accordance with constitutional processes”.

The only times the treaty has been invoked in the 60 years since its signing, Australia has ended up paying in one way or another for US strategic interests and US aggression.

It is not a mutual pact. It is a treaty of Australian subservience and a cover for aggression.

A 21st century US-China cold war catastrophe must not be allowed to happen. Because Labor and the Coalition basically agree, there has been relatively little public scrutiny or debate about Australia’s military strategy and military spending. It’s time to begin one.


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