The Guardian January 27, 1999


Editorial:
What will 1999 bring?

Australia Day (January 26) has become an occasion for many speeches and 
quite a lot of tub-thumping about Australia and being an Australian. There 
is plenty to be proud of. There are many achievements in the sciences, in 
the fields of literature and the arts, in construction, in the standard of 
living that has been built up for many.

Political achievements, on the other hand, are fewer and the general 
direction of Australian social standards are cause for serious concern. 
There is the growth of individualism and a disregard of the overall 
interests of society. The acquisition of wealth has become the principle 
aim of many even though this means the impoverishment of others. There is 
little to be seen of the "egalitarian society" which was always an 
exaggeration but has now become a myth.

For indigenous Australians, January 26 is Invasion Day  a day of 
mourning.

The political leaders of the major parties are incapable of dealing with 
the needs and aspirations of the indigenous people or finding solutions to 
the many problems in the interests of the majority of the working people. 
They give priority to the interests of those with money and who run 
businesses or banks.

There is a declining standard of living for many  unemployment 
particularly of young people; chronic economic, social and environmental 
crisis in the countryside; and funds for education, the sciences, health 
services, social welfare programs, kindergartens and aged care are being 
slashed.

There is an increasing polarisation between those who have and those who 
have not, as well as between those who hold the power and those who do not. 
Those without any economic standing are also those without any political 
power.

At its last meeting in 1998, the Central Committee of the Communist Party 
put forward three priority issues for this year. They are taxation and in 
particular the GST; opposition to further privatisation and in particular 
Telstra; and opposition to the Government's "second wave" of anti-trade 
union legislation.

Of course, other issues will emerge (such as the referendum on a Republic) 
but the three issues which have been emphasised are the main ones. They 
will affect the livelihood of every single person in the community. 
Furthermore, these government objectives could be defeated by community 
campaigning and the votes of the majority in the Senate. If this were 
achieved in the next few months, the ability of the Howard Government to 
implement its anti-people policies would be seriously undermined and the 
conditions created for the removal of the Coalition Government.

This is the immediate challenge but at this stage it is only a possibility 
and the Government and its big business supporters will be working very 
hard to force their legislation through both houses of Parliament before 
the middle of this year.

Another priority task for communists and the Party's supporters is to 
substantially increase the Party's membership this year. A party guided by 
and implementing Marxist policies is absolutely essential to help take the 
working class and people's movements forward. Many say our policies are 
right, that our newspaper, The Guardian is excellent but still hold 
back. It is time for reservations to be swept aside in the interests of our 
movement and the working class which we serve.

Bribery and corruption

The Oxford dictionary definition of bribery is: "Money, etc. offered to 
procure (often illegal or dishonest) action in favour of the giver" and to 
"pervert by gifts or other inducements the action or judgement [of a 
person]".

According to the spokespersons of the Sydney Olympic Committee it is 
bribery and corruption when others do it but not when Australians do it.

When the International Olympic Committee commercialised the Olympic Games 
(and sport generally) they inevitably introduced bribery and corruption as 
a common practice. The noble aims of the Olympic movement were set aside 
and money became the driving force and the principal objective. The Sydney 
Olympic Committee is no exception and it should stop pretending that it is 
"squeaky clean".
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