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".Back to index page