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HomeNewsPoliticsPeter Boyle (Socialist Alliance) - Sydney electorate candidates 2016

Peter Boyle (Socialist Alliance) – Sydney electorate candidates 2016

Infrastructure

The federal government needs to take major responsibility for infrastructure in all major cities because that’s where most people live and federal government has the power to raise revenue though progressive income taxation.

The need for infrastructure investment is not just being driven by immigration. Federal and state governments have been neglecting public infrastructure for decades because they believed that cutting social spending and increasing corporate handouts would be “good for the economy”. It didn’t work. The rich just got richer while our public services and infrastructure were run down and distorted. Now we have to catch up for these lost decades.

Climate Change

The clock is ticking on the climate change emergency. We need a big investment to make our society fully based on renewable energy, maximum recycling to minimise our use of finite resources. This requires a major public investment. We cannot rely on “the market” and Private-Public Partnerships have turned out to be multi-billion-dollar corporate scams to milk the public purse.

Sydney will be impacted by climate change in many ways and it is nowhere near prepared or responding adequately to this global emergency. There will be more extreme temperature climate events with flash flooding and breakdowns in key infrastructure. Coastal and low-lying areas will be directly affected by now inevitable rises in sea-levels. And, like all major cities, Sydney will also bear the brunt of sheltering internal and external climate refugees.

It will cost about $37 billion investment a year, for 10 years to take Australia to 100 per cent renewable baseload energy. This would allow the total phasing out of coal-fired power stations.

We need to make this investment now. To pay for it we should tax the corporate rich, end the multinational tax dodging, divert the billions from offensive weapons purchases like submarines and warplanes. And if we need more, government should borrow.

You won’t hear the candidates from the major parties saying this but I will. Get into debt like governments did in the past to build our national rail network, the Harbour Bridge, etc. There is nothing wrong with public borrowing for good public purposes and future generations will thank us for major investments that address climate change.
Transport

The Socialist Alliance totally opposes WestConnex and has from the beginning. Our members are part of the movement now opposing it with all forms of peaceful protest, including civil disobedience. This is a multi-billion-dollar waste of public money that could be better spent on public transport and other infrastructure to make our society just and sustainable. It is a good that the campaign has forced the Australian National Auditor Office to investigate this mess, but why hasn’t all WestConnex work been stopped while the investigation goes on?

Affordable Housing

Housing is another clear case of total market failure and I think a major federal investment in public housing is one of the key infrastructure needs. Sydney’s “housing market” might be producing big profits for developers, real estate agents and speculators but it is failing to deliver affordable and quality housing.

More and more people – especially people with young families – are finding it impossible to afford to rent, let alone buy. At least two generations have been cheated out of the dream of owning their own home while others have become debt slaves to try to pay off ridiculous mortgages.

Less than 1 per cent of rental properties are affordable for low-income families in Sydney and the Illawarra, according to a study by Anglicare Sydney. And you should see the state of the lower-price rental housing on the market. They are total dumps!

There were nearly 60,000 on the waiting list for public housing last year in NSW. The Baird Liberal government has promised to build only 9,000 new public housing dwellings over the next 25 years while continuing to sell off existing public housing stock. This is a social disaster that the federal government needs to address.

We need to make housing a social right. We could build quality, ecologically sustainable and affordable housing at a fraction of the price that “the market” is demanding.

Constitutional Recognition of Australia’s First Peoples

Our lead Senate NSW candidate is Uncle Ken Canning, an Aboriginal activist and poet who has been outspoken in his opposition to the official Recognise campaign. The Socialist Alliance opposes Recognise because we see it as a multi-million-dollar token constitutional recognition without addressing the real injustice still suffered by the First Nations peoples of this country. It also does not deal with Indigenous sovereignty claims and might even set them back legally. We support a real treaty process built on a strong movement against racism for real action to close the shameful gaps in life expectancy, health, education, employment, living standards and rate of imprisonment.

Aged Care

The breaking up of communities and the forced displacement of large numbers of older public tenants that we are seeing in Waterloo and and Millers Point is outrageous. The Socialist Alliance has joined the campaigns to allow these people to stay in their communities with adequate support and in-community options for residential care.

Aged care is another major national challenge, given the demographic trend, and it is one of the areas that needs federal funding if it is going to be adequately and equitably resourced. Waiting lists for assessments and placements need to be cut urgently.

The Socialist Alliance opposes proposals to force age pensioners to sell their homes. Care of the age is a social responsibility and the pension and age care should be universal human rights. A sharply progressive taxation system without loopholes can make sure that the really rich pay their way.

Asylum seekers

Offshore processing is imposing life sentences on the innocent, including children who have been deprived of all hope so that some are now attempting to take their own lives in Nauru. It has to stop now. All asylum claims should be dealt with in the community, as they were once before.

In addition, Australia should increase the annual refugee resettlement quota for refugees from overseas to at least 40,000. End the system of quotas for accepting asylum seekers who arrive by plane and boat, and instead accept all asylum seekers who are found to be refugees.

Multiculturalism

The Socialist Alliance supports an ongoing program of education, exposure and interaction across cultures and rejects any promotion of a certain faith or culture as superior of “more Australian”. However, we also recognise that there is no peace and reconciliation without justice and so we support all measures to end inequalities of access by minority groups in our society. In addition, real peace and reconciliation cannot be achieved without ending global injustice and oppressions. This is why a people-first (not corporate profit-first) foreign policy is an essential part of building harmony across cultures and faiths in Australia.

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