Public Forum - West Papua: the struggle for freedom

Stop robbing our hospitals

Socialist Alliance statement - Strong action needed to stop hospital cuts

Labor and Coalition governments are both to blame
Hospital administrators and staff are reeling. The Ted Baillieu state government axed $616 million from its last two health budgets and the Julia Gillard federal government has recently cut $107 million from Victorian hospitals.
While both governments blame each other, more than 300 beds have been closed, elective surgery delayed and hundreds of health workers are losing their jobs. It follows that the quality of care delivered to all Victorians is much poorer. Rural communities have been hit particularly hard, forcing many patients to travel long distances for emergency care.
While each Victorian hospital is in crisis trying to work out what wards and theatres to close in order to keep the whole hospital operating, the Baillieu Coalition government is handing $9 million to private hospitals to operate on public patients.
Is Australia imitating Greece?
Greece and Spain are responding to the economic crisis by making huge cuts to the social wage. Medicare, free education, superannuation, child care, family payments and maternity allowances are being slashed with government funds being diverted to help big business through the economic crisis.
In Australia, state and federal governments are also cutting the social wage, before the economic crisis has even reached our shores. Meanwhile, government handouts to big corporations continue untouched.
Campaign to restore funding
We in the trade union movement and in community groups must act now to protect our public hospitals and schools. The cuts to hospitals will affect every single Victorian and every single union member.
We need a determined and forceful response to reverse these cuts and demand instead that both governments increase funding to public hospitals. The community rally called by the health unions is an excellent start. This should be part of an ongoing and broad campaign. To be effective in restoring the hospital funding, the campaign needs to be led by the
entire union movement and broadened out to include community groups.
In the 1970s a national strike stopped Malcolm Fraser’s federal government from dismantling Medibank. Victorian statewide, cross-union protests and community rallies are required again to reverse these cuts. Stalls and leafleting at shopping centres, door-knocking and public meetings are also needed.
Put the following motion to your union or community group:
A. The [Name of Union or Community Group] calls on the Victorian Trades Hall Council (VTHC) to plan state-wide coordinated actions, including stop works, rallies, mass leafleting and door knocking campaigns demanding that both the Federal Labor and State Liberal governments reverse the cuts to and increase funding to public hospitals.
B. The [Name of Union or Community Group] will plan its own activities to educate the public about the cuts to Victorian
public hospitals and calls on both the Federal Labour and State Liberal governments to reverse the cuts and increase funding to public hospitals.

Socialist Ideas Seminar

Socialist Ideas Seminar
The road to people’s power in Australia
Saturday, December 1, 10am-5pm
AMWU function rooms, 251 Queensberry St, Carlton South

Guest speakers: 
Live link with Dick Nichols, Green Left Weekly's journalist in Spain
Sam Wainwright, Socialist Alliance Councillor from Fremantle 

AMWU function rooms, 251 Queensberry St, Carlton South

Registration $15/$5. Lunch available.
Organised by Socialist Alliance. For more info ph 9639 8622.


10:30-11:30am PANEL: A revolution in Australia?
Is a socialist Australia remotely possible? How might the struggle actually develop? What is the relationship between the struggle for reforms and the achievement of the ultimate goal of a socialist transformation? Where does parliament and electoral work fit into the picture? Is that how change will be registered? Can we expect to see the pattern of past revolutions (Russian, Cuba, Venezuela) repeated in Australia?
Speakers: Sam Wainwright, Socialist Alliance's Fremantle councillor; Sue Bolton, Socialist Alliance's Moreland councillor
11:30-12:30pm Discussion

12:30-1:15pm LUNCH

1:15-2:15pm PANEL: The movement and the party
Does the struggle against all the madness of capitalism need a leadership? Is a massive popular struggle sufficient by itself? If not, what kind of leadership are we talking about? If we want a mass socialist party, how will it be built? Can we ever overcome the present fragmentation of the left and progressive forces in this country? How did Marx and Engels and Lenin grapple with these questions in their day? What is their real legacy?
Speakers: Sue Bull, union educator and Socialist Alliance Geelong convenor; Tony Dewberry, Socialist Alliance member
2:15-3:15pm Discussion

3:15-3:30pm AFTERNOON TEA

3:30-4:15pm FEATURE TALK: Austerity and resistance in Spain
Green Left Weekly’s European correspondent, Dick Nichols, is based in Barcelona, in Catalonia. He is an ongoing witness to the tremendous class struggles wracking Spain. He will talk about the government’s ruthless austerity program, the massive popular resistance, and the ongoing question of the struggle and its leadership.
4:15-5pm Discussion