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Vol. 77/No. 32      September 9, 2013

Door to door: Australian workers
sign to put communists on ballot
(front page)
SYDNEY — Campaigning door to door in workers’ neighborhoods and at political events here, supporters of Ron Poulsen, a factory worker and Communist League candidate for the federal senate from New South Wales, collected in less than two weeks well over the required 100 signatures to place him on the ballot in the Sept. 7 national elections.

After a campaign team knocked on his door, Stephen Roach, 41, a casual (temporary) forklift driver with a transport company, signed for Poulsen. He expressed concern at the growth of casual work and “the number of agencies” who profit from pushing workers into temporary jobs. Roach saw this as the reason “hourly wages are going down, destroying any stability for workers.”

The communist candidate explained his campaign’s call “for a mass movement, including the unions, to fight for a government-funded program of needed public works to provide jobs for all. This fight should also demand an increase in the minimum wage to improve the conditions of the lowest-paid workers — casual and youth, female and immigrant — and help unify the working class.” “Our election campaign is centered on discussing the impact of the growing global capitalist crisis, increasingly evident now in Australia, on the jobs and livelihoods of working people,” Poulsen told the Militant.

The elections have been marked by competition between the main bourgeois parties to see who can propose harsher measures to close the door on so-called “illegal” asylum-seekers coming to Australia by boat.

Liberal opposition leader Anthony Abbott declared the issue a “national emergency.” In response, Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced refugees without papers would no longer be allowed to settle in the country.

“These refugees are people too,” Roach said as he signed up for a subscription to the Militant. “They have the right to escape whatever horrible conditions they are leaving behind.”

At an Aug. 4 meeting in Sydney celebrating 60 years of the Cuban Revolution, Poulsen spoke on the campaign to free the Cuban Five, political prisoners held by Washington since 1998, and on Cuba’s participation from 1975 to 1991 in an internationalist mission that helped drive invading white supremacist South African forces out of Angola. Three of the Five participated in the Angola campaign. Fifty of those at the meeting signed to help get the communist candidate on the ballot.  
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