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Party Statements – 2018

Solidarity with ALCOA workers

CPA statement

August 2018

The Communist Party of Australia stands in solidarity with the 1,600 ALCOA workers who have been on strike for three weeks and counting. They have demonstrated their resolve by committing to an indefinite strike.

ALCOA workers are showing other working people the power of the collective and how to fight against the worsening capitalist agenda that faces us all today.

We urge all to support their struggle for dignified pay and job security. The CPA calls on all workers to join their unions and become active in the workplace.

Only the organised working class can and must defeat their oppressors. Change the rules, certainly, but we must press on to change the system! Fighting is our only hope of winning!

A step forward

CC CPA statement

June 2018

At its June 16-17 Central Committee meeting the CPA issued the following statement on the meeting between Kim Jung Un and Donald Trump:

On Tuesday June 12, 2018, the leaders of the DPRK (North Korea) and the USA met in Singapore to discuss the situation on the Korean Peninsula. This meeting was historic and the results seem positive. The leaders – Kim Jung Un and Donald Trump – hammered out a few basic principles that are a good start.

The June 12 meeting included a welcome commitment to stop US military exercises on the peninsula. President Trump correctly called them provocative. The Communist Party of Australia welcomes what appears to potentially be an outbreak of peace in our region. We hope that the start made on June 12 will be continued so the Korean Peninsula can be denuclearised and the tensions dissipated.

The Korean people of both North and South have wanted for decades to be a united country. The US and other western countries, including Australia, should cease their aggression against the DPRK, to allow the Korean people to resolve their differences on their own.

One regrettable aspect of this process is the extreme negativity of the Australian media and other commentators. Every negative allegation about Kim Jung Un’s life and the government he leads is repeated and exaggerated. Meanwhile there was the customary blindness in reporting about the offences of the US.

It has never been mentioned, for example, that the US is currently waging war in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan and supplying the regime of Saudi Arabia with weaponry to destroy the people of Yemen. That it is attempting to initiate new civil wars in Yugoslavia, Nicaragua, and Venezuela. The US is also supplying weapons to Israel which has just murdered 120 unarmed protesters in Gaza.

The CPA Resolution on the situation on the Korean Peninsula at our National Congress, December 1-3, 2017, reads:

“We urge our government and all sides to take on the policy called ‘Freeze for Freeze’ in which both the US side and the DPRK modify their behaviour. The US government and Republic of Korea are to put a freeze on joint military exercises which are aimed at practising the invasion of the DPRK. The DPRK on its part must put a freeze on all nuclear and missile tests. In this way both sides can compromise and feel that there is some movement forward to peace on the Peninsula.”

Despite what may well be an historic breakthrough, much still remains to be done. The Communist Party of Australia will campaign for a fundamental change in our country’s foreign and military policies as a contribution towards the work for peace on the Korean Peninsula. Our aims include:

  • Australia, as a signatory to the Korean armistice of 1953, must work for a peace treaty to be signed as soon as possible.
  • Australia should establish diplomatic relations with the DPRK.
  • Australia must work for the lifting of sanctions on the DPRK
  • The Australian government must sign the UN nuclear ban treaty – a global treaty to ban the possession, transfer, use and threat of use of nuclear weapons which has been endorsed by 122 countries.
  • Australia must reduce and finally abolish all military exercises with the US. Talisman Sabre – the giant Australian-US war games held every two years – must not be held.

The Australian government is increasing spending to two percent on GDP annually on the military. Now is the time to cancel this increase, cut Australia’s exorbitant and unnecessary military spending, initially by ten per cent.

Pine Gap and the other 50 US war fighting and surveillance facilities on Australian soil must be closed down.

Change the Rules – Change the System

CPA statement

June 2018

The Communist Party of Australia welcomes the ACTU and trade union movement campaign to Change the Rules with respect to Australia’s flawed industrial relations laws.

The Communist Party of Australia will work with trade unions and left and progressive forces to achieve the stated demands to attain new rights for workers in Australia. Though even with these demands being met the nature of exploitation under capitalism will not be changed until capitalism can finally be replaced by a socialist society, so we also say let’s not only Change the Rules but let’s Change the System as well.

That does not diminish our support for this campaign and struggle to achieve new and real rights for working class people, to at least be able to better defend themselves against the imposition of corporate tyranny they experience in their workplaces daily.

The laws for workers are broken. The Fair Work Act however is working very well for the ruling class and employers. Workers are suffering severe attacks from employers, with their standard of living falling constantly. Unions and workers are being criminalised for taking brave and heroic actions in defence of their rights and their lives. All of these attacks on the working class must be stopped and be turned around through ongoing campaigning and struggle to cement rights that give workers the capacity to fight back and restore gains lost and to build new rights. Only a sustained mass movement will provide the basis of success for this campaign.

Corporate power has never enjoyed so many rights as today in Australia. Workers have been hamstrung with anti-union laws and the removal of basic rights that allowed a semblance of a fight-back. While the capacity of workers to struggle has been removed in a bourgeois legal sense, that capacity of course still exists amongst the working class and should be fully utilised by the movement to meet the demands.

The Communist Party of Australia agrees with many of the major demands that are emanating from the Change the Rules movement although some of the claims for new rights have been left somewhat vague with insufficient detail. The right to strike is an example of this vaguely described political and industrial demand. While tactical considerations can be considered in areas of campaigning, the outline and willingness to fight for the full right to strike needs to be stated.

An encouraging sign from the Change the Rules campaign is a recognition that the working class disarmed itself after the election of the Rudd government. The Your Rights at Work campaign which was primarily responsible for the election of Labor and the unseating of Howard was destroyed to prevent any opposition to the incoming Labor government, a strategy which let Labor off the hook to act as they wished in the parliamentary wing of that party.

Labor betrayed the unions and the working class and did not deliver promised outcomes for workers. The ALP even maintained the dreaded star chamber ABCC which continues to fine and criminalise working class action and has resulted in loss of life due to the criminalising of workers defending themselves around safety.

Flowing from this, many unionists and leaders within the trade union movement have said that the movement will pursue Labor if they do not deliver for working people. We support this proposition and agree Labor must be held to account and if necessary a Labor government should bear the full brunt of working class reprisal when they choose to side with the employing class yet again. To adopt any other approach would see us again on the treadmill of betrayal and will not progress the cause of the working class. Following through on this position is vital to the integrity of the union movement as a whole.

Of the many demands being put forward by the campaign, the CPA would like to highlight what we believe are the most important demands of the campaign.

  • The CPA believes that workers must have full rights to strike. The Party’s policy position is to remove any barrier to industrial action and this includes the removal of all secondary boycott provisions including actions in solidarity with workers, communities and movements locally to international struggles of workers and people’s
  • Removal and abolition of the ABCC must be non-negotiable as is the abolition of the Registered Organisations Commission (ROC).
  • Industry-wide and supply chain bargaining rights must be enshrined. Enterprise agreements were always a retreat and every attempt to move to broader forms of bargaining are supported by the CPA
  • The right of a worker to be represented at any time, at any workplace by a union is vital in being able to stem the tide of union decline. The CPA believes in full rights for unions to inspect, represent, enter and be provided with all relevant employment data
  • No limitations or restrictions on what can be bargained into agreements
  • Direct permanent employment is CPA employment policy. Labor hire and involuntary casual and precarious work must ultimately be abolished. This is an unlikely outcome arising out of this campaign but protections are required to ensure some security of employment for workers. We support any restrictions on these forms of employment to achieve that final goal
  • Full and equal pay for women
  • Pay rises for workers with less capacity must be flowed on from workers that have the capacity to fight. This could include solidarity actions in terms of action flowing from the right to strike as well as legal mechanisms to ensure awards keep pace with the cost of living. Non-award agreement outcomes should flow to all workers under award coverage
  • The CPA supports government procurement policies that directly support local manufacturing industries
  • Penalty rates must be restored and improved to the highest social standards
  • Strong statutory domestic violence leave to deal with the scourge of domestic violence in Australia must be a legislated right for all.

The Communist Party of Australia highlights the absolute importance of every worker joining their union. The Communist Party of Australia encourages all members to be active in the Change the Rules campaign.

The Communist Party of Australia is organising our members to coordinate their activity and get behind this push to win new rights for workers recognising always that we need to maintain the fight to change the very system of capitalism itself which lies at the heart of the problem for workers.

For peace and self-determination

CPA statement

May 2018

The Communist Party of Australia sends its heartiest congratulations to the people of Venezuela on their decision to re-elect President Nicolas Maduro and to stay on the path taken with the triumph of the Bolivarian Revolution in 1998. President Maduro’s part in this victory is plain and is also deserving of sincere appreciation of progressive, peace loving people the world over.

The people of Venezuela have withstood enormous pressure from a terroristic opposition and grave threats from the US in order to keep to their chosen course of social development. The gains the people have made far outweigh the economic shortcomings engineered for them by the Trump administration and the US-backed opposition, including in the business sector.

The reports received from delegates, including that of our own Party President who witnessed the historic event, are that it was an expression of self-determination and for peace. It was also a repudiation of the Lima Declaration and its call for a humanitarian intervention in Venezuela.

We repudiate the economic war being waged against the Venezuelan people by the US and its allies. These attacks make it very difficult for the Bolivarian government to purchase food and medical supplies. We salute the efforts by President Maduro and his government to confront the crisis and defend the Bolivarian Revolution despite the huge challenges.

We call on the Australian government to recognise the electoral process and the will of the Venezuelan people who re-elected President Maduro for another 6-year term until 2025.

The victory is welcome and deserved, but as General Secretary of the Communist Party of Venezuela, Oscar Figuera, pointed out, there is no time to celebrate. It is time to govern and make the overdue changes to deepen the movement towards socialism in Venezuela. In making those decisive changes, Venezuela can continue to rely on the Communist Party of Australia for its full support and solidarity.

Bob Briton – General Secretary
Vinnie Molina – President
Communist Party of Australia

The repeal of the abortion ban in Ireland

CPA Youth statement

May 2018

The Communist Party of Australia Youth strongly endorse the struggle of the Connolly Youth Movement and all other progressive struggle across Ireland for the repeal of the abortion ban during the upcoming referendum on the 23rd of May.

Like the CYM, the Communist Party of Australia recognizes the importance of protecting women’s autonomy and control over their own reproductive rights and see the struggle for legal and state regulated access to abortion as intrinsically connected with the historical struggle for women’s liberation.

Both in Australia and Ireland, the Communist Party of Australia Youth see the struggle for the repeal of abortion bans and the fight for access to safe abortion clinics as part of the same struggle against capitalism’s need to control women’s reproductive ability in order to protect the family structure. The family structure has historically been a necessary ideological tool for both the reproduction of the male workforce and the lowered wages in feminized labour industries.

As well both in Australia and Ireland, the struggle for safe access to abortion sees working people contend not just with the most anti abortion elements of the state but also more broadly against the influence of the church in political and social life.

On Thursday in Sydney, a bill will be put before Parliament on access to abortion clinics and the University of Sydney Women’s Collective had this to say:

"I am from Norwin, a small town west of Dubbo and growing up if I ever needed to access abortion services I would have needed to travel 500 kilometres or take unsafe measures into my own hands. That is the reality women face, it is going to continue happening, just in dangerous ways because there is nowhere else to turn to."

The CPA Youth recognise the struggle of Irish women to either travel to Britain for access to abortion or similarly take unsafe measures as being an abhorrent product of current abortion legislation that simply cannot continue.

For the global struggle for women’s liberation against oppressive capitalism, the CPA Youth stand with the Connolly Youth Movement and the women of Ireland on Friday.

Act of war

CPA statement

April 2018

The Communist Party of Australia condemns last week’s military attack against Syria in the strongest possible terms. Early morning of April 14 the United States, Britain, and France launched over one hundred missiles at Syrian targets in Damascus and Homs. Such aggression punishes the Syrian people for refusing to submit to the regime-change agenda imposed on their country by outside powers, and by provoking nuclear-armed Russia, raises the potential for global war, putting our planet and future generations at great risk.

The aggressors justify their actions on the grounds that they are punishing Syrian president Bashar al Assad for the alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians. No evidence has been presented to substantiate the allegations. We can find no logical reason for the Assad government to resort to such methods, given that the militias they were fighting in Douma had already surrendered.

This aggression can only be explained in terms of the reason for the war in general, namely that it is driven by the attempt to overthrow the Syrian government, NOT the Syrian government resisting those attempts.

For the past seven years the Anglo-American alliance, NATO, the Gulf regimes, Jordan, and Israel have armed and funded the reactionary militias waging war against the Syrian state. They have backed the militias by engaging in airstrikes against Syrian government forces, in what amounts to the most heavily bankrolled “dirty war” in modern history.

These “islamist” militia are responsible for the genocide of religious minorities, particularly Alawites, Druze and Christians, which dominates the war against the Syrian state. These forces actively subjugate women living under their control, robbing Syrian women of the freedoms they had won under secular Ba’athist rule.

Australia plays its part by endorsing the US actions and participating in economic sanctions against Syria. Sanctions have driven up the price of food and medicine, punishing ordinary Syrians, and making it extremely difficult for Syrian expats and refugees to send money home to aid their relatives.

Australia took part in the bombing-raid massacre of over 100 Syrian soldiers who were defending their town of Deir al Zour which at the time was completely surrounded by Daesh terrorists who were laying siege to the city. Even the mainstream corporate media admitted that the “mistake” benefited Daesh.

Ever since the 9/11 attacks in the US, Islamophobia has become the dominant racism of western ruling classes globally, however the irony is that while Australian workers are taught to fear their fellow Muslims, the Australian government openly collaborates with Saudi Arabia, the biggest exporter of “Islamic” extremism in the world today.

We demand the Australian government withdraws from the US Alliance and develop an independent foreign policy. This includes accepting the will of the Syrian people to determine their future.

We demand the Australian government use their influence to promote a political solution to the conflict rather than blindly endorsing criminal military action.

We demand Australia end the economic sanctions on Syria that punish ordinary Syrians by driving up the price of essentials, and block the flow of remittances.

We demand that the Australian government re-establish normal diplomatic relations with the internationally recognised Syrian government. We demand an independent investigation into the massacre of over a hundred Syrian soldiers in 2016 that the Australian air force participated in.

We demand the immediate reduction of Australia’s military budget by 10% to fund education, health and social welfare for all Australians.

Solidarity against Venezuela blockade

CPA statement

March 2018

The Communist Party of Australia condemns in the strongest possible terms the decision of the Australian government to support the US campaign of sabotage and disruption against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela at a recent meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council. The bulk of the countries represented at the gathering supported a motion from the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries (NAM) to condemn US actions including the imposition of sanctions, including one last week against Venezuela’s crypto currency, the Petro.

As the NAM’s motion pointed out, the sanctions “disproportionately” affect “the poor and most vulnerable classes”. Support from these sectors of Venezuela are solidly behind the government of Nicolas Maduro. Despite current hardships, it is the poor of Venezuela who have been the main beneficiaries of the many programs directed towards social justice since the beginning of the Bolivarian Revolution in 1998.

Of particular concern with the Australian government’s support for the US blockade on Venezuela is that it prevents the government from purchasing food and medicines for the people. The blockade also affects those working at the Venezuelan embassy as both the CBA and NAB banks are prevented by the US blockade from trading with Venezuela; a situation that makes it extremely difficult for the embassy in Canberra to operate.

It is Venezuela’s very wealthy who don’t experience the hardships imposed by the US, who give local support to often violent opposition. The people of Venezuela will win and their revolution will continue to deepen.

The Communist Party of Australia urges it members and supporters to do all they can to offer solidarity to the people and government of Venezuela.

Stop the drive to war

CPA statement

February 2018

With the appointment of Admiral Harry Harris, Pacific Commander of US forces in the Indo-Pacific, as the new US ambassador to Australia, the Trump administration has in place the main link in its chain of command for overseeing Australia’s role in a planned Asia-Pacific conflict.

The Harris appointment came as PM Malcolm Turnbull last week concluded talks with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, officially signing off on the deployment of Japanese military forces in Australia’s north, joining the growing US military presence in the top end.

Australia’s intended role is as a platform for land and air attacks and provision of facilities for the planned joint naval offensive, a scenario constantly rehearsed in war games and the development of the interoperability of the US-Australian militaries. This strategy is integral to the role of the US bases on Australian soil, in particular the Pine Gap spy base.

Preparations are underway for Australia’s part in a predatory, imperialist war fought on behalf of the transnational corporations challenged by Asia’s – in the first place China’s –emergence as an economic powerhouse.

Domestically, the means have been put in place to silence voices of dissent, including the introduction of laws to jail journalists who may be caught up in a net of legislation open to wide interpretation and based on the assumption of guilt for simply doing their job.

The word “treason” now accompanies laws threatening to defund advocacy groups critical of government policies or in receipt of monies deemed to be “foreign influence”.

War rhetoric

In terms of propaganda, it is instructive to note some of the contradiction in the war rhetoric coming from the US and its various lap dogs, including the Turnbull government.

The government is now labelling a growing number of things deemed “foreign” to be by definition “suspicious”, first and foremost things Chinese. This, even as last November’s foreign policy white paper noted with almost salivating anticipation that China’s domestic purchasing power alone is set to grow to $21 trillion by 2030.

At the same time the Communist Party of China’s “sinister” influence has supposedly spread to universities around the country. Foreign students are Australia’s third biggest export earner, including almost 132,000 Chinese citizens studying at more than 30 Australian universities.

The white paper also attacked China’s rightful land reclamations in the South China Sea, saying it is in contravention of international law, while hailing the US as “founder and chief defender” of the “rules-based order”, in spite of the US not even having ratified the maritime law it insists China is breaking.

The government of the US is now an open and unambiguous dictatorship of money with, as its crowning achievement, a billionaire property developer. Those elements of the ruling class which support Trump and ensured his enthronement in the Oval Office have set the US on the path of the most reactionary and militaristic elements of monopoly capital toward war and destruction, no less than nuclear conflagration.

A few facts

The US refusal to accept the legitimacy of the government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is part of a long-term policy – that any state in the world that follows an independent course is subject to being overthrown by the US. The DPRK, Vietnam, Cuba, the USSR (and now Russia), Syria, Venezuela, China … have all been targeted by the US politically and militarily.

In terms of the region, the notion that DPRK poses a threat to the US and international security and peace, is false to the point of absurdity.

CONCLUSION (for your enhancement)

The danger is clear and present Peace movement splintered Need for union involvement The urgent need to build broad united movement against war, for peace.

Banning the Eureka flag will not break our spirit!

CPA statement

February 2018

The recent decision of the Turnbull government to ban the Eureka flag from construction sites is a further attack on the spirit and organisational capacity of Australia’s workers. The Eureka flag has been a symbol of resistance to injustice since it was first flown at the uprising on the gold fields at Ballarat on December 3, 1854. It was raised by workers from many countries to express their willingness to fight against oppression.

“We swear by the Southern Cross to stand truly by each other and fight to defend our rights and liberties.” - the Eureka oath.

Workers on today’s Australian building sites are now harassed and prosecuted for taking legitimate industrial action, ripped off by unscrupulous employers and their unions targeted with crippling fines and denial of the right of entry.

On average, one construction worker per week dies on Australian building sites. If the government were concerned about workers, it would move quickly to stop these outrages. Instead, they are engaging in an ideological struggle to break working class solidarity right down to the banning of symbols.

Construction workers are defying this bullying action on the part of the Turnbull government. Other unionists are showing their support. The public shares their outrage at the pettiness of the move and the disrespect for Australia’s working class history and traditions.

The Communist Party of Australia stands squarely with construction workers against this latest attack, which is part of an ongoing campaign to destroy our unions and leave us defenceless in the face of ruthless exploitation.

The CPA demands the repeal of the Building Code 2016 and the abolition of the anti-union Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).

The fightback against the Coalition’s agenda is ongoing and gathering strength. The workers of Australia can and will win this battle.

Right to Strike

CPA statement

January 2018

The Communist Party of Australia condemns the pro-NSW government decision of the Fair Work Commission in overturning the rail strike planned for January 29 being led by the Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU).

Rail workers jobs have been shed and rail services cut, placing enormous pressure on the rail system and workers. NSW trains only function on the basis of workers working overtime at a time when job creation is a major issue.

The CPA supports the demands of rail workers and rejects the FWC or any other party having the right to curtail the democratic wishes of the RTBU’s membership in the only possible way that these workers can improve their lives, wages and conditions at work.

This is yet another example of the broken nature of laws for workers in Australia. The FWC, playing its role as an arm of the state, has acted for the bosses and Liberal government in stopping the strike.

The CPA fights to see that workers’ rights are restored in this country through a huge rewrite of industrial laws to give workers the unfettered right to strike and to collectively bargain across industries. The entire Fair Work Act is unfair and must be abolished and replaced with new laws that can actually assist workers against the huge power of their greedy corporate masters.

To achieve these changes a huge struggle will have to ensue and the CPA is committed to working alongside all forces dedicated to genuinely improving the lives of workers in Australia.

Solidarity with the RTBU
Solidarity with rail workers
The right to strike for all

Solidarity with Oaky North miners

CPA statement

January 2018

The Central Committee Executive of the Communist Party of Australia expresses our heartfelt solidarity, gratitude and respect to the Oaky North miners who are in their 200th day of being locked out by huge multi-national corporation Glencore.

The CPA stands by the miners and their union, the CFMEU Mining and Energy Division, who are targets of the war on workers being waged by the ruling class and the Turnbull government.

The agenda of employers and the Turnbull government is to de-unionise Oaky North mine. The workers have stood up and are fighting back against the reactionary political agenda that destroys working people’s lives in favour of the biggest possible corporate profits.

The CPA recognises the fight of the Oaky North miners as the struggle of all working people in Australia. Our members are being organised to provide active support and assistance to the Oaky North miners.

The struggle at Oaky North does not however stand alone. The attack on the miners in Queensland is unfortunately not isolated as the workers at Esso Longford and the Port Kembla Coal Terminal can attest also being under severe attack by their employers. The CPA Executive considered the current industrial struggles across Australia and supports calls for workers’ rights to be strengthened.

The CPA advocates the full right to strike for workers including secondary boycotts, industry-wide bargaining and the removal of the ABCC.

Australia Day: Change the date … and the system!

CPA statement

January 2018

CPA statement on the date of As January 26 approaches, a vigorous debate is raging in the media about the current date for Australia’s national day. Long-standing requests for reconsideration of the date have been ignored and pilloried by reactionary forces as “divisive” and examples of “political correctness”. Supporters of the current, radically inappropriate date suggest that, while January 26, 1788 was the date on which the British proclaimed possession of the entire land mass of Australia inhabited by dozens of nations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, that is somehow a suitable occasion for the celebration of the achievements of modern, multicultural Australian society.

Some of the more sophisticated of the defenders of the indefensible date have pointed out that changing the date would do nothing to improve the lot of Aboriginal people and, therefore, not worthy of consideration. If nothing other than changing the date were to happen, the exercise would not be very worthwhile. But if the date were changed as part of a recognition of a great historical wrong, the effects of which are still reverberating in the form of lower life expectancy, massively higher incarceration rates, deaths in custody, the removal of children from their families and other outcomes of dispossession and policies of genocide, it would be an important step, both symbolically and in practical terms.

Such a step and such a change is long overdue. In 1938, on the occasion of the sesquicentenary of British invasion of Australia, a national meeting of Aboriginal people in Sydney issued a call for January 26 to be declared a day of national mourning and protest.

The Communist Party of Australia supported the call and the movement that sprang from the Sydney meeting. The CPA still supports such treatment of the day currently called “Australia Day”. We support and work with others for immediate steps to right the historical wrongs, the establishment of enduring lands rights and the eradication of systemic and other forms of racism. These tasks – and the immediate and the ultimate one of building socialism – go hand in hand and the Communist Party is committed to both.

Previous years: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011

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