Thursday, December 23, 2010

Together we are stronger!

Paola Harvey and Jess Moore's open letter to the progressive community in Wollongong was published in today's letters section of the Illawarra Mercury.
The letter appeals for community minded and progressive campaigners to work together to provide a real alternative to the major parties, particularly in the context of the political crisis facing Labor in NSW. Check it out here.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

SA candidate for Legislative Council: No new coal!

Below is Patrick Harrison's speech to 'Carols at the Colliery', an action held on Tuesday December 21, 2010 in Russell Vale (just north of Wollongong) to protest a proposed coal expansion.

"Hello, my name is Patrick Harrison. I am a Legislative Council candidate for the Socialist Alliance in the upcoming NSW state elections; I'm also a climate activist involved in the campaign for 100% renewable energy at the University of Wollongong.

The Socialist Alliance opposes all new coal development and infrastructure. It's what the science demands we do, and the alternatives to coal are ready to go. The expansion of the Gujarat NRE No.1 colliery is a threat to local residents' health and safety, it's a threat to precious drought-resistant water supplies throughout the region, and it will lead to a massive increase in the amount of coal trucks on our roads, further threatening health and safety as well as adding to the pollution already being generated by the mine".

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Stop the sell-off; stop the price increases!

Friday December 17, 2010

MEDIA RELEASE - Paola Harvey, Socialist Alliance candidate for Keira in the NSW state election, has announced she supports a freeze on electricity price increases for households. Her statement comes after an Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) survey that shows more than half of all low-income families with mortgages are struggling to pay their power bills.

'The people of NSW, most of whom are already struggling with cost of living expenses, saw electricity price increases in July. Over the next three years prices are set to rise by at least 20% and up to 64%. These are increases that many people simply cannot afford and will drive people further into debt. The government needs to put controls in place that will guarantee no further price increases for households', said Harvey.

'At the same time, we need to stop all discounts given to big business. In 2005-2006 the fossil fuel industry was given up to $1.9 billion worth of electricity subsidies across Australia. Imagine if this money was used instead to help those low-income earners, or used to invest in clean, renewable energy? People shouldn't have to put up with price increases while the big polluters are receiving handouts.

Harvey stands for keeping public assets in public hands, including opposition to the privatisation of electricity. She announced her support for the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) statement that the union wouldn't support candidates who support privatisation.

'Bernie Riordon, ETU Secretary, was sacked as NSW ALP President for his union taking a principled stand that they cannot support candidates who support electricity privatisation. This shows how out of touch the Labor Party is. How could the ETU support the Labor government, which has already privatised electricity assets, which will see job losses, price increases, less reliable service and less environmental safeguards, as has been the case in Victoria and South Australia?

'The fact is that the vast majority of people in this state want to keep electricity in public hands. As a candidate, I pledge to fight for the annulment of the sale of recently sold electricity assets, which was done in an undemocratic and secretive manner and oppose the further privatisation of the electricity network. I will be guided by the principle that public assets should be held in public hands and should be used for the public good', Harvey concluded.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

To the progressive community in Wollongong

Thursday December 16, 2010

Dear friends,

In the lead up to the NSW state election support for Labor is at an all-time low. Satisfaction with the NSW Labor party has dropped to 23% (Newspoll), this is the second lowest rating in history. The Liberal's approval rating is 46% and the Greens 17%, just 6 points less than Labor. The coalition leads Labor 63% to 37% on a two-party-preferred basis. This is the largest split recorded by Newspoll, with the exception of federal Labor's lead over the Coalition at the height of Kevin Rudd's popularity at the beginning of 2008.

The reasons for this are clear. Labor's hugely unpopular privatisation push has alienated supporters, continual scandals and corrupt conduct have destroyed trust and the undemocratic Part 3A legislation has been used to run rough-shod over communities. Locally, the people of Wollongong and Shellharbour still do not have the democratic right to an elected local government, the result of a state government decision.

What is clear is that the decline in support for Labor will likely result in a Liberal government unless we find the ways to build a progressive team that puts forward an alternative, recognising that we are not united behind one party or group at this time.

Of course this need, while abundantly clear in the current political context, goes beyond the state election. Building progressive alternatives and resistance is always needed. Furthering collaboration and relationships and finding the ways to work together whenever there is agreement is an essential part of this.

Waiting for a broad progressive team will only mean delay, and with it our ability to put people and the planet before profit. A progressive team will have to be consciously developed.

There is a great deal of common ground in terms of what people believe is needed. Commonly supported candidates in elections, shared campaigns, and broad inclusive discussions would help maximise our effectiveness. However, we support all steps toward collaboration.

So if you are interested in working together for social justice, sustainability and democracy; in looking for agreement before disagreement; and in building progressive alternatives and resistance broadly; please contact us.


Jess Moore and Paola Harvey
Socialist Alliance

Jess Moore: 0416 232 349 or
Paola Harvey: 0416 118 612 or

'It's an everyday thing for me'

Check out Paola in today's Illawarra Mercury, in response to Labor candidate Ryan Park's 'extraordinary' pledge to volunteer one day a week if elected to parliament. The Merc contacted other candidates to ask if they would match Park's pledge. Paola replied, 'I already volunteer a lot of time to community-based activist groups. It's an everyday thing for me and I'd continue it if elected. I think MPs should be better in touch with their community; the role of an MP is to work with people.'
Over the last two weeks for example Paola has spent countless hours in the streets gathering signatures on a petition calling for support for Julian Assange and Wikileaks. She's also been contacting our local federal MPs, on behalf of Equal Love, to find out what they've been doing to seek out their constituent's views on equal marriage.
Given Ryan Park's Labor Party governs in the interests of the corporate elite and continues efforts to shift wealth from the poor to the rich, we'd encourage him to leave the ALP and join the struggle for a better world. The sooner we build a pro-poor alternative to Labor and Liberal, the sooner we'll see real action for those most in need.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Vote 1 Paola Harvey!

Check out this image from yesterday's Illawarra Mercury, it shows the candidates that have (so far) declared for the seat of Keira.
If you think NSW shouldn't be for sale, and would like to help the campaign to put community need ahead of corporate greed in Keira, please contact us on 0425 329 963 or

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

'Fix public transport. Make it frequent and free'

Wednesday December 8, 2010

MEDIA RELEASE - Paola Harvey, socialist candidate for Keira, has called for a massive funding boost to public transport in order to fix the system's chronic problems.

'We need to move away from car dependency and encourage more people to use public transport, but the NSW government is doing the opposite. In 2009-10 there were 2.3 million fewer passenger trips on the NSW rail network compared to 2008-09. Poor management and lack of investment over many years has pushed people out of the system. This is unacceptable for social and environmental reasons', she said.

'Complaints are also on the rise. People are sick of delays, overcrowding and bad communication. It's time to turn things around. Boosting funds to expand public transport will encourage people back and dramatically reduce carbon emissions as less people are forced to rely on private cars. Decent public transport is more equitable; it assists the economically disadvantaged and those looking for work.

'To encourage as many people as possible to make the switch from private car transport to public transport, a three-month trial of free public transport should be conducted across all urban, regional and rural areas. If the trial confirms a significant increase in public transport patronage, it should be made permanent. The usage of Wollongong's free CBD shuttle buses shows this is likely to happen.

'The savings made by society in lower air pollution, less road congestion etc would outweigh the costs of making public transport free. In addition to our health and the environment, common sense demands this approach be taken up', Harvey concluded.