Thursday, March 24, 2011

Paola live on ABC!

Thursday March 24, 2011

Listen to Paola live on local ABC radio for the debate between candidates standing in the Keira electorate. She joins the Greens' George Takacs, Labor's Ryan Park and the Liberals' John Dorahy.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Paola in the media

Check out today's Illawarra Mercury for their special election guide. Here's the image of Paola's column with her 'pitch' to voters.
Also she appeared on local Illawarra ABC yesterday as part of a live debate with other Keira candidates including the Greens' George Takacs, Labor's Ryan Park the Liberals' John Dorahy.
George and Paola stood out as clear, rational and pro-people alternatives to the major parties.
Last week Paola featured on local Vox FM with presenter Trevor Mott. She was able to explain what the Socialist Alliance stands for and what she hopes to achieve in this election campaign.

With just two days left to the election, here's five reasons to vote for Paola and the Socialist Alliance:

1. Reverse the privatisations and support public ownership and control of services;

2. Rescue our environment with a transition to 100% renewable energy and green jobs, and protect natural biodiversity;

3. Increase investment in improving and rapidly expanding public housing, health, education and transport;

4. Include and support women, Aboriginal people, Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans and Intersex (LGBTI) people, people with disabilities, refugees, the Muslim community and all those who are scapegoated or ignored;

5. Empower genuine grassroots, democratic control of our lives in our communities and workplaces.

Government's responsibility to protect steel jobs and cut emissions

** MEDIA RELEASE **

Wednesday March 23, 2011 - Local candidates for the Socialist Alliance have condemned the attitude of the two major parties towards action on climate change. They have also renewed calls for BlueScope Steel to build the cogeneration plant. Tony Abbott's visit to the steelworks and Ross Garnaut's comments that BlueScope should receive "assistance" for "90 per cent of their obligation" to reduce pollution have put the issue back in the spotlight.

Paola Harvey, Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of Keira, said: "Tony Abbott doesn't even acknowledge the scientific consensus on climate change, he claims that carbon dioxide isn't a villain. How can we trust his comments on local industry when he displays no understanding of climate science?

"The truth is, the framework for a price on carbon, giving way to an emissions trading scheme, is a step in the wrong direction. Ross Garnaut's comments that BlueScope should only have to pay for 10% of its pollution shows how ineffective this sheme could end up being. If the big polluters can easily absorb the cost without changing their practices, then what's the point?

"BlueScope have known about the need to seriously reduce emissions for many years. They recently reneged on their greenhouse gas reduction deal with the state government by putting off building the cogeneration plant. The plant would reduce carbon emissions by 900,000 tonnes a year, but the steelworks have used excuse after excuse for the delays in construction.

"There is already too much carbon in the atmosphere; we need to reduce emissions across the board including in the steel industry. The state government should require the steelworks to start construction on the cogen plant now. If BlueScope can't afford to take this action they should be required to open their books to workers and the community. If they refuse they should be placed under public ownership, not given more handouts. Why should BlueScope's profits be placed ahead of a safe climate future?

Wollongong-based Legislative Council candidate for the Socialist Alliance, Patrick Harrison, argued: "The standard corporate response to any loss in profitability is to pass the cost onto workers. We've seen this with the steelworks during the recession of the 1980s, and if our state government does nothing, we could see it again in response to this carbon tax. But a publicly owned steel industry would mean the government could guarantee jobs and take action to make the industry cleaner.

"We need state and federal governments to be taking bold action in the face of the greatest threat our species has ever faced. Instead, Abbott is using Labor's carbon tax as another excuse to whip up fear and xenophobia, claiming that China and Indonesia will take our jobs.

"Mr Abbott's comments assume that this is an inevitable move - but the truth is, governments have a responsibility to protect jobs and the economy in a regional area like the Illawarra. Corporate hand-outs aren't going to stop companies moving offshore to cut costs - we saw that with Pacific Brands, which received millions of dollars of government assistance before moving offshore. Instead, we need a government that's willing to stand up to big business and stop them from moving our industry offshore.

"Neither the Coalition nor Labor is willing to do this. If the people of the Illawarra wish to protect their local industry and jobs, then they should vote 1 Socialist Alliance on March 26', Harrison concluded.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Paola's political understanding: 'amazing'

Check out this letter to the editor in the March 15 edition of the Illawarra Mercury. It describes Paola's understanding of the present political situation as 'amazing'!
Our candidates and campaigns receive very little media coverage compared to that of the major parties. But we are getting more and more feedback like this showing that people are looking for an alternative and listening to our ideas.
Paola will be appearing on VoxFM today from 12pm, and will also take part in a live, on-air debate with fellow candidates for Keira, George Takacs, Ryan Park and John Dorahy. The debate will take place next Wednesday March 23, 10.30am sharp. Tune in on 97.3 FM.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Queer candidates stand for marriage equality

** MEDIA RELEASE **

Monday March 14, 2011 - Queer candidates Paola Harvey and Rachel Evans are standing for the Socialist Alliance in the NSW state election. Harvey is standing in the seat of Keira, while Evans is standing for the legislative council.

“The federal government is dragging it's heels on marriage equality,” said Harvey, one of the founding members of Equal Love Wollongong, a community based group that campaigns for marriage equality.

“The marriage ban must be lifted, there should be no laws that discriminate against a section of society.”

“But until we win the repeal of the marriage ban federally, states can take action. NSW should take a stand for equality and legislate to become Australia's first equal marriage state.

“This year's Mardi Gras showed clearly that the queer community wants marriage equality, and that the community supports us. It was the most political Mardi Gras in years with 15 floats calling for marriage equality, and about 300,000 people attending in support.

“For too long the relationships of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people have been classed as different and lesser under the law. Our relationships are equal and the law must reflect that,” she said.

Evans has been campaigning for marriage equality for the past six years and is one of the key organisers of Community Action Against Homophobia (CAAH) and one of the organisers of CAAH's marriage equality float at Mardi Gras. She has also campaigned for a public inquiry into the death of Veronica Baxter, an Aboriginal trans woman who died in an all male jail.

Evans said: “The marriage ban reinforces homophobia and transphobia in society. Just under one in three queer people will attempt suicide. Queer youth get bullied in schools, and trans people face horrific rates of violent attacks.”

“Legislating for marriage equality is a step towards ending homophobia and transphobia, it's a step towards making our society a safe and accepting place for all queers. But by itself it's not enough, we need build a movement that publically campaigns against all discrimination and against homophobic and transphobic attitudes in society.”

The Socialist Alliance campaigns for an end to homophobia and transphobia. It campaigns for full marriage equality, and equal rights for all LGBTI people in society.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Paola speaks to IWD rally


Watch Paola's speech to the Wollongong rally for International Women's Day, held on Saturday March 12, 2011. The main demand of the action was for pay equity - supporting the campaign of the Australian Services Union (ASU) for equal pay for equal work.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Keira ballot draw

Check out the line up in Keira. This image is from today's Illawarra Mercury and it shows the order of the ballot draw.
Socialist Alliance has decided to preference the Greens' George Takacs first in Keira; and to put Labor's Ryan Park ahead of Liberal John Dorahy. Labor deserves to get the boot, but the Liberals will be worse! We'll be urging voters to put the conservative Christian Democratic Party (CDP) last on the ballot.
In the seat of Wollongong we are calling for a vote for Independent Gordon Bradbery first and the Greens' Brendan Cook second. In Shellharbour and Heathcote we're backing the Greens candidates Peter Moran and Phil Smith.
Scroll down this blog for Paola's media release on preferences.

Paola preferences Greens; then Labor before Liberal

Friday March 11, 2011 - The Socialist Alliance has decided to allocate preferences in the seat of Keira, where it's standing student and part-time worker, Paola Harvey. Preferences will first flow to the Greens' George Takacs and then Labor's Ryan Park. Socialist Alliance has also decided to back Independent Gordon Bradbery in the seat of Wollongong; the Greens' Peter Moran in Shellharbour; and the Greens' Phil Smith in Heathcote.

Socialist Alliance candidate for Keira, Paola Harvey, said: 'When allocating preferences we go from the most progressive candidates to the least progressive. We don't do deals with other candidates or parties, but prefer to decide on a principled basis', she said.

'In Keira we'll preference the Greens first. They have progressive policies that are far better than the major parties. George Takacs is a very good candidate and has been involved in many campaigns for social justice and the environment. We are hoping to see an increased vote for the Greens and are backing them in Shellharbour and Heathcote. In Wollongong we hope people will vote for Gordon Bradbery first and then the Greens' Brendan Cook. Gordon's campaign is a serious challenge to Labor from the left, and something everyone should get behind.

'Given how fed up people are with NSW Labor, the pressure to not preference them is enormous. They do deserve to get the boot but we honestly think a Liberal-National Government would be worse. There are clear signs now that this will be the case including Jeff Kennett's advice to Barry O'Farrell to 'go fast early on'. If we have an opinion on who would be better or worse in government for working people, then it's our obligation to indicate this in preferences. So we'll be preferencing Labor's Ryan Park before Liberal John Dorahy.

'Regardless of who's elected to government on March 26, we promise to continue campaigning for social justice, democratic rights and sustainability. Throughout history, unions and community campaigns have forced politicians to legislate for better social conditions and environmental protection. We'll have to keep this up under a Labor or Liberal government. We are urging people to vote socialist and green because we do need more progressives in the next parliament - progressives who will put their efforts into strengthening the unions and community-based organisations', Harvey concluded.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

TAFE students for Socialist Alliance!

Yesterday's Illawarra Mercury polled TAFE students asking them who they plan to vote for in the coming election.
Socialist Alliance activist - and TAFE student - Tim Dobson was happy to oblige!
He cited privatisation reversal and action on climate as the main reasons he'll be voting socialist. You can't quite see it clearly in the photo, but he's holding 'Power Crisis', a book that explains how the ALP's privatisation push has destroyed the party!
The worrying thing is, three of the other students polled indicated they plan to vote Liberal - the party most likely to increase TAFE fees and casualisation.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Paola speaks to free Libya rally!


Watch Paola's speech to the March 5 Wollongong rally in support of the people of Libya struggling for freedom. Other speakers included Libyan students; Dr Munir Hussain, Chairman Omar Mosque; and Gordon Bradbery, independent candidate for Wollongong.

Liberals absent from community meetings

Here's an article from the weekend edition of the Illawarra Mercury, highlighting the fact that Liberal candidate for Keira, John Dorahy, has been absent from many (if not all?) candidate meetings organised by local residents.
Paola is pictured in the article (in white singlet) with Greens candidate George Takacs and ALP candidate Ryan Park. A member of Illawarra Residents for Responsible Mining (IRRM) is pistured holding a John Dorahy mask!
To read Paola's speech to the meeting organised by IRRM visit http://paolaharveyforkeira.blogspot.com/2010/03/paolas-speech-to-illawarra-residents.html

Mercury predicts 2% vote for Paola in Keira

The weekend edition of the Illawarra Mercury predicted some interesting outcomes of the NSW election, set for March 26.
In the seat of Wollongong it predicted a Noreen Hay (ALP) victory by a narrow margin - Hay 53% and Independent Gordon Bradbery 47% after preferences.
In Keira it predicted Paola Harvey would gain 2% of the vote. While still modest this would be an increase on Socialist Alliance's vote in the 2007 NSW election.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

No new coal in Russell Vale!

Last night Paola spoke to a 'meet the candidates' forum organised by Illawarra Residents for Responsible Mining (IRRM), in Russell Vale.

Gujurat NRE, owner of No. 1 Colliery in Russell Vale, wants to expand the colliery's current output by 7.5 times — from 400,000 tonnes a year to 3 million tonnes. Under the plan, 176,500 truck movements will take place each year through suburban areas, IRRM says. Local residents raised concerns about a rise in noise and air pollution from mine operations and trucking.

Paola strongly backed all of the IRRM's demands and promised Socialist Alliance support for the campaign in the future. For Paola's full speech to the meeting visit: http://paolaharveyforkeira.blogspot.com/2010/03/paolas-speech-to-illawarra-residents.html
For more information on IRRM's campaign check out this article: http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/46679

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Paola addresses local neighbourhood forum

On Wednesday March 2, Paola spoke to the local Neighbourhood Five forum (NF5) who, among other things, have fought to keep Glennifer Brae (pictured) in public hands.
The neighbourhood forums are vital to community participation and democracy in Wollongong, especially since the council was sacked in early 2008.
Paola lent her support the NF5's many campaigns, in particular to extend the free shuttle bus service, for fresh elections to Wollongong City Council, to defend the Illawarra escarpment and for better public transport. For Paola's brief speech visit: http://paolaharveyforkeira.blogspot.com/2010/03/paola-addresses-neighbourhood-five.html

Paola speaks to Illawarra community care forum


Check out one of Paola's contributions during discussion at the March 2 forum organised by Illawarra Community Care. Paola, who works as a carer herself, called for a boost in funding to the industry and for an end to competitive tendering. For her full speech visit: http://paolaharveyforkeira.blogspot.com/2010/03/paola-harveys-speech-to-illawarra.html

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Paola calls for free public transport in Mercury

Check out this little article from yesterday's Illawarra Mercury, covering the launch of Paola's campaign at the free shuttle bus stop at the Uni of Wollongong.
According to Paola: 'Public transport in NSW has been seriously neglected, but the free shuttle in Wollongong shows the benefits of an efficient, frequent and free service. Nearly five million passengers have now used the shuttle, an astounding success. Why not learn the lesson and dramatically expand the idea to encourage more people to leave the car at home'?
Scroll down this blog for the full media statement.

The launch was also covered by local ABC, Prime TV and i98 radio.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Paola in the Northern Leader

Check out this article from the Northern Leader, profiling Paola's campaign.
Unfortunately this was the last edition of the Leader as it's ceased publishing. The Leader provided excellent coverage of a range of community campaigns including defence of Sandon Point and the struggle for marriage equality.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Paola addresses Cancer Council meeting

On Friday February 25 Paola spoke at the 'Meet the candidates' forum organised by the Cancer Council. The forum was also addressed by Labor's Ryan Park and the Greens' George Takacs. Paola is pictured, left, with Park.
Paola declared support for the Council's 'Saving Life' agenda, outlining Socialist Alliance policies relating to healthcare and public transport in particular. For Paola's full speech to the meeting visit: http://paolaharveyforkeira.blogspot.com/2010/03/paola-harveys-speech-to-cancer-council.html

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Campaign launch: 'Make all public transport frequent and free’

** MEDIA RELEASE **

Thursday February 24, 2011 - Paola Harvey, Socialist Alliance candidate for Keira, will launch her campaign this Monday February 28, 10am at the University of Wollongong's main bus interchange on Northfields Avenue, Gwynneville. She will be joined by local Socialist Alliance candidates for the Legislative Council, Jess Moore and Patrick Harrison.

The theme of the launch, ‘make all public transport frequent and free’, is a key campaign priority for Harvey. It reflects Socialist Alliance’s commitment to job creation, social justice and immediate action to combat climate change.

‘Public transport in NSW has been seriously neglected, but the free shuttle in Wollongong shows the benefits of an efficient, frequent and free service. Nearly five million passengers have now used the shuttle, an astounding success. Why not learn the lesson and dramatically expand the idea to encourage more people to leave the car at home?’ said Harvey.

‘Making public transport frequent and free will require a large increase in funding. But the benefits, including significant job creation and reduced pollution, would far outweigh the drawbacks.

‘The Begian city of Hasselt introduced free public transport and patronage increased by 870% within a year. The government found they saved money overall, given the subsequent savings on health, road maintenance and construction, and also on ticketing.

‘It's a socially just response to the chronic problems of traffic congestion, lack of parking and lack of mobility faced by poorer sections of the community. Having limited transport options is a major barrier to job seekers finding work, something that our proposal would help overcome.

‘Free public transport would see a dramatic improvement in people’s health. Not only would respiratory diseases and other illnesses associated with pollution decrease, but patient access to care would improve. The Cancer Council estimates that currently 90,000 people per year are refused health related trips on community transport due to lack of capacity. This is simply unacceptable.

‘We stand for putting people and the planet before profit. Making all public transport frequent and free is a common sense response to many of the problems faced by the people of NSW. The free shuttle service proves it’s viable, so let’s get on with the job’, Harvey concluded.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Liberal candidate Dorahy must renounce the racism of his party

** MEDIA RELEASE **


Friday February 18, 2011 - Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of Keira, Paola Harvey, has challenged her fellow candidate John Dorahy of the Liberal Party to immediately renounce the racist remarks and actions made by his party in the so-called “immigration debate”.


The challenge has come after the racist One Nation party claimed that the Liberals are using One Nation policies. A report in the Sydney Morning Herald also said the federal Liberal Party's spokesperson for immigration Scott Morrison wants to capitalise on electorate fears of "Muslim immigration", "Muslims in Australia" and Muslim migrants' supposed "inability to integrate".


Harvey said: 'The remarks made by the Liberal party are downright disgusting and dangerous. First, it raised the idea of cutting foreign aid - a policy stolen from a One Nation party campaign. Next it complained about taxpayers money being used to fly relatives of dead refugees from Christmas Island to the mainland to attend the funerals of their loved ones. Now we have learned that the Liberal party has discussed running a racist scaremongering campaign which is targeting a specific religious and ethnic group.


'Just when you think the Liberal party can't get any lower, they find a way. It's time for all those who believe in a just and fair society to stand up and fight back against this assault on immigrants. That is why I'm making this challenge to the Liberal candidate for Keira today.'


So far, no candidate for the NSW Liberals has spoken out against the racist scaremongering remarks.


Harvey said: 'John Dorahy may well say that this issue has nothing to do with state politics or his electorate, but no-one should take such a proposition seriously. How are Muslims or immigrants living in Wollongong meant to feel when they see Dorahy's party saying such things? Can he give a guarantee that he or his party in New South Wales won't go on a similar witch-hunt? These are answers that we all deserve to know.


'Many will remember the leader of NSW Liberals in 2007, Peter Debnam, calling for the arrest and gaoling of 200 people of Middle Eastern appearance for no reason at all. A racist streak runs deep within the Liberal party. The people living in the electorate of Keira deserve to know whether John Dorahy rejects this and supports the rights of all immigrants to live in this country free from harassment and vilification,' Harvey concluded.


[Dorahy is pictured, right, with fellow Liberal candidates in the Illawarra region]

Support TAFE!

Below is Paola's letter to the NSW Teachers Federation declaring her support for their 'Invest in TAFE' campaign.

Dear members of the New South Wales Teachers Federation,

The last few years have seen the NSW Labor Party go on a privatisation spree, selling off or trying to sell off crucial public assets. Not only that, we've seen consistent attacks on the public sector by the same Labor government, including on TAFE. Since 2003, as the Teachers' Federation has pointed out, spending on public vocational education and training in NSW has declined by 15.7 per cent. We need to reverse this trend and invest significantly in TAFE, knowing the advantages it gives to the state and all those who live in it. That is why I am happy to pledge my support for the Invest in TAFE for a Better State plan and the 5 points contained within it and will raise these issues in the campaign. I am very much looking forward to working alongside the Teachers' Federation to achieve the demands outlined in the plan.

In solidarity,

Paola Harvey
Socialist Alliance candidate for Keira

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Remove abortion from the Crimes Act

** MEDIA RELEASE **

Thursday February 17, 2011 - Premier Kristina Keneally's refusal to remove abortion from the 19th century Crimes Act shows just how out of touch she and her party are. Keneally reportedly made that promise to a forum of Christian leaders at Parliament House on February 15.

Socialist Alliance candidates and women’s rights campaigners Pip Hinman (Marrickville) and Paola Harvey (Keira) described Keneally's position as 'cruel' and 'out of touch'.

'The Premier would know that women will continue to seek and receive abortions in NSW, regardless of the law. She would also know that wherever abortion remains illegal, women – in particular poorer, younger and otherwise disadvantaged women – suffer negative health consequences, physically and emotionally', said Ms Hinman.

'The fact that abortion remains on the Crimes Act means that anyone who has an abortion or assists a woman with one, can be jailed for up to 10 years.

'The possibility of imprisonment is ridiculous, but very real. Last year in Cairns, Queensland, where abortion is also still illegal, a women and her partner were charged with intent to procure an abortion because they purchased RU486 from overseas. They were eventually found not guilty - but only after having been put through a very traumatic experience.'

Ms Harvey said: 'The ALP has always told women that we should rely on a liberal interpretation of the law by the courts. But this is not enough, as the 2006 case with Dr Suman Sood showed. In a very complex case, Dr Sood was convicted for assisting an abortion.

'Opponents of women's right to choose abortion say that such a move would cause the number of abortions to skyrocket. Yet, the evidence from other states that have decriminised abortion doesn't support this.

'Women will continue to have abortions regardless of the law. They need to be safe and free from the possibility of prosecution.

'For at least a decade, surveys have repeatedly shown that the majorities in Australia support abortion rights.'

Ms Hinman said: 'Socialist Alliance campaigns for women's right to choose.

'The decision about whether or not to have an abortion has to be made by the woman concerned, in consultation with whomever she wishes," she said. "The state has no right to interfere,' she concluded.

For more information on Pip Hinman's campaign visit http://www.socialist-alliance.org/nsw/

Monday, February 14, 2011

Coalition's youth unemployment plans a threat to public education

** MEDIA RELEASE **

Tuesday February 15, 2011
- Socialist candidate for Keira, Paola Harvey, has slammed the Coalition's plans to deal with the region's youth unemployment as inadequate and a threat to public education.


'The so-called youth unemployment forum was really just a photo opportunity for the Liberal party. If they were really interested in discussing youth unemployment, why not invite other candidates to get a variety of views or more importantly, why not invite a wider range of young people who are unemployed? Perhaps they feared that young people would have spoken the truth and told them their plans are a dud', said Harvey.


The two major proposals were increasing the amount of careers advisers in schools and the second was to increase business links to schools.


'The first proposal is inadequate as a solution. The major problem with youth unemployment is that there are not enough jobs available, not that there isn't enough advice. The second proposal is just irresponsible. By increasing “business links with schools”, what the coalition actually means is increasing corporate control over education. This process can only lead to the undermining of public education.


'In the United States, corporate control of education has gone so far that some schools are now owned by large banks such as
JPMorganChase and mega-wealthy individuals such as Bill Gates. We don't need a repeat of that here in NSW. Public education should be run for the public good, not as a subsidiary of big business.

Harvey has instead called for large-scale public investment in the region in order to lower youth unemployment.


'Increasing "business links to schools" won't address youth unemployment, because the fact is the private sector isn't delivering enough jobs for young people. Stronger business links won't make jobs materialise out of thin air. What we need is public investment in the region in order to create jobs and deal with some of the social problems we are facing.


'I'm calling for immediate public investment in socially useful jobs and training including in public transport, housing and renewable energy. Through this public investment, we can begin to deal with youth unemployment and climate change. The Coalition's plan, in contrast, won't create more employment and is a direct attack on our public education system', concluded Harvey.

Youth depression requires urgent action

** MEDIA RELEASE **

Tuesday February 15, 2011
- Socialist Alliance Candidate for Keira, Paola Harvey, has called for immediate action by the NSW government to address the extremely high rates of depression suffered by young people across the Illawarra. She has stated that the government must increase funding to hospitals to enhance mental health emergency care to help deal with the impacts of the crisis.

'We need to recognise depression as a social problem, not just an individual problem', said Harvey.

'It impacts on all aspects of society so the response has to been a societal one. 13% of the total disease burden in Australia in 2003 was related to mental health problems and illnesses, while for young people it was 50%. Beyond the health system, the rate of mental illness also harms people's ability to get employment, housing and be a part of community life. While it is a good thing for parents and friends to have talks with anyone they think is suffering from depression, it is obvious that talks alone aren't enough.

'Mental illness also disproportionally affects those already facing disadvantage. We can see the high amount of youth who suffer from depression, but Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males, for instance, had a hospitalisation rate for psychological and behavioral disorders 2.1 times higher than non–Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males in 2005. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females it was 1.5 times as high. Refugees who have fled terrible conditions in their own country and face detention when they arrive in Australia also face higher rates of mental illness problems.


Harvey also called for more equitable funding for prevention, promotion and early intervention in addition to treating mental illness.


'In NSW the mental health system is in a terrible state, the closure of large psychiatric institutions over the years has not been followed by a corresponding rise in resources or funding for out-patient or community-based services', said Harvey.

'We need a system based on positive mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention, which is focused on community care and involvement. This obviously requires the NSW government to commit to large funding increases, and more funding must flow to programs designed for early intervention.

'Early detection of mental health problems is vital. It can greatly decrease the rate of hospitalisation for people experiencing mental illness symptoms. It may also increase the chances of a better long-term outcome. Community awareness and understanding of mental health and mental illness is at the heart of a good prevention and treatment plan, but to gain that community awareness, we need a government that is prepared to properly resource and fund mental health programs,' Harvey concluded.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Local media coverage: Stop the sell-off!

Check out this coverage from the February 10 Wollongong & Northern Leader. Over 100 people rallied against privatisation in Wollongong on Sunday February 6. Thanks to John Kaye's (Greens MLC) office for organising the action.
Scroll down this blog for Paola's speech to the rally and to hear Jess Moore's speech visit http://socialistalliancewollongong.blogspot.com/2011/02/stop-sell-off-climate-action-now.html

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Stop the sell-off! Defend public assets!




Check out Paola's speech from the 'Stop the sell-off' rally held in Wollongong on Sunday February 6. Organised by John Kaye (Greens MLC) other speakers included Jess Moore, Wollongong Climate Action Network; George Takacs, Greens candidate for Keira; Arthur Rorris, secretary, South Coast Labour Council; and Kaye. For Moore's speech visit: http://socialistalliancewollongong.blogspot.com/2011/02/stop-sell-off-climate-action-now.html
Paola called for the annulment and reversal of the sale of electricity assets and a price freeze on electricity for households.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Support emergency services workers!

On Friday February 4, Paola was invited to attend the 'Pride of the Illawarra awards', organised by Rotary Clubs of the Illawarra.
The awards recognised the outstanding contribution made to our community by personnel from the seven local Emergency Services Organisations covering the Wollongong, Shellharbour and Kiama regions.
Paola is a strong supporter of emergency services workers, particularly their rights at work. She's pictured here with members of the NSW Rural Fire Services.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Support People's Power in Egypt

** MEDIA RELEASE **

Thursday February 3, 2011 - Socialist Candidate for Keira Paola Harvey has announced her support for the democracy movement that has swept Egypt and is on the verge of getting rid of U.S and Australian backed dictator, Hosni Mubarak.

'The images coming out of Egypt are inspiring to all those who believe in justice and democracy. People have overcome the fear of torture and even death, to assert their rights and show the world that the people of the Middle East don't need foreign armies to liberate them. They are just fine liberating themselves. My heartfelt solidarity and congratulations to Egyptian emigrates living in New South Wales and the local Wollongong area, many of whom have are living in exile due to the repressive regime. They must be feeling an overwhelming sense of pride in what is happening in Egypt and looking forward to a future free from oppression and dictatorship.


'As the rebellion has swept Egypt, so has a wave of volunteering. When people aren't protesting they are cleaning garbage off the streets, providing food to people, giving medical assistance and all sorts of other activities. Protesters are saying they are now proud of their country and they are willing to look after it.


'What is happening in Egypt proves a valuable lesson to the people of the world, including in Australia. That is, the best way to deal with the political, social and economic problems that society faces is to empower people. An empowered people can achieve what in “ordinary” times, seem like miracles. Seeing what is happening in Egypt reinforces why I'm running in the NSW state elections. I also want to live in a community that feels pride in itself, that is empowered and that overcomes problems by working together in a spirit of solidarity. This is what I will fight for while running in the elections and afterwards', concluded Harvey.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Approval of Calderwood must be annulled

** MEDIA RELEASE **

Tuesday February 1, 2011
- State election candidates for the Greens and the Socialist Alliance today issued a joint call for the annulment of the Calderwood development approval, that was granted by the NSW government under Part 3A last month.

Greens candidate for Shellharbour, Peter Moran stated:

"The Calderwood development is an environmental and planning disaster in the making.

"It is apparent that Planning Minister Tony Kelly has learnt nothing from the experience of Queensland families who built their homes and futures on flood plains. The filling of a flood plain can be expected to increase the incidence of flooding in Albion Park, as well as increasing runoff into Lake Illawarra.

"Every one of the 200,000 semi trailer loads of fill travelling down the main street of Albion Park will be a reminder to residents of just how inappropriate this development is.

"To lose prime agricultural land for the sake of increasing a developers profits is a crime against the future.

"This approval flies in the face of the Governments Illawarra Regional Strategy and the government's own studies which show this area has enough developed, serviced and approved land releases to serve our needs for the next 6 years, by which time the West Dapto release will be going full steam ahead.

The ratepayers of Shellharbour will be required to subsidize this development to the tune of $2 million per annum according to Shellharbour Council. This will be an albatross hanging around the neck of the Shellharbour community.

Part 3A of the EP and A Act allows politicians to foist these unsustainable developments on communities all across the state. Shame on the ALP and the coalition, who both voted for it.

Jess Moore, Socialist Alliance candidate for the NSW Legislative Council, added:

"Rarely do we see such widespread opposition to a single development. The ALP has once again used Part 3A to run roughshod over our community.

"Developer profits have been put ahead of community need.

"Parts of this land are seriously flood prone. The idiocy of developing floodplains speaks for itself. But worse still is that plans to fill in and develop the floodplains will also increase the risk of floods impacting homes in surrounding areas.

"Calderwood is too far from adequate supporting infrastructure. The cost to the local community to service it will be immense.

"The land involved in this development is of high conservation value. It is also among the highest grade
agricultural land in the Illawarra. It shouldn't even be considered for housing. The community needs to decide what parts should be simply conserved and what parts should be used for food production.

"It's been identified that this absurd development is not even needed for the supply of housing in the Illawarra.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Make ALL public transport frequent & free

** MEDIA RELEASE **

Monday January 31, 2011 - Local state election candidates for the Socialist Alliance have welcomed the news that passenger numbers on the free CBD shuttle bus are increasing. They have repeated calls to expand the shuttle service to other areas in NSW and to make all public transport frequent and free.

Paola Harvey, Socialist Alliance candidate for Keira, said: 'The news that nearly 5 million passengers have used the free shuttle service really vindicates our position that if you make public transport frequent and free, people will make the switch.

'The CBD shuttle initiative has been a wonderful departure from Labor's decades long neglect of our public transport system, particularly our rail.

'Dramatically improving public transport would give people the option of leaving the car at home. It's a socially just response to the chronic problems of traffic congestion, lack of parking and lack of mobility faced by poorer sections of the community. It would also reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from the transport sector, which contribute roughly 14% of Australia's total emissions', Harvey said.

Jess Moore, long-time public transport campaigner and Socialist Alliance candidate for the Legislative Council, said: 'We campaigned for frequent and free public transport during the 2007 NSW election campaign. Given the social and environmental benefits of public transport use, all public transport in NSW should be made frequent and free.

'In the Begian city of Hasselt, within a year of introducing free and frequent public transport, patronage increased by 870%. And their government found they saved money overall, given subsequent savings on health, road maintenance and construction, and also on ticketing.

'We stand for publicly owned public transport, not public handouts to private companies. The current Wollongong CBD shuttle service is publicly funded but privately run. This reduces the number of public sector jobs, and needlessly complicates planning, especially across an entire state.

'Any income generated from the public transport system should immediately be directed back into the system, not into private pockets,' Moore concluded.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Coalition is no alternative in NSW

** MEDIA RELEASE **

Tuesday January 25, 2011
- Paola Harvey, Socialist Alliance candidate for Keira, has stated the Coalition is no alternative for the people of NSW. Her comments come in the wake of Coalition plans to cut $3.8 billion of state spending.


‘It’s clear the Coalition offers no alternative to the Labor party. If anything, Barry O’Farrell’s plans will make things worse for the people of NSW. The announcement of their plans to massively cut public sector jobs and services shows this.


‘The Coalition has said very little so far, but people deserve to know what they actually stand for. O’Farrell is hoping to romp it in, not based on support for his policies, but because people are so fed up with Labor.


‘But remember last time they were in government we saw the privatisation of the State Bank of NSW. In opposition the Coalition voted for the introduction of Part 3A, legislation that has been used to run rough-shod over local communities. Also, this is the same party of John Howard and WorkChoices.


‘Socialist Alliance is trying to build a pro-people alternative to both the Labor and Coalition parties. We stand for community need not corporate greed. We're committed to reversing privatisation, to putting the community in control of services and to investing in socially useful jobs and training. Anything less is no alternative for the people of NSW’, Harvey concluded.

Shame on Hills! Gillard should guarantee jobs!

** MEDIA RELEASE **

Tuesday January 24, 2011 - Socialist Alliance has condemned the decision by Orrcon., local steel pipe and tube manufacturer, to sack 16 of its Unanderra workers. Orrcon, owned by the Hills Holdings group, received $486,500 worth of government assistance in 2007.

Patrick Harrison (pictured left), Socialist Alliance candidate for the NSW Legislative Council, said: ‘Shame on Hills. This is how they treat their workers in a region that constantly battles with unemployment. It’s heartless and unacceptable. And the fact that they’ve just increased some of their directors' pay by $250,000 is just a cruel slap in the face.

‘The federal government is approaching this in the wrong way. In 2007 Orrcon received $486,500 in federal funds to employ 14 people, but then sacked 27 people six months later. Now another 16 have been given the flick. Why are they allowed to get away with this? Who is the Labor Party governing on behalf of?

‘Julia Gillard should demand that Orrcon opens its books to workers and the community, to really see if they can’t afford to save these jobs. If this demand is refused Orrcon should be placed in public ownership and the jobs guaranteed by the government. Given the public handouts and our crippling unemployment, this is more than fair enough.

‘We need governments state and federal willing to challenge the corporate elite; governments who make decisions in the interests of people and the planet, not profit’, Harrison concluded.

Harrison is a young worker in Wollongong and a member of the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA).

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Land use for human need not corporate profits!

MEDIA RELEASE

Friday January 21, 2011 - Paola Harvey, Socialist Alliance candidate for Keira, has responded to yesterday's revelation that the Coalition let the mining industry write parts of its regional land use policy.

'In the lead up to the election Barry O'Farrell has tried to label himself a friend of democracy and the environment. Revelations that parts of the Coalition's regional land use policy has been written by the mining industry show that neither is the case', she said.

'Under Labor we saw legislation changed to allow petroleum and gas exploration in state conservation and drinking water catchment areas, the introduction of Part 3A, and an enormous expansion of mining, including Coal Seam Gas. The fact that 70% of NSW is now under mineral and petroleum title or application is testament to this.

'It is clear that both Labor and Liberal are hell bent on the further expansion of mining. And this is regardless of community need, health, water or environmental concerns.

'It begs many questions: What is O'Farrell going to replace Part 3A with? Is the promise to protect Dharawal just a token gesture to expand mining elsewhere?

'The lack of government regulation has been a strong criticism in the campaign against Coal Seam Gas mining. Yet now we hear that the Coalition's stance is to make an unacceptable situation worse: removing commitments to toughen regulatory compliance. An immediate moratorium on CSG is needed.

'We need community wide discussions to determine land use, not secret deals with corporate polluters.

'The short term profits of mining companies cannot be put ahead of the reality that humans need food, clean water and air.

'Sustainability also means jobs. We need to create jobs in alternative and necessary industries -- such as wind and solar power -- to ensure a safe environment,' Harvey concluded.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Power privatisation is ripping us off!

MEDIA RELEASE

Thursday January 20, 2011 - Paola Harvey, Socialist Alliance candidate for Keira, has promised to never support privatisation of the electricity industry. Today she challenged all candidates to declare the same.

'Electricity must be kept in public hands, not sold off to private interests' , said Harvey. 'Every day brings new revelations about how the government has repeatedly lied to us about the terms of and the so called “benefits” of privatisation. The figures - showing that the sell-off will only net a profit of $400 million - are pitiful compared to the benefits of keeping electricity in public hands.

'$400 million will go no where near covering the costs of increasing electricity prices, unreliability of service, job losses and the damaging environmental impacts that are almost certain to follow from placing electricity in private hands.

'The foolishness of the deal can be seen in the fact that the public will have to pay for development of a highly contentious coal-mine, where the profits will flow to private business. In every single way this deal is a dud for the people of New South Wales.

'We are being ill-served by the Liberal opposition and the mass media who spoke out only against the terms of the sell-off but not against privatisation of public assets on principle. A privately owned power industry, like in Victoria, will push up prices, cut jobs, neglect maintenance and will make it harder to make the transition to clean energy sources.

'A publicly owned electricity industry can and should be run for the public good, whilst a privately owned industry will put profits above and beyond everything else. Privatisation should be rejected full stop and this is what I pledge to argue for in the elections', concluded Harvey.

No new gas at Tallawarra! Renewables now!

MEDIA RELEASE

Thursday January 20, 2011
- Paola Harvey, Socialist Alliance candidate for Keira, has called on the NSW government to reverse its January 14 approval for a second gas-fired power station at Tallawarra. Harvey stands for the phasing out of coal and gas-fired power generation and immediate investment in a baseload solar-thermal power station.

'This decision is suicidal in the context of global warming. Australia's power generation is the single biggest cause of greenhouse gas emissions. It's urgent we begin the phase out of all fossil fuel based power generation and start the transition to baseload, renewable energy', she said.

'The recent tragic floods highlight the need to act now. While climate change isn't the sole cause of these events, there's undeniable scientific evidence that it is increasing their devastating effects. It's clear that the cost of continuing our reliance on fossil fuels will far outweigh the cost of phasing them out and replacing them with renewable, non-polluting alternatives'.

'The Tallawarra approval is also completely unnecessary to meet our future power needs. With serious implementation of energy saving and demand management, there would be no need for increased electricity generation capacity in NSW. But Liberal and Labor have no interest in this, they are totally tied to the interests of the big polluters.

'I'm standing to put people and the planet ahead of profit. The people of NSW need the Tallawarra approval to be reversed. Instead, the government needs to draw up plans for immediate investment in a baseload, solar-thermal power station, so the phase out of coal and gas-powered generation can start today', Harvey concluded.