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:

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

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


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


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


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

Monday, February 14, 2011

Coalition's youth unemployment plans a threat to public education


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


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

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:
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


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.