On Saturday, a meeting of the Committee for Public Education, attended by teachers and academics, registered unanimous opposition to anti-democratic electoral laws rushed through federal parliament by Labor and the Liberal-National Coalition this month.
The legislation, trebling the number of members required for a party to stand in elections under its own name, is a desperate attempt to insulate the political establishment from mounting social opposition. Its aim is to prevent the immense anger over social inequality, war and the catastrophic official response to the pandemic, from finding any expression.
The teachers and academics in attendance noted the direct relationship between this attack and the issues they confront. Governments, together with the unions, are currently planning a mass return to in-person teaching in Victoria and New South Wales, as the Delta variant spirals out of control. The Committee for Public Education, along with the Socialist Equality Party, which initiated it, are campaigning against this homicidal program and for rank-and-file safety committees of teachers and school staff.
The resolution stated:
“This meeting of school and university educators, supporters of the Committee for Public Education (CFPE), endorses the campaign launched by the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) calling on the working class to defeat the new anti-democratic electoral laws rammed through parliament last week, spearheaded by the Labor Party.
“Under the legislation, political parties without sitting members will be forced to submit lists of 1,500 members, trebling the current requirement, for the basic democratic right to have their party names on ballot papers to identify their candidates. The SEP and other parties have been given just three months to gain 1,000 new members, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and widespread lockdowns.
“These measures have been implemented amid mounting hostility to Labor and the Liberal-National Coalition, accelerated by their bipartisan refusal to combat the pandemic and their drive to prematurely reopen workplaces and schools at the cost of hundreds, if not thousands, more lives.
“We appeal to all educators and students to demand the repeal of these laws and to join the SEP as electoral members to help ensure that the SEP is able to stand in elections in its name in order to advance an opposed socialist program.”
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