Australia: No money for health & education – but 170 million US $ to ‘protect’ Bush at APEC!

September 7-9 will see George Bush and many other world leaders attend the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation forum (APEC) in Sydney

APEC is a forum organised to discuss how to increase the profits of big business in the Asia Pacific. Plans will be made to increase the exploitation of working people in the region.

Knowing full well that there is massive opposition to cuts, privatisation and attacks to workplace rights, the federal and state governments have introduced a raft of repressive anti-democratic laws aimed at silencing descent and keeping protesters away from the event.

Over 170 million US $ has been handed out to enforce ’security’ at the summit where the central business district of Sydney will be a semi militarised zone. Large parts of Sydney will be blocked off by massive numbers of police, army troops and anti-terror squads. At the same time the government cries poor about the lack of available funds for health and education!

Despite this and the intimidation of known activists (like the G20 arrestees) large demonstrations are planned. It is estimated that thousands of young people, workers and students will descend on Sydney from all over Australia to protest the neo-liberal agenda of APEC.

APEC is heavily lobbied by big business including the mining giants Rio Tinto and BHP. This is to ensure that their profit interests are met with little or no restrictions. With the massive boom in the mining sector, the mining companies will be pushing harder than ever to get their demands met. In just one example of who APEC represents, no workers organisations or community groups have been invited to the event.

Australia and the US are currently in discussions about forming a new agreement within the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership. A leaked document indicates that the discussions are not only aimed at increasing Yellow Cake mining and export but may even lead to Australia heading closer towards its own uranium enrichment programme.

It is expected that for Australia to enter the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership it would have to return a favour to the US by allowing it to dump its spent waste here in Australia. These discussions are believed to be formally placed on the table at the upcoming APEC summit and any agreement would mean huge profits for a number of mining companies and the private nuclear industry.

The APEC delegates continue to promote the ’economic successes’ of neo liberalism and are calling for further privatisations, deregulation and trade liberalisation. It remains a fact that 3 billion people today live on less that $2 a day. The great economic booms in India and China have only benefited the super rich and done next to nothing for the super poor. The policies of APEC hold back efforts to advance industrialisation in the so called ’third world’ and continue to cause massive environmental destruction.

The Socialist Party calls on trade unions to mobilise their members to oppose the anti-worker policies of APEC. The protests would be given a serious boost if the organised working class could link up with the radicalised youth and community activists in opposition to neo liberalism. What is needed is a movement of all those opposed to the system that pushes poverty on the worlds majority. We need to fight for a socialist society that puts the interests of the majority before profits.

Get on the ’Red Buses’ to APEC

SP will be organising a fleet of ’Red Buses to APEC’ from Melbourne to Sydney on September 7-9. We are taking expressions of interest for seats now. If you support the APEC protests against the neo-liberal heavy weights, and can’t make it in person to the protests, you can sponsor a place by donation. In the lead up to the event we will also be holding regular organising meetings. For more information or to put your name down for a seat call our National Office on 03 9639 9111 or email

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August 2007