The New Zealand Example
At its founding in late 1996, many people who came together to form the PLP were inspired by the NZ example.
They had seen that in NZ an electorally successful “Alliance” of minor parties committed to ending neoliberalism had become an effective “Third Force” in NZ politics and the major parties had to reckon with it. These minor parties had been campaigning separately for years but together they were able to form an effective critical mass. The change of voting method in NZ in 1996 to “Proportional voting” was a catalyst for this.
The NZ Alliance had a number of points for co-operation and the Alliance principles for the PLP (below) were adapted from those successfully employed in NZ.
These principles and the statement are suggestions only and would need to be discussed and ratified by the decision-making body of the PLP.
10 points for co-operation and a statement on Alliance Principles
Criteria for working with other parties and groups.
We will work towards reversing neoliberalism and its adverse effects on Australia's economy, politics, society, culture and environment, stressing our obligations as world citizens and striving to realize the ideals for which the United Nations was founded.
10 suggested areas for co-operation:
Honesty and accountability. We will consult and stick to our priorities.
We will work for proportional representation as the basis of voting in all federal, state and local government elections.
The protection and restoration of the environment as the basis of all life.
The right of Australians to meaningful work and an adequate living income.
Protection of the right of trade unions to advance and defend living standards.
The right to free health care, free public education and access to quality housing.
Restoration to the public sector of privatised public utilities. Services like electricity, telecommunications, water, post and public transport must be run as a service to the community not purely for profit.
Support Native Title Rights for Australian Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. Opposition to discrimination on grounds of race, gender, sexual preference, age, religion, ethnic origin
- Control of our own destiny. No further sales of strategic assets to overseas interests. No involvement in foreign military pacts. Fair trade rather than free trade.
Australia to be nuclear free with no uranium mining; Tax equity, making the rich pay their share.
Statement on Alliance Principles
1. "The PLP enters an Alliance with other parties on the basis of the principles of the party as set out in the Preamble to our Constitution, specifically in its third paragraph: "This party will actively seek to develop a broad Electoral Alliance of progressive groups and parties that will act to replace the economic rationalist policies of both major parties in Australian politics".
3. Alliances should be seen, not just as electoral agreements with other parties, but as facilitators of joint grass roots campaigns on an ongoing basis.
4. The ongoing development of mutual trust between the parties (including their rank and file members) should be regarded as a priority.
5. The building of trust at one level should be developed before trying to take the Alliance to another level. In other words, there should be a stage by stage development of an Alliance.
6. So the easiest stage should be started first -ie the loose confederal stage of simply agreeing to work together on joint campaigns and electoral preferences. Entry to, and exit from, such an Alliance should not be made difficult.
Note: The creation of any umbrella party would need to be referred to the National decision-making bodies of the PLP.