Socialist Party TD (MP) Joe Higgins has said he will boycott the address to the Irish Parliament by Australian Prime Minister John Howard.
Howard is due to make the address as part of a three-day official visit to Ireland.
Joe Higgins who is opposed to the Iraq war has expressed regret that Howard will not be making himself available for questions about Australia’s ongoing role in the US/British occupation of the country.
Higgins has now said he will boycott the speech, partly due to Australia’s involvement in the war, but also for other reasons including Howard’s attacks on workers through the IR laws.
He says recent Australian legislation on worker’s rights is “criminal”, and he has also accused Australia of stealing oil and gas from the poor people of East Timor.
In the parliament last week Higgins forced a debate on the Irish Government’s invitation to Australian Prime Minister John Howard to address the parliament.
During that debate Joe said “Prime Minister Howard is a warmonger, complicit with Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair in the criminal invasion of Iraq and compliant with the ongoing occupation of Iraq, with Australian troops in that country.”
“Prime Minister Howard is the author of vicious, anti-trade union legislation designed to strip away workers’ rights which were hard won by the Australian working class over many generations.”
Joe Higgins and other members of the Socialist Party will take part in an anti-war demonstration outside the Irish parliament to coincide with Howard’s address.
Socialist Party National Organiser (Australia), Anthony Main said “we support the actions of our colleges in Ireland in taking part in the protests against Howard.”
“We also support the actions of Joe Higgins in boycotting Howard’s address. Joe visited Australia in 2004 as a guest of the Socialist Party (Australia) and he meet with many workers and trade union officials so knows first hand about what Howard’s policies have meant for working people.” Anthony said
By Socialist Party reporters