The fight against electricity privatisation in NSW is the biggest battle taking place at the moment in that state. Since this article was written Premier Morris Iemma has pledged to ignore the decision of his own party’s conference and press ahead with the privatisation plan. The pressure is now on Unions NSW to respond with an industrial campaign.
With recent news of ALP politicians selling themselves to developers and others via various fundraising methods, earlier reports of official funding of the ALP through company donations take on new meaning.
NSW ALP officially got $1,446,520 from property companies in 2005/2006 $319,574 more than it got from unions. Whilst not properly reported donations from developers are now coming to light, what other such donations may be lurking from power companies and others who will profit from the electricity privatisation?
According to the Australian Electoral Commission 2006-2007 electoral returns report we can see that $75,000 has been donated from Origin Energy and another $33,000 from ERM Power. This is probably just the tip of the iceberg.
Premier Morris Iemma has promised $372 million for consumer and environment protection measures to boost energy rebates for pensioners and low income earners and towards research for clean coal technologies. One of the recommendations from the Unsworth Consultative Committee that Iemma did not accede to was for price regulation to be extended indefinitely.
This is a clear admission that prices will be going up under privatisation and that extra protection is needed for the environment. The fundamental principle is that you cannot control what you do not own. Private companies will use every means at their disposal to ensure they make profits including taking legal action against governments.
Privatisation is bad for everyone except those capitalists who will make money from it. It is bad for consumers because they will end up paying more and get a much more unreliable source of power due to reduced maintenance. It is bad for the environment because private companies are in the business of power production for profit they are not in the business of voluntarily protecting the environment.
It is also bad for NSW residents as a whole as it will mean less income from this industry in the long term and therefore less money to be spent on schools and hospitals. If it wasn’t such a good money generator why would the private profiteers want it? It is especially bad for the workers in the industry because they will have much less job security, less health and safety on the job and less new workers coming into the industry.
The rallies that have taken place so far are a good start, but these should be a launching point for other mass rallies and for industrial action. The Socialist Party calls for a broad based community and trade union campaign to defeat Labor’s plans to privatise the electricity and any other state owned company.
By Gary Duffy