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Australia: Socialist Alliance 9th national conference, Geelong, January 18-20, 2013

The ninth national conference of the Socialist Alliance will be held in Geelong (Victoria), from January 18-20, 2013. It is open to all Socialist Alliance members and invited guests.

The national conference is our highest decision-making body, and delegates are elected from each branch to participate and vote at the conference on a number of resolutions on international and Australian politics and campaigns, party building and the plans of the Socialist Alliance for the coming year. The conference also considers any proposed changes to the Constitution and elects the incoming national executive and national office bearers.

Special international guest from Pakistan

Alia Amirali, the general secretary of Pakistan's National Student Federation (Punjab) and a member of the newly formed Awami Workers' Party (the product of the biggest left regroupment in that country), will be the special international guest speaker at the conference. She has some very important experiences to share, as this interview shows.

Alia will be speaking at in the conference venue at a  January 18 conference public meeting (7pm) on the topic, "Global inequality, war and the refugee crisis", along Sue Bolton and other Australian activists in the refugee and civil rights movements.

She will also give a public guest lecture on "The Progressive Student Movement and Developments in Left Unity in Pakistan" on January 19 (5 pm-6.30 pm), which will be followed by the Green Left Weekly 2013 Fighting Fund launch and dinner.

Pre-Conference discussion

Between now and the conference, Socialist Alliance branches will be organising local pre-conference discussions and members are encouraged to read and discuss the key documents being considered by the conference, which include:

Submitting policy, amendments and resolutions

Members and branches with policy submissions, amendments or proposals for consideration by the conference should send these to: alliancevoices@socialist-alliance.org

The deadline for new policy submissions, constitutional amendments and substantive amendments to Towards a Socialist Australia is Monday, December 31, 2012 (an extended deadline). Amendments to existing policy and other proposals for consideration will be accepted up to and during the national conference.

For members' information, existing Socialist Alliance policy (as adopted and amended by the national conference) can be found on our website here.

Conference program so far

The conference program will kick off on Friday, January 18 with a day of socialist educational talks, workshops and panels. On Friday night there will be a public forum to open the conference.

On Saturday and Sunday there will be reports, discussion and voting on international and Australian politics and campaigns; a feature session on socialists in local government, featuring Socialist Alliance municipal councillors Sue Bolton from Moreland and Sam Wainwright from Fremantle; and discussion around plans and perspectives of the Socialist Alliance and its party-building and organisational projects for the coming year.

A celebration of 2012 and launch of the 2013 Green Left Fighting Fund launch will take place on the Saturday night.

Parallel workshop sessions will be held during delegate discussions for non-delegates, which will include introductory sessions for new members and non-members wishing to find out more about the Socialist Alliance. There will also be (limited) space for national working group meetings during the conference.

Registration and accommodation

A secure online booking site for conference registration and payments has been set up at: http://www.trybooking.com/CCWH

The registration fee is $50 solidarity, $30 waged and $15 students/pensioners. You can download the registration from here. In line with our constitution, delegates will be subsidised for travel to and from the conference from the delegate fees (paid by branches for each delegate), which is pooled for this purpose.

Accommodation and transport information has been circulated via branch conveners and through the national newsletter but if you need to be sent this information again, please contact the national office.

Participants are encouraged to make their own arrangements for accommodation, as only limited billeting will be available in Geelong and Melbourne for delegates with on low income.

Delegate elections

To be eligible to stand as a delegate, and to vote on delegates, you must be in good financial standing. (If you are unsure of whether you are financial, please get in touch with your local branch.)

The national executive has voted to set the ratio of members to delegates at 10:1.

For more information, please contact the Socialist Alliance national office at: national_office@socialist-alliance.org

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