Welcome to 2016

Issue 

Happy New Year for a few weeks ago or coming up in a couple of weeks, depending on whether you rely on a calendar or the moon for such things. I hope you had some time off and got to spend it relaxing with people you love, or if you were working, that you got plenty of time and a ... WATCH OUT FOR YOUR PENALTY RATES!!!

Yes, that's right, while most of us were working or preparing for the strange rituals of the season, those busy little elves at the Productivity Commission had been slavishly working, day and night, to deliver a lovely big present to business and the government.

Clearly someone thought they had been good girls and boys that year, as they were allowed to open this present early on December 21, four days before Christmas to be exact. After the wrapping paper has been excitedly torn off, what was it? Why, a shiny new report calling for Sunday penalty rates to be abolished, of course! And visions of dollar signs danced in their heads ...

But that was last year, this year is going to be different, right? Well, I suppose it depends on how you define different, but so far it's not looking good.

Out of the gates we've already got the government, struggling to differentiate themselves from the previous lot — mainly because they are the previous lot, albeit with a shiny new leader who has a lexicon larger than a seventh grader — by attacking the pensions of former public servants and introducing welfare cuts that could strip up to $10 000 from single mothers.

With a market slow down predicted for China later this year you can bet they'll be looking for more easy marks to take the axe to, to protect the profits of the big end of town.

Adding to that, the GST debate — if you can really call it a debate — is still churning about, with government ministers refusing to rule anything out and repeatedly stating that everything is on the table. Or was that refusing to rule anything in and nothing is on the table? I forget which.

Soon enough, with Invasion Day, there will inevitably be some retailer taking a blind stab at nationalistic merchandise caper and facing a social media backlash for some ahistorical, offensive slogan emblazoned with Australian flags on some tacky, throw-away item made in the Third World.

The forces for greed and ineptitude have already begun, but we too have already started with our own preparations for the year, bringing you the news you don't get from the mainstream and launching the Green Left Weekly Fighting Fund Appeal for 2016.

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