For the briefest of moments — and to everyone's great surprise — it seemed like the Queensland government was finally going to do one thing right in relation to the Adani coalmine.
Two hundred people came from as far away as Gympie, the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba to join a Thursday morning protest outside Queensland parliament. The protest was against the proposed Adani coal mine in the Galilee basin.
Twenty years after the original Bringing Them Home report was released, Aboriginal children are still being taken from their parents — in greater numbers than before.
Commenting on the impact of Bringing Them Home — which documented evidence about the Stolen Generations of Aboriginal children — Murri elder Sam Watson told Green Left that “it is beyond dispute that Aboriginal children were removed in significant numbers”.
“Every single [Aboriginal] family was affected,” Watson said and this “dated back to the first years of European invasion”.
Complaints by conservative commentators that Treasurer Scott Morrison and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull have delivered a “Labor budget” show how low expectations are that any federal government in Australia will deliver a budget aiming to advance genuine social justice in this country.
The Brisbane Labour Day rally was touted as "historic" and one of the largest rallies in recent years with approximately 30,000 unionists marching in Brisbane. Other rallies took place in regional centres around Queensland.
Opposition to penalty rate cuts was strong throughout the rally with most union contingents featuring signs on the issue. Queensland Council of Unions officials also highlighted the issue on the day.
Today — ANZAC Day — is the climax of the orgy of nationalism and militarism we've been subjected to in recent times, ostensibly to remember the ordinary people who responded to the lies of the government by fighting and dying in an unjust war.
Of course progressive people have sympathy for the soldiers who died as well as the soldiers who didn't die but nevertheless witnessed or experienced terrible things.
According to federal government ministers, Medicare is unsustainable. The aged pension is also unsustainable. The NDIS is unsustainable. Many other social services are unsustainable. However, billions of dollars of tax cuts to big Australian companies are perfectly sustainable.
In the short term, the government will be stealing $5.2 billion from the public purse and handing it over in the form of tax cuts to companies with an annual turnover of up to $50 million. In the medium term the cuts go further and will cost $24 billion.
Thousands of people turned out to packed out and sold out #StopAdani roadshow meetings in Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne between March 28-31. The enthusiastic response is a tangible demonstration that the Adani Carmichael coalmine project can be defeated.
Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk should hang her head in shame. She has proven once again that the word “Labor” in “Australian Labor Party” has no connection with the interests of working people in Australia — or anywhere else.
Palaszczuk headed a delegation to India on March 17 to underscore her government’s support for the Adani company’s proposed Carmichael thermal coalmine. If it is given the go ahead, it will be the largest coal mine in Australia and one of the largest in the world. It would be the first for the Galilee Basin, and it would open the door to more.
Greens leader Richard Di Natale raised the prospect of a “four-day work week or a six-hour day” as part of an address to the National Press Club on March 15.
This is a good discussion to be having in a country where people work among the longest hours in the world and where productivity growth has massively outstripped wage growth in recent decades.
Di Natale also flagged the possibility of a Universal Basic Income — which he described as a “guaranteed adequate income”.