Ben Peterson

Important rallies were held across the country in defence of the single parent payment on February 5. After having the welfare safety net in Australia for some time, it seems insane there is a need to protest to protect such rights. But protests like these made welfare a reality in the first place. These protests are defending an unprecedented attack, it's a return to the action that made social welfare possible. To do so, it is important to understand the reason that welfare is under attack in the first place.
National protests have been held around the country to oppose changes to welfare payments for sole parents. The federal Labor government is forcing parents to switch to the Newstart allowance once their youngest child turns eight, leaving parents up to $140 a fortnight worse off. A new group, the Single Parents Action Group (SPAG), coordinated protests across the country on February 5. Rallies took place in every state and territory.
The federal government has begun “trials” of a controversial new plan for compulsory income management in five places around Australia. This policy began in the Northern Territory as part of the "NT intervention" in 2007, but is now expanding into other states and territories.
What is solidarity? It is a term used frequently on the left, and one that demands attention. Solidarity refers to an act or expression of mutual support among a group of people. However, capitalism can narrow the parameters of solidarity and weaken its collective power to acts of individualism.
The world today is plagued by many crises. Economies are in recession. The world is wracked by war. And poverty is still rampant for the world's majority. Alongside all of this, our environment, and our climate, is increasingly under pressure, threatening all life on the planet. The climate crisis strikes at the very heart of our societies. We need to question the way we operate, the way we allocate and use our resources, and the way we develop infrastructure, so that we can create a more sustainable world.
The Victorian Coalition government has taken to the state with a razor and announced huge cuts in the 2012 budget. These are the biggest cuts since the Jeff Kennett-led Coalition government that ruled Victoria from 1992-1999. Victorian TAFE institutes in particular will be hard hit. The level of cuts was so severe that higher education minister Peter Hall sent a letter to TAFE heads on April 29 indicating that he had considered resigning from the ministry.
The Victorian Liberal government has taken to the state’s public sector with a razor blade and announced huge cuts in the 2012 budget. Victorian TAFE institutes in particular will be hard hit. GippsTAFE chief executive officer Peter Whitely told ABC Radio that his institute faces a loss of 10% of its operating budget. TAFE courses that are not in high demand are expected to be slashed.
A telling quote in the film KONY 2012 says: “Who are you to stop a war? — the question is, who are you not to?” I think the question that the people behind KONY 2012, which went viral on the internet on March 7, need to be asked is: “Who are you to start one?” Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army in eastern Africa, is a bad man. He should be held to account for his crimes. But we should be wary of any campaign that says the solution is to send in US troops to Uganda. And that is the take-home message from the campaign.
If you have just begun studying, welcome to university. If you’ve been looking through the pamphlets and advertising material for your campus of choice, you’ve probably been led to believe that university largely revolves around sitting on lawns on nice days laughing with attractive young people. If you’ve been watching too many American films, you might be expecting wild parties and crazy weekends. Or if you’re academically minded, you might just be expecting to broaden your horizons with new and exotic ideas.
Occupy began as a movement against the effects and causes of the global economic crisis and against the austerity measures pushed by governments for the benefit of the 1%. In Australia, many people were inspired by Occupy Wall Street in New York and the global movement it had sparked. When an international call for action on October 15 came out, we responded, and began our own occupations here.
According to Australia’s outgoing discrimination commissioner Graeme Innes, racism is still a big problem in Australian society. This is nothing new. Racism has been an issue in Australia since the very beginning of white colonisation, when Aboriginal people were forced from their lands to make way for the new colonial Australia. But racism, like our society, has changed with the times. This throws up new challenges in tackling it.
The ALP is the party for ordinary Australians, right? Resistance members will often talk about the importance of political movements being independent of political parties, but what does this mean for the ALP? Isn’t the ALP Australia’s party of progress? And surely they are better then the Tories? Isn’t it our party? Well, it is a party that’s designed for progressives, unionists and activists, but that doesn’t mean that it's ours. If you look at its history, the ALP has attracted progressive people but rarely helped create change.
I was as worried as anyone when I wandered down to my local pub to find a poster over the door announcing the government was trying to shut it down. In their national campaign against proposed changes to poker machine use, Clubs Australia and the Australian Hotel Association (AHA) say “some bloke in Tasmania” (Independent MP Andrew Wilkie) is trying to push through laws that will bankrupt our pubs, destroy our communities and put us all under more government surveillance.
Picture this: you drive past armed guards at the gate; then park your car next to a four-metre-high fence topped with electric wire. As you enter the building you’re searched, your phone is confiscated, your details are noted, then you pass through metal detectors and are tagged with ultraviolet pens. Once inside you find small children playing, and their families and friends, who have broken no laws. Surveillance cameras are ever-present and guards patrol the grounds.
Acting Nepali Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal has argued that bullets, explosives and other munitions no longer constitute “lethal military hardware” as long as they are to be used for “training and other related works”. MK Nepal was seeking to justify the decision to allow India to resume arms supplies to Nepal. He has never been elected and came to power after the Maoist-led government was brought down by a soft military coup in 2009.
Paying rent sucks. That's nothing new. Its not really profound or controversial to say that — hardly a purely socialist slogan. All of us would like a bit more dosh, and to hand over hard earned cash just for a shitty flat isn’t something anyone enjoys. But these days it’s much more than that — paying rent is hard, and getting harder.

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