Dick Nichols

Less than a week after declaring that “the soap opera is over” in New South Wales politics, new Premier Nathan Rees had to sack his police minister of three days, Matt Brown, for allegedly drunkenly “mounting the chest” of Wollongong MP Noreen Hay in a “dirty dancing” party in Parliament House during the June budget session of parliament.
The overwhelming public opposition to electricity privatisation in NSW has claimed the political scalps of former premier Morris Iemma, hated treasurer Michael Costa and deputy premier John Watkins.
Privatisation — Sell-off or Sell-out? The Australian Experience
Bob Walker & Betty Con Walker
Sydney University Press, 2008, $19.95
The Australian Workers Union has many members in the aluminium refining and smelting industry, which accounted for 45.3 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in 2006 (7.9% of Australia’s total). Obviously, such a major greenhouse polluter — the dirtiest for every dollar of value added — has to be radically restructured if carbon emissions are to be cut to sustainable levels.
Less than a fortnight after the release of the Rudd government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme green paper, the potential losers are howling at the spectre of lost profits while the potential winners - global investment banks, hedge funds and commodities traders - are rubbing their hands at the thought of making millions from the permits to pollute that the scheme will create.
Whatever the final detail of the federal government’s carbon emissions trading scheme — the framework of which is contained in the green paper released by climate change minister Penny Wong on July 16 — there’s one thing we can be sure of: it won’t be of much use in cutting Australia’s carbon emissions.
The expected showdown in the struggle over the NSW Iemma government’s proposed electricity privatisation has stalled.
The latest surge in the spot price of crude oil (to US$139 a barrel — 87.4 cents a litre) dramatises the urgent need for society to wean itself off “black gold”. The longer we remain hooked the greater the devastation both to our environment and to the living standards of millions, especially the poorest peoples of the planet.
With his May 15 announcement that legislation to enable electricity privatisation will be introduced into the June session of parliament, NSW Premier Morris Iemma started the countdown to the most decisive days of the struggle to date.
“Here is a government that has given us a guarantee that working Australians all get a look in, not just the big end of town”, said Australian Council of Trade Unions president Sharan Burrow of federal Treasurer Wayne Swan’s first budget.

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