Peter Boyle

Thousands of people will read Green Left Weekly for the first time this week. You may be one of these first-time readers. If so, chances are you will have picked up a copy at one of the large Walk Against Warming marches being held all around Australia on the weekend of November 10-11.
It was when they played Kermit the Frog singing The Rainbow Connection at Gail Lord’s funeral that I started crying.
When PM John Howard tried, unsuccessfully, to ban the use of the “worm” — the audience’s reaction graph in the only debate Howard’s agreed to have with Labor leader Kevin Rudd in this election campaign — Rudd protested with a scripted joke.
If you were to believe those federal government advertisements now saturating television and radio, pigs do fly.
Berlin-based Transparency International’s latest corruption perceptions report listed Burma and Somalia as the two most corrupt countries in the world. Then comes Iraq, Haiti, Tonga, Uzbekistan, Chad and Afghanistan. The three least corrupt countries were New Zealand, Denmark and Finland. Australia came in 11th, just after Canada but ahead of the US, which was 20th on the list.
Some 230 people attending the Green Left Weekly annual dinner in the Marrickville Town Hall on September were the first to hear the news that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has decided visit Australia.
Thanks to the generosity and hard work of Green Left Weekly’s supporters, we have raised $155,467 for our Fighting Fund this year. Over the next three months we need to raise $94,500 to reach our target. Every bit our readers do — whether through making donations or organising and/or attending our fundraising events — will be critical.
Saturday September 8 was another red banner day for people’s power.
Whenever a socialist from the generation whose political ideas were shaped by involvement in the global movement against the US-led Vietnam War pay their first visit to Vietnam, it is a bit like a pilgrimage. It is an encounter with a symbolic home of our political hopes and convictions.
A report released on August 30 by the Australia Council Of Social Services (ACOSS) shows that the number of Australians living in poverty has increased over the past 10 years. Using an international poverty line of 50% of median income, the numbers increased from 7.6% to 9.9% of the population between 1994 and 2004, or nearly 2 million Australians. This measure is used extensively in OECD countries. Using the same poverty line used in the UK and Ireland, 60% of median income, poverty has risen from 17.1% of the population in 1994 to 19.8%, or 3.8 million Australians, in 2004.

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