If you suspect that neoliberal capitalist governments, including the Australian government, act as kleptocracies for the richest 1% and the large corporations, you have good reason to. Whether you look at their tax system, the various privatisation or part-privatisation schemes they are forcing on the public, the “user-pays” drives or the publicly subsidised private insurance scams, you can see how the public is being forced to subsidise the profits of powerful corporations and the super-rich.
A small symbolic protest in the rain was held outside the Commonwealth government offices in Bligh St, Sydney on June 16. The action marked the submission of a petition to the Senate with 65,000 signatures calling for the immediate closure of Manus Island and Nauru asylum seeker detention centres. These Australian offshore asylum seeker detention centres were disasters that could not be fixed, Nicole Judge, a whistleblower and former worker at both centres, told the protest which was organised by the Sydney Refugee Action Coalition.
If you listen to most Western politicians you could be forgiven for thinking that refugees are a pesky annoyance, greedy “economic refugees” from the Third World illegitimately trying to break into this wealthy country. Their now monotonously routine scapegoating of refugees for the pain and insecurity that more and more people feel, even in the richest countries in the world, translates into plain abuse out there in the public.
I guess there were some people who thought that the leopard Tony Abbott may have changed his spots after his look-we've-changed 2015 federal budget. The polls certainly suggest this. As William Bowie wrote in his Poll Bludger column in Crikey.com: “A flurry of post-budget opinion polls adds up to a solid increase in the Coalition’s standing, with Tony Abbott’s personal standing now rivalling his least-bad results since his short-lived post-election honeymoon.”
In its latest federal budget, the Tony Abbott Liberal-National government announced the setting up of a $5 billion “concessional loan facility” called the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility. The proposal has been condemned by environmental and Aboriginal rights groups.
In the early hours of the morning on April 7, the Malaysian parliament reintroduced powers of indefinite detention without trial in the form of a new Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA). Such powers, previously under the Internal Security Act and Emergency Ordinance — which were repealed in 2012 under popular pressure — have a notorious history of being used by British colonial and, after independence, Malaysian authorities to detain political dissidents.
Pat Eatock truly deserved the title “elder”. An elder passes on the lessons of the past to the next generation. This was her biggest activist contribution in the last years of her life.
About 10,000 people took part in a peaceful demonstration in Kuala Lumpur on March 7 against the jailing of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysian Socialist Party (PSM) leader S. Arutchelvan (Arul) told Green Left Weekly. Anwar was jailed for a second time on trumped up “sodomy” charges. The protest was called by a new coalition called KitaLawan (“We Fightback”). Authorities responded by arresting Nik Nazmi, the youth leader of the opposition Justice Party (PKR), and Saifullah Zulkifli, a PKR organiser.
Public housing residents in Millers Point facing eviction orders are so distressed that one of them committed suicide this week, Save Millers Point campaigner Barney Gardner told a public housing protest outside NSW Parliament on March 10. The protest united several campaigns against NSW government attempts to privatise public housing in Glebe, Millers Point and elsewhere in the state, to highlight public housing as an important election issue There has been at least one other Millers Point resident who attempted suicide earlier, Gardner told Green Left Weekly.
If Tony Abbott’s government has its way, new laws further empowering Australia's secret police to greatly expand their mass surveillance powers will be rammed through federal parliament by mid-March. But it will succeed only if the Australian Labor Party backs the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill.