Peter Boyle

Having raised a total of $129,040 for the 2008 Green Left Weekly Fighting Fund, we are now more than half-way to our $250,000 target. Our supporters raised $5440 over the last week through donations and several successful fundraising events around the country.

Remember the “wealth effect”? Rapidly rising housing and share prices made people feel wealthy and so they borrowed big-time and became big-time spenders, and this supposedly makes for an endless economic boom. Just about every capitalist economist was singing from that cheery song sheet — until recently.

When federal environment minister Peter Garrett paid a visit to a Sydney public primary school last term he discovered that the school had installed enough solar panels to supply three-quarters of its electricity needs.

We could see this disappointment coming a mile off. First, Professor Ross Garnaut’s report tells us the global warming problem is dire and demands immediate response, but then, he comes to the diabolical conclusion that we should leave the solution to a dodgy market mechanism: carbon pollution permit trading. Now, the Rudd Labor government’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme green paper on this all-important challenge offers to hand the biggest carbon polluting companies free permits to pollute.

According to the 2006 census, the most commonly spoken language in Sydney households, after English, is Arabic. In Australia as a whole, Arabic is the fifth most commonly spoken language.

As Malaysian opposition parties and social activists, emboldened by advances in the March general elections, prepared to hold a giant protest against recent oil price hike (petrol up 41%, diesel up 67%) in Kuala Lumpur on July 6, a series of disturbing events unfolded.

We live in precarious times. Consider these two announcements over the last week:

1. The Bank for International Settlements (the international organisation of the world's central banks) warned that a severe global economic downturn seems

Brisbane’s very successful Green Left Weekly Winter Fiesta on June 14 helped take our 2008 Fighting Fund to $101,936. Since the last issue $7921 has been collected in the form of donations and proceeds from events like the Brisbane Winter Fiesta. Proceeds from fundraising events in Newcastle and Melbourne also made a significant contribution.

I declare a personal interest in this story. In 1976, I worked for a year in a James Hardie factory in Western Australia. We were producing asbestos cement sheets; at that time still a popular building material.

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