Peter Boyle

The abrupt arrival of this year's bush fire season should be taken as another warning of the urgency of tackling the climate change crisis.

The El Nino phenomenon of severe droughts and flooding rains that will make this a more dangerous summer has been a part of longstanding weather patterns on the Australian continent. But research has shown that El Nino will double in frequency and severity as global warming increases.

Few people would have shared tears — unless they happened to be chopping onions at the time — when Tony Abbott was ejected as prime minister in the latest of a string of Lib-Lab leadership spills.

Let's be honest. The rolling TV coverage of Malcolm Turnbull's political assassination of Abbott kept the nation entertained for a couple of hours on a Monday night. Who did not enjoy watching the grim faces of those Liberal MPs as they trooped into their party room for the spill, and the even grimmer faces of some as they came back out?

Taxi drivers and operators stopped work in major cities across Australia on September 10 in protest against Uber, which taxi drivers say is running an illegal, unregulated service.

In Sydney, hundreds of taxi drivers protested against Uber outside NSW Parliament. NSW Taxi Operators and Drivers Association president Anne Turner told Green Left Weekly: "We are here today to save our livelihoods."

In Melbourne, more than 1000 people rallied outside Parliament House, then marched on the Victorian Taxi Services Commission.

Local residents of the Sydney suburb of St Peters successful halted what they suspected was an illegal attempt to remove asbestos from the planned St Peters Interchange site in the ecologically and financially irresponsible $15 billion WestConnex road-tunnel project.

I don’t know about you, but I really enjoyed the August 31 episode of Q&A on the topic “Cheating, Climate, War & Democracy”.

It was thanks to three solid lefties from overseas, Naomi Klein, Laurie Penny and Tariq Ali, who were in Australia for the Melbourne Writers Festival and the Festival for Dangerous Ideas in Sydney.

The right-winger on the panel, US Studies Centre academic Tom Switzer, had a go at red-baiting Klein. Here is their exchange:


Malaysian democracy activists estimate that between 300,000 and half a million people peacefully took to the streets of the capital Kuala Lumpur for 34 hours from August 29 to 30. This is much larger than the previous mobilisations by the BERSIH (literally meaning “clean”) movement for free and fair elections.

In 1972, Aboriginal rights campaigners successfully pressured the Whitlam Labor government to grant funds for the Aboriginal Housing Company to begin buying houses in Redfern for low-cost housing for Aboriginal people.

Now, Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy (RATE) is fighting for The Block to retain this role instead of being sacrificed to greedy developers.

At a protest outside the Turkish Consulate in Sydney on July 23, Kurdish activists and their supporters accused the Turkish government of complicity in the massacre in Suruc of 32 young socialists on their way to help rebuild Kobane, in the liberated area of Rojava in northern Syria.

About 800 people rallied at Sydney Town Hall Square on June 28 as part of the third #SOSBlakAustralia global mobilisation against the threatened forced closures of Aboriginal communities in Western Australia and elsewhere. Protest actions also took place in other cities around the country, and in some cities overseas, over the same weekend.

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.

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