Here we go again. The second version of the Omnibus bill that the Turnbull government is trying to drive through parliament — the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Omnibus Savings and Child Care Reform) Bill 2017 — promises yet more savage attacks on welfare recipients and the working poor, and we haven't even seen the 2017–18 budget yet.
The Barnett Liberal government, which had been in power for the past eight years, was definitively trounced in the March 11 WA state election. A defining theme was the government's accumulation of $40 billion of debt despite governing through an unprecedented mining boom.
The big winner was the Labor Party, which on the back of a 9.1% swing has won 42 seats, 12 more than the 30 needed to secure a majority. There was a 15.8% swing against the Liberal Party which lost votes to both Labor and One Nation.
The campaign against Roe 8 and the whole Perth Freight Link freeway project has produced an unprecedented outpouring of creativity, community spirit and determination. The past month and a half has produced another phase — the Wetlands Defenders, characterised by their remarkable resilience and courage.
One of our young Socialist Alliance members, just out of high school, is currently locked on up a tree. We know she is well supported by good caring people, the people who have organised this phase of the campaign.
With the decision by the misnamed Fair Work Commission to slash the take home pay of some of the lowest-paid workers, it is worth restating that all wealth in our society is created by workers and not capitalists.
Profits come from the difference between the value of the goods and services created by a worker and what they are paid for their work. Some of this "surplus value" is invested back into production, but the rest is siphoned off as profit.
When Fremantle councillors voted in August last year to end the Australia Day fireworks display that it had been running for the past eight years, I fully expected a conservative backlash. But even I was surprised to see the decision featured in news bulletins for months on end.
On one level the whole thing is bizarre. Local governments are not obliged to do anything special on January 26 and most of them don't.
What drove the conservative media and Coalition politicians into a frenzy was the council's reason for doing dropping the fireworks display.
The nearly two-year struggle against the Perth Freight Link (PFL) freeway project is entering what may be a decisive period. While the campaign on the street has quietened somewhat, that may soon change.
While the Colin Barnett government beat a strategic retreat on Stage 2, it has declared its intention to push ahead with Stage 1 (Roe 8) through the Beeliar Wetlands. The Premier even claims that construction may begin before Christmas.
You'll all be familiar with the stories about lazy dole bludgers that the commercial media roll out a few days before the federal government announces another cut to welfare payments.
In fact, there is a massive reservoir of people unemployed or underemployed who are desperate for work. This includes people with a disability.
Australia has some of the highest rates of poverty and lowest rates of workforce participation for people with a disability in the developed world.
A candidate for the vomit inducing moment of the week must be Minister for Social Services Christian Porter and his crocodile tears for young people "trapped on welfare", especially those slogging away as carers and single parents.
His government is so concerned about their wellbeing it has been trying every way it can to cut their payments and drive them deeper into poverty.
The Murdoch press got the tip and paved the way with beat ups about a new generation of young welfare bludgers.