Susan Price

 

Australia has long had one of the most monopolised media industries in the world. Indeed, when Green Left Weekly was launched in 1991, one of our key slogans was “Break the media monopoly — support Green Left Weekly”. Today it is even more relevant.

After 25 years, it is clearer than ever that privatisation of electricity in Australia has been a disaster for people and the planet.

In the early 1990s, prior to privatisation, energy prices in Australia were some of the lowest in the world and had been dropping for decades. That trend was sharply reversed following privatisation. Today, households are paying skyrocketing prices and growing numbers of Australians are now living in “energy poverty”.

The NSW Coalition government has brought down a budget designed to bedazzle NSW voters ahead of the 2019 March state election.

The Coalition’s election war chest is made up of a massive surplus from increases in revenue from Commonwealth grants, rising land taxes and the proceeds from the sale of state assets — boosted by the federal government’s Asset Recycling Scheme.

A desperate rooftop protest by an Iranian refugee being held on Christmas Island was restarted on June 11 after being subjected to further inhumanity.

Ghazi (not his real name), and another refugee took to the roof of the detention centre in late May to protest the conditions and the lack of access to medical care. According to the Refugee Action Coalition (RAC) both men had been in detention for over 3 years and were apparently taken to court and charged over an alleged incident prior to the May protest.

The fate of more than 600 people rescued at sea by the Doctors Without Borders rescue ship Aquarius is one more example of the impact of right wing populism on human rights in Europe today.

Labor Opposition leader Bill Shorten delivered his budget reply speech on May 10, promising to deliver a “bigger, better and fairer tax cut for 10 million working Australians”.

The wealthy and corporations got a visit from Santa Claus, but the rest of us got Scrooged again on Budget night.

A windfall in tax income — derived in part from higher than expected royalties and corporate taxes in the mining sector, owing to higher prices for iron ore, coal and oil — provided ideal conditions for the government’s pre-election budget.

There was never a chance that Treasurer Scott Morrison would use this windfall to boost social spending — that just wouldn’t accord with the Malcolm Turnbull government’s “trickle down” economics.

This issue of Green Left Weekly will hit the streets on May 1, an important day for the labour movement around the world.

Here, May Day marches and events around the country will form part of the ACTU’s “Change the Rules” campaign. These 12 days of action will culminate on May 9 in Melbourne, when workers from across all unions will take part in what promises to be the biggest weekday industrial rally in years.

More than 2000 delegates from unions across Victoria overwhelmingly supported state-wide action on May 9 as part of the Change the Rules campaign.

The April 17 meeting was one of the largest gatherings of unionists seen for some time as delegates from a range of blue- and white-collar sectors filled the Melbourne Town Hall, with about 200 more being turned away at the door.

Housing is a basic human right, but under neoliberal capitalism it has become a privilege enjoyed by fewer and fewer people.

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