Did you hear the one about how Vegemite was going to be banned in some alcohol-free remote communities because it was being used to make homebrew? This wasn’t satire, this was a widely reported story in the mainstream press. It ticked all the right boxes for successful click bait, but there was just one problem: it was bullshit. The source for these claims? The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion.
Tony Abbott’s government has managed, yet again, to delay making a decision about equal marriage. Opinion poll after opinion poll shows an overwhelming majority of Australians supporting equal marriage — more than 70% support for marriage equality in the last poll conducted by Liberal Party pollsters Crosby Textor — but Tony Abbott continues to drag his feet.
Racism is alive and well in Australia. You would think that such a statement would be relatively uncontroversial. But the shit-storm surrounding AFL footballer Adam Goodes’ decision to call out racism on the sporting field reveals how desperate a section of the establishment is to avoid any scrutiny about where racism comes from and how it is perpetuated. They want to cling to the fiction that Goodes brought the whole controversy onto himself by “playing the victim”.
"The age of entitlement is over". I'm sure it seemed like a good slogan when it was cooked up, at least to the party room hacks and spin doctors in Tony Abbott’s government. Of course it was only going to be a matter of time before they tripped over their own words: “The age of entitlement is over”.
As the example of Greece shows, the ruling elites and financiers are more than happy to extract their pound of flesh from working people, no matter the cost. As times get tougher it can make it harder to contribute to the Green Left project. I speak to a lot of Green Left subscribers, particularly those who are renewing, and a common thread is that people are already feeling the pinch and having to watch every dollar carefully.
Website blocking legislation aimed at curbing Australian's access to online piracy was passed by the senate on June 21. The Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Act 2015 allows copyright holders to seek a Federal Court injunction to block websites they deem to have copyright infringement as their "primary purpose". The bill passed with bipartisan support and was opposed by Senators Ricky Muir, Glenn Lazarus, David Leyonhjelm and the Greens. Greens Senator Scott Ludlam put a series of amendments to minimise the most drastic elements but these were voted down.
Newly released court documents show the US government won a series of court challenges that led to Google having to turn over one years worth of data of user Jacob Appelbaum. Appelbaum is a WikiLeaks volunteer and a developer for Tor, a free browser and an open network to protect online privacy. He was being targeted by the US Justice Department as part of their criminal investigation into WikiLeaks.
People sometimes ask me while selling Green Left "In this day and age, why even have a newspaper?". The nature of print media is changing and most commercial newspapers and magazines are currently suffering an existential crisis. Many advertisers that traditionally used print have made the leap to digital media. The columns of classifieds, once referred to as the rivers of gold, are now drying up and newsrooms are shrinking along with the quality of journalism.
So a member of the Coalition government said something tone-deaf and out of touch again. It must have been on a day ending with “y”. When asked last week about housing affordability, federal Treasurer Joe Hockey came out with this cracker: "The starting point for a first homebuyer is to get a good job that pays good money." Oh, of course, Joe! Why hasn't anyone thought of that before?