You can see where federal treasurer Joe Hockey is coming from with his comment about poor people not having cars and so not being affected by the rise in the fuel excise tax, can't you? On the planet he seems to be lost on, the rich are the real oppressed. The rich are paying too much tax — or even “all the tax” according to a recent rant in the Australian — doing all the work, doing the heavy lifting, while the rest of society bludges off them.
One of the promises Prime Minister Tony Abbott made when he was elected last year was to create 1 million jobs over the next five years. This translates to a monthly increase of about 17,000 jobs. Yet in the 10 months since September last year, only 11,000 jobs a month have been created – and more than half of these were part-time jobs.
More than 200 staff and students rallied outside Fisher Library at Sydney University on August 13 to protest proposed cuts to the university's library system. The cuts will involve closures and staff redundancies. "If the university gets its way all four libraries will lose their staff and collections. Two will become little more than post-grad only PC labs," the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) said.
Media reports about a deal being struck this week between the Australian government and Cambodia to resettle refugees from Nauru have been denied by Immigration and Border Protection Minister Scott Morrison. However the government has confirmed that negotiations towards a memorandum of understanding was continuing.
Moreland residents were outraged when they heard Moreland City Council had voted to cut $100,000 from the Carbon Management Plan in the council's budget last month. This cut the budget for climate action from $525,000 to $424,000 and would have resulted in some of the council's solar energy projects not going ahead. The $100,000 cut came as a shock, considering the council’s previous initiatives to tackle carbon emissions.
At a rally in solidarity with Palestine in Sydney on August 9, Chilean community activist and Socialist Alliance member Paula Sanchez told the 1000-strong crowd about the growing number of Latin American countries cutting diplomatic and trade ties with Israel in protest against its war on Gaza. Sanchez addressed the rally on behalf of the Latin American Social Forum.
Two ministers and five backbenchers have been suspended from the Liberal Party in NSW as a consequence of Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) investigations over the past couple of months. The latest ICAC hearings, which resumed on August 4, are centred on illegal donations from property developers in Newcastle and the Central Coast. When Labor Premier Nathan Rees banned these donations in November 2009, it was not well received by significant groupings in the Liberal and Labor parties.
The National Union of Students called a national day of action to “celebrate” education minister Christopher Pyne’s 47th birthday on August 13. Students used the occasion to protest the federal government’s funding cuts to higher education, which will mean students will have to pay up to three times more for a university degree than they do now and will pay more interest on their HECS-HELP fee.
An inhumane policy that damages some to deter others. Detention centres that cause psychiatric disorders, self-harm and suicide. Arbitrary. Unjust. Cynical. This is how an open letter, named "J'accuse", signed by more than 220 psychiatrists, human rights lawyers, priests, health professionals and other experts describes Australia’s refugee policy.
This year’s Australian Climate Action Summit will take place over September 19 to 21 in Brisbane. The Community Climate Network released this statement saying the timing of the summit is more urgent than ever. *** The Australian Climate Action Summit brings individuals from diverse backgrounds, businesses, educational institutions and industries together to discuss climate change and the implementation of methods that not only provide for a sustainable future but to also combat unstable climate change.
Victoria police are vetting registrants and scouting venues to try to provide security for the besieged World Congress of Families in Melbourne on August 30. The final venue for the event remains unclear as they try to avoid clashes with widespread community opposition. Activists are already causing chaos for conference organisers Babette Francis of the Endeavour Forum (formerly Women Who Want to be Women) and John Brennan of the conservative Catholic men’s group Knights of the Southern Cross.
NOWSA, or the Network of Women Students Australia, holds a conference every year dedicated to women’s activism. More than 160 students from across Australia gathered last month for its national conference in Perth, making it the biggest NOWSA conference in many years. The weeklong event from July 14 to 18 took place at Edith Cowan University. It featured a range of workshops and speakers, who focused on issues relating to racism, trans rights and sex worker rights.
An open letter signed by 164 Australians of Jewish identity and background calls on Jewish Australians to break their silence on the onslaught on Gaza by Israel. Among the signatories are actress Miriam Margolyes, union leader Kim Sattler, and writers Sara Dowse, Antony Loewenstein and Susan Varga. Vivienne Porzsolt of Jews against the Occupation, which organised the open letter, said: “Silence is consent and as Jews, we must oppose atrocities taken in our name. Our public stand demonstrates that many Jews reject the brutal occupation of the Palestinians by Israel.
The federal government took the first steps towards privatising the Medicare payment system on August 8, asking businesses for expressions of interest in taking over the handling of claims and Medicare and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme payments. This $29 billion annual operation is currently carried out by the federal Department of Human Services (DHS), the government's largest department.
The Victorian Coalition government faces an uphill battle to win a second term in the November state elections. Its commitment to building the controversial East West Link toll road and the impact of the federal budget cuts has made the Coalition very unpopular. Socialist Alliance candidate for Pascoe Vale Sean Brocklehurst said the East West Link is “a huge handout to big corporations.
The NSW Coalition government will face pressure at the state election in March next year. The resignations of sitting Liberal MPs Tim Owen and Andrew Cornwell, after being investigated for alleged corruption by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), will likely trigger a byelection that could hand the seats to Labor. After the corruption scandals under Labor rule, the Coalition were elected on the back of promises to “clean up” NSW politics. But the Coalition has now proved to be no better than the Labor Party.