“Things are looking positive and the wind is with us,” Major General Craig Orme, commander of Australian forces in the latest war in the Middle East, told AAP on October 11. If the US-led military coalition has a strategy against its latest enemy, the terrorist gang that calls itself the “Islamic State” (IS), Orme was not revealing it. “If they want to stay in one spot, we are very happy for them to do that,” he said. “We will just bomb them. When they do mass we will smack them and smack them hard.”
Residents and supporters of the Save Millers Point campaign protested outside the auction of another public housing property on October 8. About 30 protesters gathered outside Ray White Real Estate in Double Bay, holding placards and chanting, "Aristocrats, shame on you."
Continuous protests in the Nauru refugee detention camp peaked with up to 600 people breaking out of the family compound just after midnight on October 10. An asylum seeker told Sydney’s Refugee Action Coalition (RAC): “Day to day, night to night, the situation on Nauru is getting more serious for us.” The protests have been accompanied by self-harm and suicide attempts, including one person hanging themselves, a 15-year-old girl swallowing detergent, others ingesting washing powder, lip-stitching and a hunger strike.
The latest report on retail trade by the Australian Bureau of Statistics found department stores suffered a 2.9% fall in business in August, in seasonally adjusted terms. Indeed, overall retail trade was flat and was only saved from collapsing by people still buying food and basic necessities.
Toms River: A Story of Science & Salvation Dan Fagin Bantam Books, 2013 538 pages, $43.95 (hb) In yet another chapter of the well-thumbed book of “corporate avarice and government neglect”, writes Dan Fagin, the town of Toms River in New Jersey, two hours south of New York, paid a high price in cancer for the pollution of the chemical giant, Ciba-Geigy.
There are times when farce and living caricature almost consume the cynicism and mendacity in the daily life of Australia's rulers. Across the front pages is a photograph of a resolute Tony Abbott with Aboriginal children in Arnhem Land, in Australia’s remote north. "Domestic policy one day," says the caption, "focus on war the next."
Steve O’Brien is standing as a candidate for the Socialist Alliance in the Newcastle byelection on October 25. The sitting Coalition MP, Tim Owen, resigned in August after he admitted he lied to the Independent Commission Against Corruption about accepting an illegal $10,000 donation from a property developer. O’Brien said: “A strong vote for a socialist would send a powerful message to the political establishment that Newcastle is not for sale and that Newcastle people support the public sector.”
Fossil Free Sydney University released this statement on September 25. *** In a historic referendum at the University of Sydney, voters overwhelmingly supported fossil fuel divestment. Eighty percent of the students demanded the Vice-Chancellor commit to divesting from fossil fuels. In a first step last August the University froze further investment in all fossil fuels, pending review and consultation with stakeholders. Since then, all major student representative organisations have called upon the University to divest in full.
As well as forcing people to wait until the age of 70 before reaching the retirement age, the federal Coalition government also intends to push these septuagenarians into poverty. The retirement pension for a single person is currently set at 27.7% of Male Total Average Weekly Earnings (MTAWE) and is indexed every six months. The National Commission of Audit set up by Treasurer Joe Hockey in October last year has conveniently provided the government with a recommendation to reduce this rate.
Last week the federal government released its first evaluation of how its controversial income management policy has fared in five locations where the scheme was introduced in July 2012. This discriminatory government policy, which allows for Centrelink clients to have their payments quarantined and restricts how they can spend their money, has also been been explored in two recent government reports that have proposed extending the scheme.
Progressive activists are contesting this year’s student campus council elections at the University of Western Sydney’s Bankstown campus. RES Out West — Resisting Education Slashes — will run two activists for positions on the council and campus paper editors for 2015. Both are first year students and members of Resistance – Young Socialist Alliance. Ian Escandor, also known as Esky, is a progressive hip-hop artist, community worker and student activist. He is studying Community Welfare and is active in the campaign to fight the education cuts on UWS Bankstown campus.
Tony Abbott’s government has backed away from the ludicrous proposal to force unemployed people to apply for 40 jobs a month to receive the paltry Newstart allowance. The proposal would have generated 30 million job applications a month for the 147,000 jobs available to the 746,000 unemployed. But it was not an attack of common sense that led to the decision — it came after 7000 protesting “cover letters” were sent to Employment Minister Eric Abetz, together with complaints from small businesses that they would be inundated with applications for non-existing jobs.
A community protest has condemned the assault of a 26-year-old woman on the Upfield train in Melbourne on September 25. The woman was attacked by a female passenger as the train pulled into Batman Station in North Coburg, and then thrown from the carriage while the train was still moving. The assault was accompanied by racist and Islamophobic abuse directed at victim. Community activists gathered at the station on October 1 to condemn the racist attack.
Latest polls suggests Bolivian President Evo Morales will be reelected for a third term in a landslide victory on October 12. One week before the vote, Morales' support hit 57.3%. The latest statistics from pollster Tal Cual Comunicacion Estrategica indicate a huge win for the left-wing Morales, first elected in 2005 on the back of huge protests against neoliberialism.
This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate By Naomi Klein Simon & Shulster, 2014 Award-winning author and activist Naomi Klein, who wrote The Shock Doctrine and No Logo, is back with her long-awaited new release: This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate. Now, she is taking on the biggest issue of our time ― climate change, and exploring the implications of the climate crisis for social change today and into the future.
The Who Pays for our Common Wealth report into tax contributions by the S&P ASX 200, Australia’s 200 top stockmarket listed companies, has found that 84% of them paid less than the company tax rate of 30% in the period between 2004 and 2013. This amounts to $80 billion in forgone taxation revenue.