When the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption was set up by the federal government, it was widely seen as a political witch hunt intended to smear the union movement with guilt by association to the scandals that had emerged in the Health Services Union (HSU). With a bit of good fortune and a lot of spin-doctoring it would also provide the Coalition with handy ammunition against the ALP at the next federal election, likely to be held in late 2016 — a contrived “ticking Tampa”.
NSW ALP Senator John Faulkner, luminary of the Labor left, has been complaining of the structural flaws in the party for decades. Despite being a long-time beneficiary of the party’s factionalism, almost 10 years ago he was writing of the “shared venality” of party apparatchiks that led it back beyond factionalism. “It is feudalism, and it is killing the ALP.” Last week he was at it again in his address to the “Light on the Hill Society” at Revesby Workers Club in western Sydney.
Something fishy was going on outside Westpac headquarters in Melbourne on October 11, as colourfully dressed protesters came together to reveal the true cost of potential investment in the Great Barrier Reef coal port expansion. Protests took place across Australia against controversial new plans to increase coal shipping through the World Heritage Area. Though Westpac released its own promising report on climate change in 2009, Market Forces estimates it has since lent more than $900 million to fossil fuel export projects within the marine park.
Now I know things seem pretty bleak in this country right now, but we must remember there is always hope. After all, in 1967, an Australian prime minister entirely disappeared without any warning after he went swimming — and Tony Abbott loves to swim! So don't give in to despair — it might happen again. The key thing is to not lose all hope.
Sarah Hathway, the Socialist Alliance candidate for Geelong, and Sean Brocklehurst, the Socialist Alliance candidate for Pascoe Vale, released this statement on October 16. *** We strongly support the Reclaim the Night marches organised across Victoria and the world. Violence against women is endemic to the sexist culture promoted by our oppressive, exploitative, capitalist society. Vibrant public campaigns protesting such violence can help win better safety and rights for women, and are an important part of the struggle for a better world.
The City of Moreland became the first council in Victoria to rule out direct investments in fossil fuels and the first council in Australia to start developing a strategy to move investments away from financial institutions that fund fossil fuel developments, after a vote at its October 8 meeting.
Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance released this statement on October 16. *** Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance supports the struggle in Kobani against the Islamic State for a number of reasons. Kobani, is part of an emerging progressive autonomous region called Rojava where people of all ethnicities and religious beliefs are equal and where women are leading the way forward.
Kurdish fighters in the northern-Syrian city of Kobani have been fighting an armed struggle against Islamic State (IS) fighters for the past month. The Kurdish fighters are resisting IS attempts to take their city, which would result in a massacre. There has been some debate among left activists about whether the Kurdish struggle is anti-imperialist, whether the people’s militia groups in Kobani have been calling for imperialist military intervention, and what issue Australian anti-war activists should focus on.
The ebola outbreak in West Africa is "unquestionably the most severe acute public health emergency in modern times", World Health Organisation (WHO) director general Dr Margaret Chan said on October 14.
University of Sydney professor Barry Spurr has been suspended following a protest at the university on October 17. Students and staff rallied to express their disgust over reports from New Matilda the professor had vilified minority groups in emails to his colleagues by using terms such as “abos, mussies, chinky-poos” and referred to a woman as a “worthless slut”.
The article below was is taken from a longer message released by Malalai Joya, the renowned Afghan feminist who has resisted the Taliban and US-led occupation of her nation, on October 12. It is abridged from www.malalaijoya.com. ***
"We are now in the world of 'big insurance,' with health funds squarely in the business of providing financial returns to shareholders ... Private health insurers serve their shareholders, meaning they don't necessarily seek to actively protect or advance models of care that result in the best health outcomes for members," chief executive of St Vincents Health Australia Toby Hall, Australia’s largest not-for-profit health-care organisation, wrote in the October 10 Sydney Morning Herald.
Paul Verhaeghe, senior professor of clinical psychology and psychoanalysis at Ghent University in Belgium, has argued in a recently published essay that neoliberal economics brings out the worst in human beings. He finds that thirty years of neoliberalism, and the privatisation and free-market misery that comes with it, have taken their toll on people’s values and even their personalities.
As I watched the slick military-supplied “news” clip of the first Australian Super Hornet mission over Iraq — where the two warplanes dropped not a single bomb on an IS target — I wondered how much that abortive mission cost the supposedly budget-strapped government and certainly budget-slapped Australian public.
Woolworths was caught out this month selling T-shirts with the slogan “If you don’t love it, leave” emblazoned over an Australian flag. After George Craig posted a photo of the shirt on Twitter with the caption: “@woolworths cairns, selling racist singlets for everyday low prices! #racist”, the T-shirt was quickly and widely condemned. Woolworths immediately pulled the stock from its shelves and apologised.
Progressive student activists at the University of Technology (UTS) are running on a ticket to contest the student representative council (SRC) and elect delegates to the National Union of Students (NUS) conference in December. The ticket, called “Grow your SRC and NUS”, is focusing on fighting the proposed fee hikes and providing better support to disadvantaged students, as well as calling on UTS management to divest from fossil fuel corporations.