The Labor Party has enjoyed a remarkable recovery in the recent Queensland elections. Three years ago, after Labor privatised publicly owned railways, ports and forests, the party was reduced to a 27% primary vote and seven state seats. At the January 31 election, its primary vote rose to 38% and, with a stronger flow of Greens preferences, it won at least 43 seats with a possible total of 45 — the final result will be determined by further counting. Forty five seats would give the party an absolute majority in state parliament.
In the wake of the Queensland election result the federal government has decided to postpone a decision on whether to allow dredge spoil from a north Queensland port expansion to be dumped on nearby wetlands. Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt has confirmed that he will delay a decision on whether to allow dredge spoil from the expansion of the Abbot Point coal terminal, near Bowen, to be dumped on the Caley Valley wetlands, until he can talk to the new Queensland government.
The Australian Council of Trade Unions has called national rallies against the federal government on March 4. They released this statement on January 30. *** Our rights at work are again under attack from the Tony Abbott government and employers. Just last week it became even clearer that the full-scale Productivity Commission inquiry into our rights at work could deliver cuts to penalty rates, the abolition of the minimum wage, bring back unfair individual contracts and swing even more power to the employers. The time to stand up and fight back is now.
Songs of Alex Glasgow 1 & 2 Now & Then: Songs of Alex Glasgow 3 Northern Drift & Joe Lives Alex Glasgow www.mawson-wareham.com During the British miners’ strike in 1984, when Margaret Thatcher set out to break the National Union of Miners and push for her neoliberal counter-revolution, I somehow received word that Alex Glasgow was flying to Britain to perform solidarity concerts.
"When was the last time you saw Greeks protesting in support of the government?", Keep Talking Greece asked on February 5.
About 3000 people marched through Sydney's inner-west suburbs of Newtown and St Peters on February 1 to show their opposition to the $12 billion WestConnex motorway project. The project would destroy 80 homes and bulldoze sections of six local parks. Iconic Sydney Park is projected to lose 12,000 square metres of green space. WestConnex Action Group and Reclaim the Streets organised the rally.
Phoenix is the name of a mythical bird which, after death, rose from the ashes to live with renewed vigour and start the cycle all over again. It’s also the name of an illegal activity in Australia where directors wind-up a company and then create a new one while leaving their debts behind. Workers loose their wages and entitlements, and other creditors are left with no chance of recovering the debts they are owed. It’s a rort that’s common in the construction industry, and fiddled to the tune of more than $3 billion a year.
The statement below was published on Transform-network.org on February 3. It has been signed by seven out of nine presidents of Germany's trade unions, all members of the executive boards of DGB and IG Metall, and mainly Social Democratic Party politicians in Germany's parliament and the European Parliament, including two vice-chairs of SPD, as well as numerous academics. * * *
Leading trade unionists, Irish republican party Sinn Fein and a range of other left voices have backed a call for a new anti-austerity force in Irish politics capable of winning government. In the wake of SYRIZA’s historic win in the Greek elections on January 25, Sinn Fein national chairperson, Declan Kearney, called for formal discussions to begin on building an Irish left coalition to cohere an anti-austerity government in the South.
Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Madrid on January 31 in a huge “March for Change” to support Spain's new anti-austerity party Podemos. The party has grown in support after the left-wing, anti-austerity SYRIZA party in Greece won last week's elections. This has brought hope that change could be in the air for other European countries whose debt is being used to justify austerity. On the demonstration, people chanted “yes we can” and “tic tac tic tac” ― suggesting the clock was ticking and time was running out for the political elite.
As Scots gathered together at Christmas and Hogmanay last year, conversations inevitably turned to politics. Most were agreed that the year ahead would be an interesting one. The impact of the independence referendum on September 18 last year, won by the “No” vote, is still being felt throughout Scottish society. Its impact is reverberating across the British state as well.
The Mekong River is the mother of all south-east Asian rivers, providing life-sustaining resources to millions of people. Now, the future of the Mekong, its people and wildlife are in jeopardy. The government of Laos plans to build the hydroelectric Don Sahong Dam — the second dam proposed for construction on the Lower Mekong mainstream — on the main pathway in the Mekong that allows for year round fish migration.
Venezuela rejects new US sanctions The Venezuelan government rejected aggressive new US-imposed sanctions on February 3, TeleSUR English said that day, insisting the measures flout international law. Venezuela's foreign ministry said in a statement: “The people of Venezuela ratifies its independence and sovereignty. We do not recognise … interference of any kind by foreign powers.” It accused the US of “violating the principles of national sovereignty, equal rights and non-interference in the internal affairs inherent in international law”.
Clivosaurus: The Politics Of Clive Palmer Guy Rundle Quarterly Essay November 2014 Black Inc., $19.99 Elected in 2013 by the curious, the disaffected and the dark arts of preference deals, billionaire Queensland coal baron Clive Palmer and his Senate threesome, were, at first, writes Guy Rundle in Clivosaurus, ignored or played for laughs by the establishment media.
Disunited Kingdom: How Westminster Won a Referendum But Lost Scotland By Iain MacWhirter Cargo Publishing, 2014, 174 pages The independence referendum on September 18 last year has been hailed by many as the most important event in the recent Scottish history. The result was far closer than any supporter of independence would have dared predict even a few months before the vote. About 1.6 million voters (45%) refused to be swayed by a sustained fear campaign by the British state and its allies ― voting “Yes” to Scottish independence.
Useful Enemies: When Waging Wars Is More Important Than Winning Them By David Keen Yale University Press, 2012. Governments in the US, Britain and Australia seem intent on waging war in faraway lands, supposedly to bring freedom and democracy to foreign peoples and to deliver us from the chaos of terrorism. David Keen's useful Enemies, however, shows the folly of the policies being pursued. Far from bringing peace, it turns out throwing arms, bombs and money against opponents who refuse to neatly line up as targets is more likely to fuel the conflict.