In the past three years, the Australian government has recovered more than $41 million that had been fraudulently claimed by private employment agencies. These for-profit employment agencies were found to have submitted forged and doctored records and lodged inflated fee claims. One source, a former agency employee, told ABC’s Four Corners that they had seen “thousands” of jobseeker records modified by the agency to support suspicious claims against the taxpayer.
Frack Free Tasmania held a public meeting on February 18 at Sustainable Living Tasmania to warn about possible exploration for shale oil and gas in the island state. The current moratorium on fracking in Tasmania is due to end on March 31. The government put out an issues paper which received 157 submissions, 90% of which were opposed to fracking being allowed in the state. The government responded to the review on February 26 by extending the moratorium until 2020.
The Refugee Action Collective held a public meeting in Melbourne on February 23 to discuss the situation in Sri Lanka after the January 8 presidential election, at which Maithripala Sirisena defeated incumbent president Mahinda Rajapaksa. Trevor Grant, the author of Sri Lanka’s Secrets: how the Rajapaksa regime gets away with murder, told the meeting that Sirisena had been a member of Rajapaksa’s cabinet for 10 years. He was acting defence minister in May 2009, in the final days of the war, when the slaughter of Tamils by the Sri Lankan armed forces was at its height.
Zombie Economics: How Dead Ideas Still Walk Amongst Us John Quiggin Black Inc., 2012 265 pages, $26.95 (pb) “Being already dead,” says John Quiggin of zombie ideas in economics, “they can absorb all kinds of damage and keep lumbering on.” And so, despite severe reality checks such as the historical Great Depression and the more recent Global Financial Crisis (GFC), classical free market economics continues to lead its undead life in the neoliberal form Quiggin calls “market liberalism”.
Cartoon by Norrie. Bellicose and racist jingoism is the last refuge of scoundrel Prime Minister Tony Abbott. His February 23 “National Security Statement” was blatant incitement of hatred, bigotry and suspicion against Australia's Muslim minority.
The Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network released this statement on February 27. * * * The Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN) has called on the government to immediately halt all transfers of asylum seekers to offshore detention centres until the report into allegations of sexual abuse on Nauru has been released. The Moss Inquiry report was provided to the Minister for Immigration and Border protection on February 9, but its findings have not been made public, and there has been no timeframe provided for its release.
More than 1000 people attended a meeting at the Enmore theatre in Newtown on February 23 to hear from the builders of the $12 billion motorway WestConnex. The WestConnex Delivery Authority organised the meeting as a community consultation to answer what they call “misinformation” about the project. But they faced an overwhelmingly hostile reaction from the crowd. The crowd booed and heckled WestConnex Delivery Authority chief executive Dennis Cliche as he tried to promote the benefits of the motorway.
As the federal government lurches from crisis to crisis, the hand-wringing and finger pointing in the mainstream press continues. A piece by Murdoch mouthpiece Janet Albrechtsen published in the Australian on February 18, blames the Australian public. Titled “We, the people, are the threat to fiscal reform”, Albrechtsen continues the conservative mantra that argues that government budget debt is intergenerational theft.
The SYRIZA government's list of reforms, drawn up as part of its temporary four-month loan extension deal, was accepted by the Eurogroup on February 24. In a February 25 statement, the Party of the European Left (EL) said: "The fight for democracy and against austerity in Europe is far from being finished, but this bridging agreement is a very important first step.
Last week, as mainstream media across Australia reported on recovery efforts in Queensland following Cyclone Marcia, thousands of Aboriginal people displaced by a different cyclone in the Northern Territory were all but ignored. *** DONATE TO THE CYCLONE LAM DISASTER SUPPORT CAMPAIGN ***
Stolen Provocalz & Lady Lash Released Invasion Day, January 26, 2015 $5 all funds go to the Smith Street Working Party www.provocalz.bandcamp.com Lady Lash says it was her own family's trauma that inspired her to record "Stolen", a song about Indigenous children being taken from their parents. "My grandmother, she went through a lot of the stuff where she was hidden," says the mother-of-three, who recorded the song in collaboration with a fellow Aboriginal rapper and parent, Provocalz.