1056

So a member of the Coalition government said something tone-deaf and out of touch again. It must have been on a day ending with “y”. When asked last week about housing affordability, federal Treasurer Joe Hockey came out with this cracker: "The starting point for a first homebuyer is to get a good job that pays good money." Oh, of course, Joe! Why hasn't anyone thought of that before?
Australia’s most popular children’s author, Mem Fox, has criticised the federal government’s unfair funding of private schools. Fox was addressing an audience of public school educators at the National Press Club. She said the "confidence trick" of private schools marketing was being revealed, but governments persisted with unfair funding models. "The federal government spends two-thirds of its school education dollars on the one-third of students in Australia who go to private schools,” she said. “Where is our national sense of shame at that statistic?
About 300 people gathered outside Newtown’s Town Hall Hotel on June 8 to protest against the bashing of trans-woman Stephanie McCarthy as she was preparing to perform with her band at the hotel. The crowd were there to stand by McCarthy, condemn the hotel’s actions in not calling police or offering McCarthy support and protest against violence against women and transphobia. Speakers demanded that the community boycott the hotel until it apologises and offers McCarthy compensation. McCarthy gave this speech at the protest. * * *
On June 4 the silhouettes of 231 children were placed outside Parliament House in Canberra as a representation of the children still held in Australia’s detention centres.
For young people today, the international situation can seem hopeless. The world seems increasingly filled with chaos and crisis, as austerity and war impoverish and immiserate increasing numbers of people around the globe. The situation facing young people today, in Australia and around the world, is difficult to say the least, and it is important to confront such a situation seriously and with determination.
On May 31, about 400 anti- racist protestors confronted a far-right protest of racists outside Richmond Town Hall in Melbourne. There were about 70 far-right protesters, carrying Australian flags and wearing swastika t-shirts and green and gold. The action was called by a splinter group of Reclaim Australia that calls itself United Patriots Front (UPF). They attempted to storm the town hall but were thwarted by the hundreds of anti-racists present.
I am not sure federal Treasurer Joe Hockey really thought through his “get a good job that pays well” solution to the Sydney housing crisis. After all, as our treasurer teaches us in his Book of Joe, the poor don't drive, so how are they going to get to the job interviews?
Legislation allowing the 99-year lease — effectively privatisation — of the majority of the NSW electricity network passed through state parliament on June 3. The bill was passed through the Legislative Council, after more than 60 amendments were debated, with the support of Rev Fred Nile's Christian Democrats. Labor and the Greens opposed the bill. Labor leader in the Legislative Council Adam Searle said on June 3 that the outcome showed a debasing of parliamentary process:
Owen Bennett is the founder of the Australian Unemployment Union. He recently spoke at a public forum in Adelaide hosted by Anti-Poverty Network SA on why attacks on employed and unemployed people are connected. Pas Forgione from Anti-Poverty Network SA spoke to him about how these attacks are related and the Australian Unemployment Union's latest campaign. * * * How are attacks on welfare recipients and attacks on workers connected?
In November 2011, US president Barack Obama announced that the military focus of the US was “pivoting” to the Asia-Pacific region. At the same time, as part of this “pivot”, he announced that US marines were to be stationed in Darwin. Following those announcements, a ripple of discontent spread around the nation. Numerous peace groups, academics, faith-based groups and unions began talking to one another about this “pivot” and the threat it represents.

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