Recent scandals have placed a spotlight on Australia’s electoral system. However, the discussion about possible electoral reforms has largely failed to go beyond touch-ups to an increasingly obsolete set-up. Moreover, some changes would ultimately help tighten the grip that the two major pro-corporate parties have on power — precisely at a time when more Australians are turning their backs on them. Recent revelations have demonstrated what many of us already know: both the Liberals and Labor are backed by big business.
Green Left Weekly is running a special campaign to get the paper out there and involve more people in the distribution. Green Left gets no sponsorship from corporations or government so everything we do is dependent on the volunteers who donate their time writing, producing, fundraising and distributing the paper. Emma Field from Hobart helps campaign with Green Left because she can see the role the paper plays in educating people about the issues we face, such as racism, global warming and equality for LBGTI people.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott's blocking of a conscience vote for marriage equality in a six-hour Coalition party room meeting has angered supporters of equal marriage. The grassroots movement for marriage equality, a defining feature of Australian politics over the last 11 years, has been reinvigorated over the last two months. Rallies are being organised by Equal Love in Melbourne and Adelaide on August 15 and 16. Liberal MP Warren Entsch's cross party bill will be put on August 17. On August 8 and 9, rallies took place in Sydney, Perth and Brisbane.
Amnesty International (AI) adopted a resolution on August 11 supporting the full decriminalisation of sex work and supporting the rights of sex workers. It described the resolution as being based on “harm reduction” and in line with its “overarching commitment to advancing gender equality and women’s rights”.
Almost 50 people marched from Parliament House to Dumas House (where the state treasury offices are located) to present petitions to treasurer Mike Nahan on August 14. The petitions called for the removal of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on tampons and other women's sanitary products. Protesters pointed out that products more commonly used by men including condoms and shaving cream are not taxed yet tampons and pads are.
Seventy years ago this month, the US committed two of the worst terrorist attacks in human history. The incineration of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by atomic bombs represented the bloody climax of World War II. The nation that committed this heinous crime soon itself came to be the only remaining capitalist superpower.
Adani loses Standard Chartered bank British bank Standard Chartered announced it has ended its role advising Indian mining giant Adani on finance for its Galilee Basin mega coalmine and Abbot Point port expansion on the Great Barrier Reef. Standard Chartered was the last big bank to retain ties with Adani and leaves it without a financial adviser. This follows the Commonwealth Bank cancelling its involvement with Adani and the Federal Court setting aside Greg Hunt’s approval of Adani’s Carmichael coalmine on August 5.
A Greens Bill to protect NSW from the invasive coal seam gas industry failed in the Legislative Council by just three votes — 16 to 19 — on August 13. The Liberal National Coalition and Shooters and Fishers Party voted to protect the unconventional gas industry, while repeating the lie that it could co-exist with agriculture and pristine water catchments.
The peaceful community assembly at the Port of Brisbane.
The federal government has been widely criticised for its weak carbon emission reduction target announced on August 11. The new target of reducing emissions by 26 to 28% on 2005 levels by 2030 will replace the previous target of a 5% emissions reduction on 2000 levels. These targets are nowhere near enough to stay under a 1.5°C rise in global temperature, needed to prevent going over climate tipping points.
More than 100 people attended a rally in Brisbane on August 8, organised by health professionals against the Border Force Act. The Act makes it illegal for health workers working in detention centres to speak out against conditions, risking a 2-year custodial sentence.
A #WECANDOTHIS sign, washed in rainbow lights, greeted politicians at Canberra Airport as they returned for the new parliamentary sitting this week. But the Liberal Party remains unmoved, and will keep their binding “no” vote for the duration of this electoral cycle.
"Making Solar Thermal Happen" was the theme of a forum on August 5 at the University of South Australia, hosted by Repower Port Augusta and Climate Emergency Action Network of South Australia (CLEAN SA). Speakers explored the benefits of the community proposal to build solar thermal power stations in Port Augusta from the point of view of jobs, manufacturing, health, climate and regional development. The discussion was timely, with Port Augusta’s future remaining uncertain after the recently announced forthcoming closure of its coal-fired power stations.
In what has become a typical pattern by employers, Woolworths sent a text message to the 680 workers at its distribution centre in Broadmeadows on June 9 to inform them that the warehouse would be closed down in 2018.
Woolworths’ decision that all new employees at its Melbourne Liquor Distribution Centre (MLDC) will be labour hire casuals has sparked an indefinite strike.