Robert Menzies achieved many things in his long political career. To remain prime minister as long as he did, Menzies kicked the communist can for as much as it was worth. He also benefited from a split in the Australian Labor Party and the ALP’s remarkable talent for shooting itself in the foot. By choosing ineffectual leaders — Doc Evatt was brilliant but erratic, while Arthur Calwell was dour, dull and unelectable — the ALP was putty in Menzies’ clever political hands.
More than 800 workers gathered in Bicentennial Park on August 23 to protest against the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement in a rally organised by the Electrical Trades Union (ETU). ETU National Secretary Allen Hicks told the crowd Chinese companies need invest only 15% in a project worth at least $150 million to be able to bring in workers from overseas who are not subject to labour market testing. For as little as $22.5 million, a Chinese investor in a joint venture with an Australian company can avoid paying Australian wages and conditions.
The Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy released this statement on August 27. The Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy (RATE) has claimed an important victory in its fight for Aboriginal housing on the Block, ahead of a Supreme Court decision today on a timeline for forced eviction of the Embassy camp.
On August 13, anti-marriage equality campaigner and Liberal government minister Senator Eric Abetz was presented with a petition against marriage equality — the "Uluru bark petition" — by Black pastor Peter Walker, who claimed to speak on behalf of "Aboriginal Australia".
Green Left Weekly’s ROBIN MAYO caught up with MICH-ELLE MYERS on August 23, a family day at Port Botany in support of the workers sacked by Hutchinson Ports. Myers is a national officer for the Maritime Union of Australia. Why is the Hutchison dispute so important? The Hutchison dispute is important because it is waking the community up about why we need to get rid of the Abbott government. It helps the community realise how anti-worker this government is. It thinks it’s OK for people to be sacked by SMS and email in the middle of the night.
After his resounding success in the immigration portfolio — in which international treaty obligations were trashed, human rights trammelled, and asylum seekers fleeing from persecution were greeted with perverse punishment — Scott Morrison was promoted to minister for social services where he wasted no time attacking the unemployed, the disabled and aged pensioners. It seemed impossible to go any lower. But if anyone was going to manage it, it was the minister whose arrogance is outweighed only by his ambition to be prime minister. Now it is expectant mothers he is trying to vilify.
Despite the overwhelming evidence, the federal government does not believe that climate change is real. The Climate Council recommended a reduction of 45% to 65% of Australia’s 2005 carbon emission levels as the minimum that would be required to prevent runaway climate change.