When it comes to comparing the cases of two publishers of secret information — WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange and billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch — the hypocrisy from politicians and media is huge. The key difference between the two is obvious — one seeks to challenge the establishment, the other exerts huge control over it. See also: Murdoch scandal: Hypocritical warmongers exposed Watching Murdoch crisis so much fun
Pro-choice campaigners and activists will assemble outside a fertility control clinic in East Melbourne on July 23 for several reasons. The clinic is under constant harassment from far-right Christian groups, including Right to Life and the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants. These groups rally outside the clinic every fourth Saturday of the month, and sometimes on weekdays too. These groups mobilise their members to harass not only women using the clinic, but also women who just happen to walk past.
As rocks fly and tear gas wafts through the streets of Athens, Greece’s Prime Minister George Papandreou has warned of a coming crackdown on protesters and striking workers. Meanwhile, a new bailout for the banks is being prepared in the halls of power in Europe. Papandreou was able to secure breathing room for the Greek government with another round of emergency loans that saved it from the immediate prospect of default — the state failing to pay back some or all of its debts.
In a new twist to Tasmania’s forest industry crisis, two wealthy environmentalists, Graeme Woods and Jan Cameron, have bought the Triabunna woodchip mill from notorious woodchipping company Gunns Ltd. Gunns had almost stitched up a deal with a pro-logging company called Fibre Plus (owned by Aprin) but this fell through due to problems obtaining finance.
Green capitalism is on a roll at the moment. On July 8, a group of New Zealand business leaders launched their “Pure Advantage” campaign with full-page ads in the daily papers headed: “Even if you don’t believe in climate change, there’s money to be made doing something about it.” This was followed by the classic: “There’s money in being green and we need to start turning Green Growth into wealth.” That says it all, really.
Carbon price not effective It is unbecoming for the Greens and major environmental organisations to be supporting the Gillard government’s carbon price, which promises to be so palpably ineffective in reducing Australian emissions. Even treasury modelling indicates that it will be over a decade before Australian emissions begin to fall, whereas climate science indicates that we need big reductions beginning now.
Coal seam gas drilling has been a hot topic in Australia over the past couple of years, interest fuelled by the US documentary Gasland. The land on top of the coal arc stretching from northern Queensland down to the southern Highlands of NSW is being slapped with exploration licences that progress to pilot wells at an alarming rate, especially in rural New South Wales. In NSW, there is no specific legislation covering coal seam gas, and yet exploration and wells are going ahead.
Oh this is such fun. And every few hours it gets better, but always with an announcement there’s “still worse to come”, leaving us struggling to imagine what they might have done that’s worse. Presumably by tomorrow it will turn out they planted a bug in Heather Mills’s false leg and hacked into Stephen Hawking’s voicebox. The only thing that tarnishes it slightly is now everyone hates Murdoch. It’s like when you follow an obscure band and they become famous.
A health scare developed at Villawood detention centre in June after an asylum seeker was diagnosed with leprosy. Despite assurances from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, a whistleblower revealed the extent of asylum seekers’ poor health care. International Health and Medical Services is the private health provider contracted to provide health care to people held in Australia’s immigration detention centres.
The federal Labor government released a discussion paper, Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory, on June 22. It suggests the continuation of much of the NT intervention after the Northern Territory Emergency Response legislation expires next year.
More public servants have voted against proposed enterprise agreements put forward by the management of various federal government agencies. Places where staff have voted “no” include the departments of agriculture, fisheries and forestry; immigration and citizenship; defence; and customs. Staff in the Australian Taxation Office, the Productivity Commission, Comcare, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, and the Attorney Generals Department have also voted no. Workers are unhappy with the 3% a year limit on pay rises — less than the expected rise in the cost of living.
Members of the Textiles Clothing and Footwear Union Australia (TCFUA), rallied outside boutique called Scanlan and Theodore against job cuts on July 15. The workers were employees of a company called Blossom Road, which made products for the high-end fashion label. They were protesting because all Blossom Road’s 27 employees were suddenly sacked on May 19, without explanation and without being paid entitlements. The company was liquidated, but the very next day the company re-opened under a different name and owned by the previous boss Bill Jadilebovski’s son.
Action on climate change is one of the most important issues of all. But the Gillard government’s carbon price plan is not a serious response, grounded in the climate science. The biggest problem is that it aims to take ten years to cut Australia’s emissions by just 5% (based on 2000 levels). This is nowhere near enough. It’s so far from enough that even if it succeeds, the world will still be pushed into an unstable, dangerous climate system. See also: Carbon price: what’s in it for renewables?
Climate campaigners have been understandably happy about the funding bodies for renewable energy contained in the carbon price package. It seems that these measures are largely in place because of strong campaigning by the grassroots climate movement and the Greens MPs in negotiations.
You could be forgiven for thinking that when the Labor government says its new carbon price plan will cut Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by 5%, it means Australia’s emissions will fall by 5%. But you would be wrong. Treasury modelling for the carbon price says Australia’s domestic emissions will go up by about 12% on 2000 levels by 2020.
There’s been so much political spin around the Julia Gillard government’s carbon tax announcement. Of course, there’s the predictable hysterical hollering from Tony Abbott, Barnaby Joyce and the climate change denier’s camp, but there is also tons of bullshit from the Labor government. However, a couple of developments have provided a much-needed reality check.