Sometimes it takes a truly dramatic event to really make you face up to a serious threat. It was not that I was unaware of the danger of already occurring climate change, but it was still a shock when the Essendon Football Club had to cancel its game against St Kilda, scheduled for Wangaratta on March 3, when the team's plane couldn't land in the extreme weather. As a result, the Bombers forfeited four points in the NAB Cup. I just thanked Christ it was only the pre-season. See also:
A “free trade agreement” being negotiated by Australia, the United States and other countries could have profound impacts on crucial public policy issues including food security, natural resource management, access to essential medicines, public assets and more. Negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) – including Australia, the US, New Zealand, Chile, Peru, Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam – are taking place in unprecedented secrecy.
A telling quote in the film KONY 2012 says: “Who are you to stop a war? — the question is, who are you not to?” I think the question that the people behind KONY 2012, which went viral on the internet on March 7, need to be asked is: “Who are you to start one?” Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army in eastern Africa, is a bad man. He should be held to account for his crimes. But we should be wary of any campaign that says the solution is to send in US troops to Uganda. And that is the take-home message from the campaign.
After eight months of campaigning by Victoria’s nurses to keep staff-to-patient ratios and win a wage rise there may be a breakthrough in the dispute. On March 7, the Ted Baillieu Coalition state government finally offered to begin new negotiations with the Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) though a conciliation process overseen by Fair Work Australia.
Despite the NSW government's promise to rule out sensitive areas to coal seam gas (CSG) activity, the long-awaited Strategic Regional Land Use Plan and Aquifer Interference Policy means “every part of NSW is still up for grabs”, Jess Moore from Stop CSG Illawarra said on March 6. Liberal premier Barry O’Farrell’s government policy is “a disaster and a broken election promise”. Moore said “no areas are off limits to CSG”.
Mike Crook, the Socialist Alliance candidate for Sandgate in the March 24 Queensland state elections, is a former ALP member, who radicalised when working on construction and mining projects over many years. Mike is active in community and environmental campaigns in the Sandgate area, including the Transition Towns movement.
The 2012 International Women's Day (IWD) march in Sydney, Australia, took place on March 10. Protesters marched from Town Hall to First Fleet Park near Circular Quay, where they held a IWD picnic. The rights or working women was a central theme of the event. The protest celebrated the Australian Services Union's court victory for equal pay for community sector workers. The Asian Women At Work contingent highlighted the rights of migrant workers rights.
The advertising industry is insidious. A massive US$464 billion was estimated to have been spent globally on commercial advertising in 2011. Next year it is tipped to grow by another US$22 billion despite the ongoing economic crisis in Europe and the US.
Photos by Peter Boyle More than 500 women and their supporters marched through Sydney's CBD on March 10 for an International Women's Day protest.
Media watchers should be forgiven for a degree of confusion over statements by federal treasurer and deputy prime minister Wayne Swan in the past two weeks. He began the month with a Press Club address, published in The Monthly’s March edition titled “The 0.01%” where he attacked “the rising power of vested interests” — naming mining magnates Clive Palmer, Andrew Forrest and Gina Rinehart — for “undermining our equality and threatening our democracy”.
Workers and their unions need strong labour law reforms. Two of many changes I urge can be adopted by the Independent Inquiry into Insecure Work in Australia and the federal government’s Fair Work Act Review are: 1. Amend the Fair Work Act to repeal the penal powers and have an effective right to strike. 2. Amend the Fair Work Act to restrict casual and other forms of precarious work to a limited period. Then require employment contracts for ongoing, more permanent work. Fair Work Australia should have the power to order the transition to more secure employment contracts.
A new media watchdog to regulate big media corporations — but also smaller, independent and online media operations — was the key recommendation of Ray Finkelstein’s sweeping report on Australian media released on February 28.
A public forum “Beyond the Carbon Price” will take place at NSW Parliament House on April 27 to open the fourth Climate Action Summit, to be held at the University of Western Sydney over April 27-29. A diverse panel of speakers will engage with the question of how Australia should tackle climate change now that the carbon price has been adopted.
More than 50 people rallied outside the Perth headquarters of British multinational corporation Serco on March 9 to protest against the company's ongoing push to privatise and take over public services. Serco runs Australia’s immigration detention centres and is responsible for implementing the oppressive government policy of mandatory detention. In addition, the company has contracts to run prisons and hospitals and other public services. The protest was calling for all of these privatised enterprises to be returned to public hands.
“Capitalism wrecks everything,” Liam Flenady, Socialist Alliance candidate for South Brisbane in the March 24 Queensland election, told a meet-the-cadidates forum sponsored by Green Left Weekly on March 6. "The neoliberal agenda of the past three decades means privatising profits, and socialising losses. Queensland and Australia are in the midst of a political crisis right now. "People have generally lost confidence in the major parties and their support for the status quo. But they don't yet have a firm belief in a viable alternative project.
Greenpeace activists on March 7 painted a huge message saying “Reef in danger” on the side of the Panamanian-registered coal ship Chou Shan, which was moored in Gladstone Harbour. The action was timed to coincide with the arrival of a delegation from UNESCO investigating the impact of large-scale gas and coal developments on the Great Barrier Reef's world heritage values.