Like most sectors of society, the education system in Australia is under attack. For decades, education has been underfunded, so when Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced that she intended to fund the Gonski reforms, many people were temporarily relieved. Then she said that, to pay for primary and high school education reforms, the government would cut funding to universities. Private schools won’t lose funding and, in some cases, will get more. Yet the ailing TAFE system would get nothing. So much for an education revolution.
It feels like the sewers have burst, spilling a stinking mess of racism, homophobia and misogyny all over the public debate in Australia. Aboriginal football stars and a female prime minister have been among the noted victims of hateful abuse and insult. It has shocked some people. Where did this come from? What does this say about 21st century Australia?
A new website has published the biggest set of immigration detention records in Australia to date. It will provide unprecedented verification of the endemic self-harm and psychiatric crises that refugee rights campaigners have independently reported for years.
Socialist Alliance candidate for Fremantle, Sam Wainwright introduces the Socialist Alliance campaign to a packed out candidates forum organised by GetUp. The forum was held in the state library theatre on 14 June 2013.
The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) and Brisbane-based consultant Katestone have come under fire for releasing a report, on coal train dust in the Hunter Valley, that appeared to have been doctored. The ARTC is a federal-owned corporation and leases rail track from the NSW government. It is in charge of most rail track other than dedicated inner city passenger rail corridors, including rail tracks that deal mainly in freight and commodity haulage.
The following resolution was adopted by the Socialist Alliance national council meeting on June 10. *** • If socialism is not just to be a good idea, it has to become a movement of the working class and other oppressed groups. It flows from this that to build the socialist movement we have to have a permanent focus on linking up with the activists and leaders of the working class and oppressed groups who are fighting capitalist oppression.
Information revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden about the PRISM spy program — which used data from giant internet companies, such as Google and Facebook, to carry out mass surveillance of people outside the US — has provided new evidence about the warrantless spying on civilians by the US government. Although a government spying on civilians is hardly new and will not come as a surprise to many people, what is concerning about this case is the size and number of companies involved and the apparent ease with which this data was obtained.
During this year alone, an estimated 128 people have drowned or vanished trying to seek asylum in Australia. By June 14, up to seven asylum boats trying to reach Christmas Island had foundered, sunk or been stranded. This includes the boat that sank in Indonesia’s Sunda Strait in April, when Australian authorities failed to give accurate coordinates of the foundering vessel to Indonesian search and rescue. Up to 58 people drowned, 53 of whom were never retrieved.
The Refugee Action Coalition held a public forum on June 3 titled: “Bridging Visas, Community Detention: what rights do asylum seekers in the community have?” About 12,000 asylum seekers who have arrived since August 13 last year are living in the community on “bridging visas”. August 13 was when the government introduced the “no advantage” policy and ceased processing refugee applications. Refugees on bridging visas receive less than the paltry Newstart allowance with little support. They could be sent to detention on Nauru or Manus Island at any time.