Are you sick to death of the endless debate about whether odious Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce has a right to privacy? 

Of course some of that debate has now veered into thoughtful comparisons of how a misogynistic press “pawed” over the private lives of female politicians, such as Julia Gillard and Cheryl Kernot. But generally it remains fixated on whether public figures have a right to keep their private lives private.

Barnaby Joyce thought he was untouchable. But for the Malcolm Turnbull government in crisis mode, it seems he could be dispensable.

The week before last, it appeared that Joyce’s media and parliamentary advisors may have just managed to save his skin. After the tabloids splashed news of his affair — including a picture of Vikki Campion, Joyce's former media advisor and now partner — we had the “Look, I never said I was an angel” line.

The transport system in Australia is in crisis. The push by governments and the private roads lobby to build more tollways, sell off our public transport to the big corporations is worsening services, raising costs and creating a transport impasse for the public.

At the centre of this is the current transport disaster in Australia’s biggest city, Sydney.

Simon’s unexpected death, at the age of 51, is a big loss for friends, family and the socialist and workers’ movements.

Community groups opposed to the controversial $17 billion WestConnex tollway project have criticised the recent decision by NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) to dismiss the 13,000 objections lodged against the WestConnex M4-M5 Link Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). 

RMS responses, published by the NSW Department of Planning on February 5, effectively disregarded or rejected serious environmental, health and probity problems with the project.

The Murray-Darling Basin Declaration was signed on February 5 by 12 eminent scientists and economists — Quentin Grafton, Darla Hatton MacDonald, David Paton, Graham Harris, Henning Bjornlund, Jeffery D Connor, John Quiggin, John Williams, Lin Crase, Richard Kingsford, Sarah Ann Wheeler and Richard Davis — who are concerned that the current Murray-Darling Basin Plan is not working.

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Four years ago thousands of people lit candles in more than 750 locations across Australia to remember slain 23-year-old Iranian asylum seeker Reza Berati and demand an end to Australia’s detention system.

It was the largest post-Howard government mobilisation for refugee rights to date.

At rallies across the country activists who had been in contact with people in Manus Island detention centre exposed the horrors of that night.

The purpose of the Turnbull government is to clear every obstacle it can to help big business maximise its profits.

No environmental protection or social good is too important to be sacrificed for this goal. No surprise then that they are trying to cripple freedom of expression. For them, the more people are ignorant, confused and in fear the better.

Take these three assaults on our ability to analyse and criticise their actions.

For almost 14 years we have repeated the same sad story of the death of TJ Hickey.

The young Kamilaroi man was happily riding his bike in Waterloo on February 14, 2004, totally unaware of the tragedy that was to come. A police car driven by then Constable Hollingsworth, started to pursue him. On the corner of Phillip and George streets, a police vehicle hit the bike and TJ was catapulted and impaled on the spiked iron fence.

The journalists’ union and legal organisations have warned that the federal Coalition government’s latest amendments to the Criminal Code Act 1995 would make it difficult, if not impossible, to report on what the government does behind closed doors.


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