Analysis

I’m writing on May 13 at 5:19am from the city of Wanzhou, Chongqing Municipality, China. I’ve just re-entered my apartment after the latest aftershock sent everyone onto the streets once more. It’s been a long 15 hours since the initial earthquake yesterday afternoon that so devastated Wenchuan and surrounds, such as the beautiful city of Chengdu. At this moment, my understanding of the scope of this disaster is only what I have been able to garner from international news websites and secondhand reports from my Chinese friends.
The Rudd government’s first budget, touted as a “Robin Hood” budget, takes very little from the “rich” and gives practically nothing to the poor and disadvantaged. In its fundamentals, it continues on from where the former Howard Coalition government left off.
“First World countries are the leaders in carbon emissions, and it is the Third World who faces the consequences”, Bangladeshi Professor Anu Muhammad told a crowd of 50 at public forum on May 14. “A one-metre rise in sea level would displace 40 million people and would submerge 30% of our country.”
A casual glance at the ALP’s federal budget would have you believe that there will be a net loss of 1224 public sector jobs over the next financial year. That figure, derived from an actual cut of 5061 jobs, balanced by 3837 new jobs, belies what will happen.
In presenting the state budget on May 6, Premier John Brumby announced that “doing business in Victoria will become even easier”. The ALP government’s pro-corporate measures will cut almost $1.5 billion from taxes and costs for the big end of town.
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh and state mines and energy minister Geoff Wilson were on hand in early May to celebrate Rio Tinto’s announcement that the company would double exports of coal from Queensland in the next seven years.
The plan for the privatisation of electricity in NSW is like the mythical creature the hydra, which had multiple heads. It had to be “killed” many times before it would actually die — and every time it was “killed” it could bite back apparently unharmed.
Colonel Moe Davis, former chief prosecutor at the US prison Guantanamo Bay, has finally told the world that David Hicks was never a serious terror threat and that his pursuit was politically driven. Davis has also now said that evidence was obtained through prisoner abuse.
“[On] the question of [civil unions] legislation … it’s always been our view, as the Labor Party, [that] that lies properly within the prerogative of the states, and that remains our position.” This was then opposition leader, now PM, Kevin Rudd’s view quoted by ABC News on December 7. It was a promise that, unlike the Howard Coalition government, federal Labor would not overturn civil unions legislation in the ACT.
A new report released on May 5 by Greenpeace, False Hope: why carbon capture and storage won’t save the climate, puts the case against governments’ obsession with a technology they calculate will breath life into the dirty fossil fuel industry.

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