The Howard governments legislation for its emergency military-police intervention into Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory was rushed through the House of Representatives on August 7. MHRs were given less than 24 hours to read the 500-odd pages of legislation before being asked to vote on it.
Twenty years ago, a UN special commission produced a report, Our Common Future, that predicted rising CO2 levels would lead to a mean temperature increase of up to 4.5oC within 50 years, which would cause catastrophic climate change. The report proposed that immediate action be taken to counter global warming through massive investment in renewable energy sources, with the onus upon wealthy industrialised nations to take the lead.
On August 2, the federal government announced it would legislate to stop same-sex couples adopting a child from overseas. The move follows the landmark adoption of a boy by two gay men in Western Australia in June.
On July 28, 80 people attended a public forum to hear speakers in support of state Labor MP Candy Broad’s parliamentary bill to remove abortion from the Victorian criminal code.
In Australia, as in other major capitalist countries, the official response to global warming is to deny or gloss over the utter catastrophe confronting human society and try to carry on with business as usual, making only a few relatively minor adjustments here and there.
British scientist James Lovelock, famous for his Gaia theory of the earth as a self-regulating organism, was in Adelaide on July 7-8, speaking at the Festival of Ideas. He has researched across a range of disciplines and has much of interest to say. But on the topic of nuclear power, Lovelock is inaccurate and irresponsible.
The front page of the July 25 Australian gushed with a headline making the astounding claim that the Australian Building and Construction Commission(ABCC) had delivered a $15 billion boost to the economy by improving productivity as a result of reining in thuggish union behaviour.
What do Victorian Labor Premier Stephen Bracks, his successor John Brumby and former Liberal premier Jeff Kennett have in common? A love for neoliberal politics.
When it emerged that Kafeel Ahmed, one of the men implicated in the June 30 botched terrorist attack in Glasgow, had a second cousin working in the Gold Coast Hospital in Queensland, it must have seemed to the Howard government that its election worries were over. Racism, xenophobia and the manufactured threat of terrorism have served Howard well in previous elections. However this time it backfired, with more public anxiety about the frame-up of Dr Mohamed Haneef than about supposed terrorists in our midst.
You wake up in the middle of the night to find three men in your home, stealing documents. One of them is a well-known criminal, one a police officer and one a CIA agent. Dont worry, its all legal and no judge has been bothered for a warrant.