While starving Australias public education and health services of funding, the Coalition government is planning to spend well over $200 million on the annual talk shop dressed up as a leaders summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) scheduled for Sydney this September.
Pro-choice activists are angry that the federal government has subcontracted parts of its $51 million National Pregnancy Telephone Hotline contract to anti-abortion groups.
With climate change posing as one of the gravest threats to capital accumulation - not to mention humankind and our environment - in coming decades, it is little wonder that economists such as Sir Nick Stern, establishment politicians like Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown and US Democrat Al Gore, and financiers at the World Bank and in the City of London have begun warning the public and, in the process, birthing a market for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
With the advent of the industrial revolution society underwent significant changes. The age of steam had arrived and a huge new source of energy was unleashed upon society. The immediate effect of this new source of energy was to bring about a qualitative change in the productive forces. The method of production became social in character.
A year after the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, which involves 166 countries and commits 36 industrialised nations to binding CO2 emission cuts of 5.2% by 2012, global emissions are rising faster than ever. This is because Kyoto promotes carbon trading as the key mechanism to reduce CO2 emissions. Today the global carbon market worth US$22 billion is being called a “green goldrush”.
The federal governments Uranium Mining, Processing and Nuclear Energy Review, released on November 21, had only one real purpose to provide John Howard with evidence for championing the nuclear power cycle. What other conclusion can we come to, when the review made its assessments while ignoring Australias most spectacular renewable energy resource the hot dry rock geothermal energy of the Cooper Basin and other regions.
The old adage one step forward, two steps back encapsulates the experience of the refugee movement in 2006. Despite some positive changes to refugee policy, the result of consistent campaigning by refugee rights activists and organisations over a number of years, the Howard government has pushed on with its regressive immigration agenda, especially the treatment of refugees.
December 9, the fifth anniversary of David Hicks capture by the US, will be marked by national protests calling for his immediate return.
In their article No to carbon trading: make the polluters pay (GLW #691), Tim Stewart and Pip Hinman argue against the use of carbon pricing in general, and emissions trading in particular, as an important tool for reducing Australias greenhouse gas emissions.
Dick Nichols was elected national coordinator of the Socialist Alliance (SA) at its 5th national conference held in Geelong at the end of October. Green Left Weekly interviewed him about the challenges and opportunities for the SA in the year ahead.