The August 8 announcement of the Reserve Bank board’s decision to raise official interest rates by a further 0.25% focused renewed media attention on the non-affordability of housing. The interest rate rise — the fifth since the 2004 election and the ninth since 2002 — increased mortgage repayments for home owners with average mortgages by $50 a week, placing extra pressure on already stretched budgets.
According to a survey conducted by the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) 15 months ago, eight Australians are killed every week on the job and a further 44 die due to work related illnesses and diseases. This is one-third higher than the number of people who die on the nations roads. More than 15 serious injuries occur on the job every hour.
On August 2, the High Court of Australia upheld the constitutional validity of a control order on Jack Thomas.
Amid an unprecedented security hype in the lead-up to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, organisers of the Stop Bush/Make Howard History protest on September 8 are expecting thousands of anti-war, environment and workers rights activists to take to Sydneys streets to give US President George Bush the kind of welcome he deserves. Green Left Weeklys Pip Hinman spoke to Stop Bush Coalition spokesperson and Stop the War Coalition activist Alex Bainbridge.
A specially commissioned federal government report and a one-sided Ord River Irrigation Area (ORIA) discussion paper are being used in a continued drive to force Australian states to introduce genetically modified crops, with dissenting voices shoved aside.
Tony Carvalho, an Australian Manufacturing Workers Union metal division shop steward sacked from the Altona Toyota plant, says that in the three months since he has been sacked, the use of outside contractors to work at the plant has increased dramatically. Speaking to Green Left Weekly, Carvalho said the number of contractors who are being called in threatens full-time jobs at the plant.
Many working-class people in Western Australia are suffering the consequences of a two-tier society despite the states booming economy, the Socialist Alliance candidate for Pearce, Annolies Truman, told the partys state conference on August 11.
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.