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.
For socialists, this August marks a significant anniversary. One hundred years ago, a congress of the Second or Socialist International took a bold stand in the struggle against capitalist war. The congress pointed the way toward the Russian Revolution of 1917 and provided an enduring guide for socialists anti-war activity.
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.
Environmentalists around the country are gearing up to protest the worlds biggest climate criminals US President George Bush and PM John Howard who will be pushing their environmentally disastrous agenda at the September 8-9 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Sydney.