Analysis

A call for socialist ideas Speaking at the launch of Socialist Alliance candidate Jim McIlroy’s campaign for the federal seat of Griffith, held by ALP leader Kevin Rudd, veteran socialist and university lecturer Gary MacLennan called for the continuation of the struggle for socialist ideas.
On October 21, the day of the “great debate”, Labor leader Kevin Rudd announced Labor’s latest policy to help “working families”. He promised, if elected, to increase the federal government rebate on child care costs from 30% to 50% and to pay the rebate quarterly rather than annually. This promise stands alongside Labor’s pledge to allocate $2.5 billion dollars to allow “working families” to claim 50% of educational costs up to $750 per year for primary school kids, or $1500 for high schoolers. And of course, let’s not forget the “education revolution”.
Guy Pearse — the speechwriter for the federal Coalition environment minister from 1997 to 2000 who blew the whistle last year on the Howard government’s use of Australia’s biggest polluters to write its greenhouse gas emissions policy — visited Melbourne on October 24 as part of an east-coast speaking tour.
In the lead-up to the federal election, your guide to what’s really happening behind the spin of the official campaign.
Anti-war activists have again called for the Australian troops to get out of Afghanistan as a second Australian soldier this month was killed there.
A landmark Federal Court hearing for 96 Western Australian construction workers that begins on October 24 is the most dramatic demonstration yet of the impact of the Howard government’s draconian IR laws.
In his frantic bid to secure a fifth consecutive election victory for the Coalition, Prime Minister John Howard has fired up the amp and is loudly proclaiming his message that growth and increased private wealth will solve all problems. Howard is presenting his message — pump-primed by a lavish promise of personal tax cuts (largely for the already wealthy) and proclamations that economic growth can proceed unhindered (in spite of growing environmental concerns and increasing inequality) — like a spruiker at a country sideshow: enjoy the fairy floss and don’t mind the smell of bullshit.
Ali Beg Humayun was threatened with deportation by the immigration department (DIAC) on October 8. Humayun, a queer Pakistani man, has been locked up for over two-and-a-half years in the Villawood detention centre and is currently appealing a Refugee Review Tribunal (RRT) decision not to grant him refugee status.
On October 16, events in more than 150 countries marked World Food Day, which commemorates the founding of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, with the theme of “the right to food”.
On October 12, PM John Howard announced his plan to hold a referendum to alter the preamble to the Australian constitution to include an acknowledgment of the original inhabitants of Australia. This is a departure from Howard’s historic position against “symbolic” gestures of reconciliation — a position that in the past has earned him the ire of Indigenous groups, who in 2000 literally turned their backs on Howard when he refused to apologise for previous governments’ complicity in the horrendous policies that led to the Stolen Generations.

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