Analysis

'Class consciousness is knowing which side of the fence you’re on. Class analysis is figuring out who is there with you.' — Slogan from a 1970s poster, author unknown.

The newly formed "Industrial Left" faction of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) in Victoria combined with the right at the party's state conference on May 28 to block discussion about imposing a 90 day time limit on offshore detention.

The Global Day of Action for Women's Health was on May 28. Around the world, the preceding week was punctuated by significant actions for abortion rights.

The most significant was the resounding Yes vote in the May 25 Irish referendum on removing the ban on abortion from the constitution. This gave a shot in the arm to the campaign for abortion rights in the six counties of Northern Ireland, where the anti-abortion provisions of British Offences Against the Person Act from 1861 remain in force.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is the highest-paid leader in the entire Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), according to a recent report.

Analysis by market research group IG also showed Turnbull earns up to 10 times the average Australian wage — the second-highest disparity with the majority of ordinary workers among OECD countries.

The Victorian Branch of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) held its state conference over the weekend of May 26 and 27.

The conference was held amid rising tensions within the Victorian ALP; with several prominent unions including the Construction, Forestry, Mining, Maritime and Energy Union (CFMMEU) splitting from the Socialist Left to form the new “Centre Unity and Industrial Left Alliance” faction with a number of right-wing unions including the Australian Workers Union (AWU).

"Old fashions please me best; I am not so nice To change true rules for odd inventions."

William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew, 1593.

On May 21 Australian Greens deputy leader Adam Bandt introduced a small but potentially significant private member's bill into the House of Representatives.

The North Coast Environment Council (NCEC) has accused the NSW government of trying to keep the public in the dark about its proposals for logging on public land. The proposals include opening state forests to increased logging, zoning 140,000 hectares for clearfelling, removing the need to look for and protect most threatened species before logging, reducing stream buffers and allowing logging in old growth forest.

There were mixed results in the recent Greens NSW Legislative Council preselections. But, that in itself represents a revival in the fortunes of the more radical (or red-ish) Greens who have suffered a series of losses in such ballots over the past two years. Those losses were welcome news to the self-styled “mainstream progressives” (or centrists) who lead the Australian Greens and have long chaffed at the presence of Corbyn-like elements in the Greens NSW. Now, writes former convenor of NSW Greens Hall Greenland, that losing trend is over.

While the architect of Australia’s detention system Liberal Senator Jim Molan was rehearsing his lines to promote this cruel system on ABC’s Q&A, a woman was arrested for the crime of standing outside and peacefully holding a banner reading “Close the Camps, Bring Them Here”.

Just under two years ago, people gathered in the Victorian State Library to launch the Home Stretch campaign, which calls on all state governments to raise the age a young person can remain in a care placement from 18 to 21 years.

Home Stretch came together because there had been too many young people who, having been cared for and looked after by the state, were cast adrift at the tender age of 15–17, with all formal support ending.

 

The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Senate Committee released a report on May 19 into the implications of climate change for Australia's national security, which warned that climate change poses a "current and existential national security risk" to Australia.

The report defined an existential threat as “one that threatens the premature extinction of Earth-originating intelligent life or the permanent and drastic destruction of its potential for desirable future development”.

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