Analysis

The determination of the WA government and transport minister Troy Buswell to close more than 720 kilometres of so-called Tier 3 railway lines in the state’s Wheatbelt has put it on a collision course with grain farming communities. It threatens to unleash a vast increase in heavy truck traffic and all the problems that go with it.
The Socialist Alliance released this statement on October 14. * * * The Occupy Wall Street protest started small. But it has now become a global movement, with occupy events planned in about 1500 cities worldwide. It’s born out of the recognition that, in country after country, ordinary people are being made to pay for an economic crisis caused by the super-rich. The 99% are being told they must surrender their livelihoods, their future, their security and their dignity to keep a broken system afloat.
Many workers are told by their employer to get an Australian Business Number (ABN). Such workers are said to be “independent contractors” rather than employees. This allows the employer to avoid various obligations, such as minimum wage rates, paid sick leave and annual leave. ABNs are issued by the Australian government through the website (abr.gov.au). No payment is required to obtain an ABN from this site. Yet many people pay private companies to get them an ABN. Googling the term “ABN” recently, I found advertisements saying things like: “ABN registration for only $95.”
I am a member of Pulp the Mill, a group of peaceful community protesters who engage in civil disobedience to protest the politically corrupted Tamar Valley pulp mill assessment process in Tasmania. Pulp the Mill has repeatedly called for a Royal Commission into this corrupted process, and in particular into Section 11 of the Pulp Mill Assessment Act 2007, a clause that removes the right of people to either claim compensation, or take legal action, should the pulp mill cause a negative impact on their health or livelihoods in any way whatsoever.

The High Court in London will soon decide whether Julian Assange is to be extradited to Sweden to face allegations of sexual misconduct. At the appeal hearing in July, Ben Emmerson QC, counsel for the defence, described the whole saga as “crazy”. Sweden’s chief prosecutor had dismissed the original arrest warrant, saying there was no case for Assange to answer. Both the women involved said they had consented to have sex. On the facts alleged, no crime would have been committed in Britain.

As the world watched the Egyptian people overthrow the hated dictator Hosni Mubarak earlier this year, there would have been many who asked themselves: Could it happen in my country too? Some did more than wonder, they took to the streets and tried to “walk like an Egyptian” and a wave of people’s power began to sweep the Arab world. But this wave of revolt didn’t stop there. There were powerful reverberations in Spain, Israel, Malaysia and even in the United States, the world’s richest country.
NSW education minister Adrian Piccol has announced a process of “community consultation on the reform of TAFE and the vocational education and training sector in NSW”. The NSW Liberal government plans to repeat its Victorian counterpart’s attacks on public education and further privatise vocational education. The government plans to encourage private colleges and universities to undercut TAFE providers. It will offer a publicly-funded student voucher system to achieve this.
As part of its attacks on the NSW public sector, the O’Farrell Liberal government will begin charging parents up to $40 a day for each child they send to the once-free public preschools run by the Department of Education and Community Services (DEC). The fees will be introduced next year to the 100 DEC preschools across NSW. These preschools were established to improve the educational opportunities for students in poor socio-economic areas, including communities that may be isolated, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Dr Aunty Ruby Langford Ginibi, one of Australia’s foremost Aboriginal authors, passed away on October 2 in a Sydney nursing home. Through her numerous books, short stories, poetry, interviews and public appearances and her commitment to “edu-ma-cating” non-Aboriginal people about Indigenous peoples’ circumstances and struggle, she made a distinctive and substantial contribution to Australian history and literature. Her books were studied in high schools and universities in Australia and internationally.
Australia, at least for me, is a paradox. As Dorothy McKellar famously wrote, “I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains, of rugged mountain ranges and droughts and flooding rains”. The extremes in our landscape and our weather seem to have been etched into our national psyche as well, which is something I’ve never quite understood.
Ian Angus speaking at the 2016 Climate Change Social Change conference

Ian Angus is editor of climateandcapitalism.com and co-author, with Simon Butler, of the new book Too Many People?. This is his keynote presentation to the recent Climate Change Social Change conference in Melbourne.

The statement below is a call for solidarity with jailed Pakistani activists, including the Labor Party Pakistan’s Baba Jan. It was released on September 22. To add your support to the statement email politic.ofthepoor@gmail.com. * * * On August 11, Pakistani police used live bullets against people demanding payment of compensation allowances following a devastating landslide which had happened a year before in the valley of Hunza, on July 4, 2010.