Analysis

Socialist Alliance Hobart branch notes the recent expressions of disillusionment with all political parties in parliament in Tasmania. The state government continues to disappoint with its lack of transparency when it comes to funding dodgy deals such as the proposed Aprin loan (now scuttled after Gunns chose a different bidder), with its inability to support the proper funding of public services such as education and health.
Sara Hudson, a research fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies, recently wrote a comment piece on ABC’s Drum Opinion that supported the Northern Territory intervention. It also attacked public land title in remote Aboriginal communities. The article was what you might expect from a research fellow from the conservative think tank. "Public bad, private good", and so on. But one passage stood out to me, given I had visited many remote Aboriginal communities recently.
Critics of the Gillard government’s proposed carbon price get daily coverage in Australia’s mainstream media. But some types of critic — those who want Australia to stay a polluter’s paradise — are heard the loudest. Other views, which say the carbon price plan is a dangerous diversion from real climate action, are mostly frozen out. Below are four green reasons to oppose the carbon price. 1. Emissions and fossil fuel use go up For a policy that is supposed to drive Australia’s carbon emissions down, the carbon price does a very bad job.
The headline on the final issue of Rupert Murdoch’s News Of The World, “Thank You & Goodbye”, provoked speculation of suitable rejoinders like “Piss Off & Good Riddance!” and more colourful expressions of the same sentiment.
Critics have dubbed the Intelligence Services Legislation Amendment Bill now before parliament the “WikiLeaks Amendment”. It will strengthen the powers of Australia’s spy agency ASIO to target any individual or organisation that opposes the interests of the Australian government, even if Australia’s defence interests and international relations are not at stake. This would include Australian citizens involved in non-violent political activities abroad, which do not constitute a threat to Australia’s security.
Coal seam gas drilling has been a hot topic in Australia over the past couple of years, interest fuelled by the US documentary Gasland. The land on top of the coal arc stretching from northern Queensland down to the southern Highlands of NSW is being slapped with exploration licences that progress to pilot wells at an alarming rate, especially in rural New South Wales. In NSW, there is no specific legislation covering coal seam gas, and yet exploration and wells are going ahead.
In a new twist to Tasmania’s forest industry crisis, two wealthy environmentalists, Graeme Woods and Jan Cameron, have bought the Triabunna woodchip mill from notorious woodchipping company Gunns Ltd. Gunns had almost stitched up a deal with a pro-logging company called Fibre Plus (owned by Aprin) but this fell through due to problems obtaining finance.
As the 28th Australian soldier was killed in Afghanistan, four Christian activists were arrested during a peaceful blockade of the secretive Swan Island military base in Victoria. News of the death of Sergeant Todd Langley, 35, came on the second day of the week-long “Peace Convergence” in opposition to Australia's ongoing military involvement in what activists have called an “unnecessary and ineffective war in Afghanistan”.
Green capitalism is on a roll at the moment. On July 8, a group of New Zealand business leaders launched their “Pure Advantage” campaign with full-page ads in the daily papers headed: “Even if you don’t believe in climate change, there’s money to be made doing something about it.” This was followed by the classic: “There’s money in being green and we need to start turning Green Growth into wealth.” That says it all, really.
A health scare developed at Villawood detention centre in June after an asylum seeker was diagnosed with leprosy. Despite assurances from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, a whistleblower revealed the extent of asylum seekers’ poor health care. International Health and Medical Services is the private health provider contracted to provide health care to people held in Australia’s immigration detention centres.
The federal Labor government released a discussion paper, Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory, on June 22. It suggests the continuation of much of the NT intervention after the Northern Territory Emergency Response legislation expires next year.
There’s been so much political spin around the Julia Gillard government’s carbon tax announcement. Of course, there’s the predictable hysterical hollering from Tony Abbott, Barnaby Joyce and the climate change denier’s camp, but there is also tons of bullshit from the Labor government. However, a couple of developments have provided a much-needed reality check.