Analysis

The Australian government has recently come under fire for the inefficiency of its overseas aid programs, particularly in the Asia Pacific. The June 4 Sydney Morning Herald reported that more and more aid destined for the region was being lost in administrative costs or dished out to private corporations in the name of “development”.

The trial of the “Pine Gap Four” in Alice Springs is continuing with the Crown lawyer arguing that the jury should not be determining the reasonableness of the activists’ actions. Michael Maurice QC argued that, “Engaging in activities to disrupt the implementation of public policy can never be reasonable”.

Global warming, workers’ rights and opposition to the Iraq war are key campaigns this year, a Socialist Alliance state conference on May 19 decided.

Green Left Weekly is committed to social justice and environmental sustainability, speaks out against capitalism, and sides with the marginalised and oppressed. But it is silent on the plight of the most oppressed group of all — non-human animals, notably those exploited by the animal agriculture industry.

Having just visited Cuba — and as a former head of public health for the Perth east metropolitan region and former chairperson of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners — it was obvious to me that the 45-year US trade embargo against the island-state has seriously affected its ability to provide health services to its people.

The ALP deserves to be re-badged the “Anti-Labour Party” as historian Humphrey McQueen suggests, and the ALP’s public dressing down and forced resignation of Victorian Electrical Trade Union (ETU) secretary Dean Mighell reinforces this view.

Since federal ALP leader Kevin Rudd outlined Labor’s “Work Choices lite” on April 17 — promising that a Labor government would maintain the Coalition’s ban on strikes outside of bargaining periods and secret ballots — Labor’s full-scale retreat on industrial relations has continued.

Former Newcastle lord mayor Greg Heys died on June 5 after a massive heart attack.

Therese Rein has done very nicely under the Coalition government — particularly since its 1996 decision to privatise the Commonwealth Employment Service and set up a private Job Network to steamroll the unemployed into often underpaid and unrewarding jobs. From humble beginnings in Brisbane in 1989, Rein has built up an international employment business with an annual turnover of $175 million. She should be a poster child for the benefits of the Coalition’s privatisation drive for business, except that she is also the wife of federal Labor leader Kevin Rudd.

The following is an abridged version of the Beyond Zero Emissions stationary energy plan for the state of Victoria. It is reprinted with permission from MATTHEW WRIGHT of Beyond Zero Emissions, a non-profit, volunteer-run campaign set up under Sustainable Energy Future Inc. The full version can be read at http://www.beyondzeroemissions.org.

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