Analysis

A specially commissioned federal government report and a one-sided Ord River Irrigation Area (ORIA) discussion paper are being used in a continued drive to force Australian states to introduce genetically modified crops, with dissenting voices shoved aside.
Tony Carvalho, an Australian Manufacturing Workers Union metal division shop steward sacked from the Altona Toyota plant, says that in the three months since he has been sacked, the use of outside contractors to work at the plant has increased dramatically. Speaking to Green Left Weekly, Carvalho said the number of contractors who are being called in threatens full-time jobs at the plant.
Many working-class people in Western Australia are suffering the consequences of a “two-tier society” despite the state’s booming economy, the Socialist Alliance candidate for Pearce, Annolies Truman, told the party’s state conference on August 11.
For socialists, this August marks a significant anniversary. One hundred years ago, a congress of the Second — or Socialist — International took a bold stand in the struggle against capitalist war. The congress pointed the way toward the Russian Revolution of 1917 and provided an enduring guide for socialists’ anti-war activity.
The Howard government’s legislation for its “emergency” military-police intervention into Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory was rushed through the House of Representatives on August 7. MHRs were given less than 24 hours to read the 500-odd pages of legislation before being asked to vote on it.
Environmentalists around the country are gearing up to protest the world’s biggest climate criminals — US President George Bush and PM John Howard — who will be pushing their environmentally disastrous agenda at the September 8-9 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Sydney.
“Australia has failed to implement the human right to adequate housing”, concluded a report to the United Nations Human Rights Council addressing adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living.
The August 8 announcement of the Reserve Bank board’s decision to raise official interest rates by a further 0.25% focused renewed media attention on the non-affordability of housing. The interest rate rise — the fifth since the 2004 election and the ninth since 2002 — increased mortgage repayments for home owners with average mortgages by $50 a week, placing extra pressure on already stretched budgets.
Twenty years ago, a UN special commission produced a report, Our Common Future, that predicted rising CO2 levels would lead to a mean temperature increase of up to 4.5oC within 50 years, which would cause catastrophic climate change. The report proposed that immediate action be taken to counter global warming through massive investment in renewable energy sources, with the onus upon wealthy industrialised nations to take the lead.
On August 2, the federal government announced it would legislate to stop same-sex couples adopting a child from overseas. The move follows the landmark adoption of a boy by two gay men in Western Australia in June.

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