Comment and Analysis

The results of the non-binding voluntary survey on same-sex marriage will be announced on November 15.

Irrespective of the outcome, we will need to continue to fight not only to achieve marriage equality but to combat the right's bigotry.

The following speech was given by Socialist Alliance Sydney branch organiser Peter Boyle to the 100 years since the Balfour Declaration symposium organised by the Palestine National Corporation in Australia, in Lakemba on November 3.

The Australian operations of mining giant Glencore have been implicated in the Paradise Papers revelations – the largest leak of documents in history.

The Paradise Papers show that Glencore was involved in currency swaps of up to $25 billion between the Bermuda-based and Australian-based arms of its company.

While theoretically "legal”, these types of swaps are being investigated by the Australian Tax Office under suspicion they may be used to avoid tax by shuttling interest payments from high-tax nations to low-tax jurisdictions.

Seven facts about the crisis in the Manus Island detention centre that the media refuse to report.

I had considered the racist abuse hurled at Labor Senator Sam Dastyari to be a deliberate publicity stunt by a group of neo-Nazis, enabled by a climate of rising bigotry and white nationalism, on the grounds that they deliberately sought out the senator, filmed their racist abuse and posted it on Facebook.

That was before Pauline Hanson explained otherwise. The senator, campaigning in Queensland, pointed out that Dastyari was just using abuse he faced in a pub on November 8 to sell his book.

The crisis is deepening on Manus Island. The 600 men remaining at the former regional processing centre compound are being starved out, deprived of medical aid and having fences taken down around them as Green Left Weekly goes to print. Notices have been posted at the centre saying that if the men do not vacate, they will be removed by force.

Multinational corporations are using tax havens to avoid paying tax and the filthy rich are getting richer. Paradise Papers, Panama Papers, billionaire capers – what’s new? This stuff has been going on for yonks.

One hundred years ago this month, workers, peasants and soldiers in Russia overthrew the corrupt government that had led the country into a disastrous war and established the Soviet Socialist Republic. 

It seemed that, for once, the people had won. Socialism had gone from theoretical possibility to practical reality.

The Socialist Alliance is running in the November 25 Queensland state elections to help build an anti-capitalist alternative to the two-party system. We are also supporting the re-election of progressive independent MP Rob Pyne in Cairns and calling for a vote for the Greens in other seats.

I believe we’re going to win this postal survey and, probably after some period of delay from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, we will win marriage equality too.

And when we do, Turnbull is going to want us to remember him as the prime minister who gave us marriage equality.

So let’s put something on the record: This community was never given anything by Malcolm Turnbull and the Coalition.

The Fremantle local council elections on October 21 pitted largely conservative challengers against progressive incumbents, including Socialist Alliance member Sam Wainwright and Greens Mayor Brad Pettitt, both of whom had come under fire for the council’s decision to not celebrate Australia Day on January 26.

Both were returned with 55% of the vote, with progressive candidates defeating conservative opponents in all wards. Green Left Weekly spoke to Wainwright about the outcome

Lidia Gunnai-Gunditj Thorpe is a Gunnai-Gunditjmara woman living on Wurundjeri Country in Melbourne’s north and the Greens candidate in the November 18 byelection for the Victorian state seat of Northcote.

Comfortably held by Labor since it was created in 1927, the seat of Northcote has seen a surge in support for the Greens in recent years. Some polls are indicating that Thorpe is on track to take the seat with a primary vote of about 40%.

The jingoistic festivities to mark the centenaries of the Battle of Beersheba (in present day Israel, October 31, 1917) and the Balfour Declaration (November 2, 1917) are being accompanied by an orgy of myth-making.

They mendaciously promote the story that Australia, through its mythological role in the battle with the Australian Light Horse Brigade, led to the foundation of the State of Israel.

Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison has ramped up calls for tax cuts to big business in an October 24 speech to launch the Productivity Commission's latest report.

Morrison claims corporate tax cuts are "an urgent matter" now that conservative governments in the United States, Britain and France are moving to slash big business taxes. Australia risks becoming an "uncompetitive tax island" if it does not follow suit, Morrison claimed.

This speech was given by Rachel Evans at an action called by the Queer Undergraduate Action Collective (QUAC) calling on the University of Sydney's Vice-Chancellor Michael Spence to support the Yes campaign for marriage equality.

* * *

My name is Rachel Evans and I helped kickstart the marriage equality campaign in 2004. Last year, I was the queer Office Bearer with Sydney University Postgraduate Representative Association (SUPRA).

It seems that every other month we have another parliamentary inquiry into the banks. With so many regular appearances you’d think it would start to get boring.

There was a celebratory mood on social media when the High Court ruled on October 27 that Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce was ineligible to sit in parliament.

The government has lost its one seat majority and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's over-confident prediction that government politicians would be safe has been shown to be partisan bluster.

Right wing buffoon Malcolm Roberts has been kicked out of the Senate along with Deputy Leader of the National Party Fiona Nash.

I don’t know if an opinion poll has ever been done, but a sizeable portion of Australians, perhaps a majority, recognise that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people had their land invaded by the British and experienced a systematic genocide.

The fact that this is widely recognised is reflected in the huge protests in response to threats to close remote Aboriginal communities and the response to Warriors of Aboriginal Resistance’s call-out for protests. Even back in 1988, there were 100,000 people protesting the so-called Bicentenary in Sydney.

After the defeat in the Federal Court of his bid to ban mobile phones in offshore immigration detention centres, Minister for Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) Peter Dutton is trying another strategy to subvert the court’s August ruling.

Mobile phones are already prohibited in onshore immigration detention centres and on Christmas Island for refugees who tried to come to Australia by boat.

If the National Broadband Network (NBN) is becoming a “calamitous train wreck”, as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull claimed on October 23, then the fault lies with him.

He was the minister for communications in the Tony Abbott Coalition government who, in 2013, oversaw the disastrous decision to fundamentally change the NBN from Labor’s fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP) model to a technologically obsolete fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) system. At the time, Abbott apparently wanted to “kill the NBN” entirely.

The decision by the Australian Football League (AFL) to refuse to allow transgender woman Hannah Mouncey to nominate for the Australian Football League Women (AFLW) draft has drawn widespread criticism as a reflection of the AFL’s lack of real commitment to inclusion.

As we go to press, the federal employment minister Michaelia Cash is being hounded — rightly — for yet another gross breach of her parliamentary office.

While Cash continues to deny she has done anything wrong, one of her staffers has resigned for allegedly tipping off the corporate media on October 24 that the Australian Federal Police (AFP) were about to raid the Melbourne and Sydney offices of the Australian Workers Union (AWU).

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) raids on the Melbourne and Sydney offices of the Australian Workers Union (AWU) on October 24 show the state is becoming more authoritarian at a time when more people are disengaging from politics as usual.

A new report, entitled Don’t send me that pic, has reaffirmed what most women and girls already knew: sexual abuse and harassment are incessant, it starts young and it is on the rise.

Commissioned by Plan Australia and Our Watch, the survey collected responses from 600 girls and young women aged 15–19 across Australia.

Finally, the federal government has a policy for the electricity sector: the National Energy Guarantee. (NEG. Did it think this one through?)

It is, effectively, an emissions trading scheme applied to electricity. It is similar to other schemes — the Clean Energy Target (CET) and the Emissions Intensity Scheme (EIS) — supported by Labor.

It is approaching crunch time for the Adani mega-coalmine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin, with the movement against it growing by the day, including in areas that traditionally support mining.

Seven years after he launched a ground-breaking study showing how Australia could re-power with 100% renewable energy by 2020, Malcolm Turnbull, now Prime Minister, has announced a “National Energy Guarantee” (NEG) policy that will have no renewable energy target.

In public debate “the thin end of the wedge” — the notion that once made, any penetration of the status quo will inevitably be followed by something greater — is an idiom invoked almost exclusively in the negative. It is an insufferable refrain of the perpetually fearful, the racist, the homophobic, the xenophobic, the Islamophobic, and the climate change-phobic.

It is one of former Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s favourite lines.

The High Court ruled on October 18 by a 6:1 majority in favour of Bob Brown and Jessica Hoyt’s challenge to the validity of a Tasmanian anti-protest law. The decision is a significant win for forestry and public-interest activists, although it does not go as far as some may have hoped.

The court found the Tasmanian law was unbalanced and unreasonable. However, it affirmed the right of parliaments to target protesters who interfere with business operations.

In the wake of US film producer and former studio executive Harvey Weinstein’s outing as a sexual predator, who infamously preyed on young actresses, the hashtag #MeToo, which women are sharing to say that they too have experienced sexual assault or harassment, is now trending as an international discussion ensues about sexual violence and power.

So far more than 12 million women have shared the hashtag.

Poverty is everywhere — in cities, towns and the bush across Australia: shivering people sleeping in doorways or cars; ragged people hanging around shopping centres begging for money or food; overstretched private welfare agencies unable to meet the requests for assistance; people turned away from emergency accommodation; and abused women and children turned away from refuges.

But those are only the most visible signs of poverty. The true extent of the poverty crisis is hidden.

Changes to Victoria’s rental laws have been described by campaign group Make Renting Fair as “a significant step in the right direction”. However, spokesperson Mark O’Brien said more changes are needed because the state still “lacks adequate safeguards against eviction”.

More than 50 community services, local governments and others have been working for nearly a year, under the Make Renting Fair banner, to push the government to change the Residential Tenancies Act (RTA).

The decision by state and territory leaders at the recent Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting to give the federal government real time access to data, including driver's licences, is the latest measure likely to undermine civil liberties in the government’s so-called war on terror.

While the marriage equality campaign is currently focused on maximising a Yes response in the national survey, supporters of marriage equality and of LGBTI rights more generally need to look beyond the horizon of the survey itself.

This is because a majority Yes in the survey will not definitively resolve the question of marriage equality and because there are many other challenges facing the LGBTI community, particularly around legal rights.

Ahead of to the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference, Australia’s Big Four banks made public commitments to take action on climate change.

Tony Abbott reckons a bit of global warming could be a good thing, especially if it comes with capitalist prosperity.

He’s checked a few pics of his local Manly Beach and has seen no signs of sea level rises (the islands that have already disappeared beneath the South Pacific being, conveniently, beyond the horizon).

So declared George Orwell’s allegorical Joseph Stalin, Napoleon the Berkshire Boar, in his 1945 classic Animal Farm. In Australia, we’ve declared war on some inequalities, like those contained in the Marriage Act, while we acquiesce to, tolerate, ignore or accept many others. Just like the animals on Orwell’s Manor Farm, in contemporary Australia, it seems all inequalities are equal but some are more equal than others.

Fluctuating poll results indicate that the imminent Queensland election is an open contest between the Annastacia Palaszczuk Labor government and the Liberal National Party (LNP) opposition. Strong campaigns by the Greens and One Nation could also see newcomers into the state parliament from both left and right.

Activists from all over Australia travelled to be part of the week of frontline action against Adani coalmine. Green Left Weekly spoke to Juliette from Gympie in Queensland and asked her thoughts on the protest.

"I have come up to join all these amazing, strong, empowered people to show my opposition to the Adani coalmine because I really care about our planet, I care about our future.

The Victorian Labor government plans to sell off inner city public land, which currently houses more than 2000 public housing tenants, to property developers. Under the misnamed Public Housing Renewal Plan, the government will give property developers access to land that is currently used for public housing.

This plan involves the forced removal of tenants and the demolition of nine or more public housing estates across Melbourne. Many residents have lived on the estates for many years and do not want to leave.

Pages