Comment and Analysis

GLW Issue 1028

By the mid-1880s, all of the Australian colonies had passed education Acts based on the principal of “free, compulsory and secular” education. This mirrored similar legislation in Britain where the Factory Act of 1833 had made it unlawful for children under nine years of age to be employed in textile factories.

In 1878, the Factory and Workshops Act extended this to all factories and limited the working hours of children under 14 years of age.

The Who Pays for our Common Wealth report into tax contributions by the S&P ASX 200, Australia’s 200 top stockmarket listed companies, has found that 84% of them paid less than the company tax rate of 30% in the period between 2004 and 2013. This amounts to $80 billion in forgone taxation revenue.

Last week the federal government released its first evaluation of how its controversial income management policy has fared in five locations where the scheme was introduced in July 2012.

This discriminatory government policy, which allows for Centrelink clients to have their payments quarantined and restricts how they can spend their money, has also been been explored in two recent government reports that have proposed extending the scheme.

There are times when farce and living caricature almost consume the cynicism and mendacity in the daily life of Australia's rulers.

Across the front pages is a photograph of a resolute Tony Abbott with Aboriginal children in Arnhem Land, in Australia’s remote north. "Domestic policy one day," says the caption, "focus on war the next."

Below is the first part of a statement initially released by Socialist Alliance in Australia on September 24 and updated on October 4. In Sydney, on Friday morning (October 10), members of the community will a protest fast in Sydney Town Hall Square from 9am.

See also:
Sydney solidarity with Kurdish struggle (PHOTO STORY)

GLW Issue 1027

Sean Brocklehurst is running as a candidate for the Socialist Alliance in the November 29 Victorian election. This is a speech he gave at the election launch on September 20.


We are here because we want to see change in Victoria. We want to see community need put before corporate greed. Victoria is going in the wrong direction. It is being run by and for the corporate elite and not in the interests of ordinary people.

More than six years ago, 21-year-old Australian backpacker Jock Palfreeman was walking home with friends after a night out in Sofia, Bulgaria, when he saw a group of 15 men attacking two others. The next morning he was in a police cell — accused of “unprovoked murder” and “hooliganism”. Held without bail, he was convicted two years later and sentenced to 20 years jail.

If you’re an Australian citizen, you have a greater chance of being killed by the following causes than you do by a terrorist attack: slipping in the bathtub and hitting your head; contracting a lethal intestinal illness from the next dinner you eat at a restaurant; being struck by lightning.

In the post-9/11 era, there has been no terrorist attack carried out on Australian soil: not one. The attack that most affected Australians was the 2002 bombing of a nightclub in Bali which killed 88 of its citizens; that was 12 years ago.

Criminal lawyer Rob Stary has represented many people accused under Australian “counter-terror” laws. Green Left Weekly’s Karen Fletcher spoke to him about the police raids in Sydney and Brisbane on September 18.


Last week you commented that the raids gave you a sense of “deja-vu”. What is repeating here?

Susan Austin gave this speech at the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart on September 21 as part of a global day of action on climate change. She is a member of Climate Action Hobart.


UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon called a special Climate Summit at United Nations Headquarters in New York City on September 23. Shamefully, Tony Abbott will not be there, even though he will be in New York the next day for a security meeting. The security of our future is at stake due to climate change but he, and many of our other political and business leaders, is ignoring that.

It is a sadly familiar story: More death, pain and terror for the many translates into large profits for giant weapons making corporations.

“Led by Lockheed Martin, the biggest US defence companies are trading at record prices as shareholders reap rewards from escalating military conflicts around the world, reported Richard Clough from Bloomberg News on September 25.

Socialist Alliance in Victoria released the sttement below on September 25.


Authorities have inundated the media with “leaks” to portray Numan Haider, shot dead outside a police station in Endeavour Hills on September 23, as a terrorist in the making.

In the past few weeks we have been subjected to a media frenzy. The early morning police raids on homes in suburban Sydney and Brisbane on September 18, resulting in 15 people being detained without charge and two arrests, was orchestrated to create a climate of fear of looming “terrorist” attacks and set the scene for the federal government’s security crackdown.

The latest raft of “anti-terror” legislation will severely limit civil rights and comes in the context of Australian forces being committed to a new war in Iraq.

GLW Issue 1026

In the past five years the global bee population has been devastated. This matters because they are critical to the food chain, pollinating 70% of our food either directly or indirectly. Besides pollinating vegetables, fruits and nuts, they also pollinate the lucerne that feeds our cattle and cotton that makes our clothes.

The US lost 60% of its bee population in 2012 and then another 40% last year. The European wild honey bees have all but disappeared.

More than 800 police carried out simultaneous raids on houses in Sydney and Brisbane on September 18. Fifteen people were detained as a result, but only two were charged.

The high profile police raid – coordinated with the media – has been described as the “nation’s biggest counter terrorism operation in history”. It comes one week before the government plans to bring anti-democratic “terror laws” to a vote in parliament and as troops are deployed for a new Iraq war.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has committed Australia to join the US’s latest military intervention in the Middle East. About 600 Australian military personnel and aircraft operating from a base in the United Arab Emirates will join US forces in bombing Islamic State forces in Iraq and assisting the Kurdistan Regional Government with weapons and training.


It appears that the much-talked up budget crisis has disappeared because Tony Abbott’s government is spending big on war.

The Coalition government has quickly allocated half a billion dollars a year to join the new war on Iraq by another US-led “coalition of the willing”, or — if we call it what it is — a “coalition for the killing”.

The ABC's 7.30 program said on September 15 that the Australian government has "invested a billion dollars buying into a state-of-the-art military satellite system".

The High Court ruled on September 11 that an asylum seeker given a temporary visa should be allowed to apply for permanent protection. It said that immigration minister Scott Morrison's issuing of a form of temporary protection visa to a Rohingya man was "invalid".

The court said an asylum seeker can only be detained for the purpose of removing them from the country, assessing whether to grant them a permanent visa, or assessing whether to allow them to apply for a visa to live in Australia.

Refugee Council of Australia President Phil Glendenning told a forum on September 15 that refugees sent from Australia back to Afghanistan by the John Howard government have been killed.

The Refugee Action Coalition organised the forum called “Stop Deportations — Why Afghanistan is not safe”, which also heard from Hazara Youth Perspectives Organisation organiser Sabira Naseri.

The Disability Services Commission (DSC) in Western Australia announced last October that it planned to privatise 60% of its accommodation and early childhood intervention services, relinquish its status as a registered training organisation and dismantle its learning and development arm.

At the same time it abolished its Community Development Directorate, dissolved its Post School Options section and made its staff in the Community and Family Living team redundant.

GLW Issue 1025

The Coalition government in Victoria has disregarded public opposition and transparency and named a Lend Lease consortium to carry out phase one of the $6-8 billion East West Link toll road.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has called a special Climate Summit at United Nations Headquarters in New York City on September 23.

This meeting, which is in addition to the annual UN Climate Change Conferences within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, is intended to “mobilize action and ambition on climate change”. Because this event will take place during the annual UN General Assembly meeting, Ban can expect a large number of heads of state to attend, as well as the “business, finance, civil society and local leaders” that he has invited.

With news that the unlikely climate conscience of the Palmer United Party is holding firm, it appears that the Renewable Energy Target (RET) and associated programs will not be scrapped just yet. But the uncertainty of what will happen in the long term may be enough to bring large-scale wind and solar projects to a standstill.

I am the Socialist Alliance candidate for Geelong in the upcoming state elections.

I am a 24-year-old Gordon TAFE student living on youth allowance and for that reason my candidacy may not be taken seriously by the media and the other candidates, but it is for that exact reason I am running in the state elections.

Young people do not have a voice in this country or in our state. We are one of the first groups to be targeted so that our government can “balance the budget” and one of the groups most affected by the cuts to welfare, education, health, and housing.

Members of the Aboriginal community, faith-based groups, unionists, welfare activists, and others gathered at the State Administration Centre in Adelaide on September 9 to oppose a proposal to expand income management in South Australia.

Labor Premier Jay Weatherill has announced he would “offer the broadest possible support” to all 27 of billionaire Andrew Forrest's recommendations in his Indigenous Employment and Training Review. This would include Forrest's controversial proposal to dramatically expand income management to all working-age Centrelink clients, or 2.5 million people.

Every day, Manus Island detainees negotiate rocky ground strewn with coral, rotting shower blocks and “filthy” living conditions.

They do this mostly in rubber thongs. A cut foot is likely, septicemia possible and a heart attack followed by a coma and brain death?

Wait a minute, let’s go back.

I often wish this government would cut the crap and just admit it governs for the rich and is determined to shift as much wealth as possible into their hands. We'd be saved their mind-boggling attempts at “logic”.

Like their argument that we have a budget emergency, so we must absolutely take action now or our children and our children's children and our children's children's children will all die horrific deaths from starvation, so that is why we must abolish the mining tax.

Where will you be on Sunday, September 21 when people all around the world plan to make their voices heard as the UN climate summit begins in New York City?

Environmental groups, trade unions, religious organisations and even some businesses have been building what is hoped will be the biggest ever people's march for climate change action.

The streets of New York will be flooded with people demanding a global agreement to dramatically reduce global warming pollution.

The bust the budget campaign stands at a crossroads right now. Although the federal government has succeeded in ramming some of its harsh austerity measures through parliament, there are large parts of the budget which are still held up in the Senate — largely due to the public hostility to these cutbacks.

GLW Issue 1024

A 24 year-old Iranian asylum seeker, Hamid Khazaei, who was flown from Manus Island to Brisbane in a medical emergency on August 27, was declared “brain dead” on September 1. His life support was switched off and he died on September 5.

The Refugee Action Coalition in Sydney reported: “By the time Hamid was sent to Brisbane, he was suffering septicaemia from an infection spreading from a cut foot and went directly into intensive care in the Mater hospital. He had sought medical attention for days on Manus Island for the pain and the infection.