Comment and Analysis

GLW Issue 997

Australia’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of Australia, gets its powers from the Reserve Bank Act (1959). Its two primary functions are to ensure the stability of the currency and the provision of full employment.

Besides managing Australia’s gold and foreign exchange reserves, it supposedly meets these objectives by setting the cash rate to meet an agreed medium term inflation rate, which is now set at a target band of 2% to 3%.

There are some cynics who argue that Tony Abbott is a lying scumbag who wouldn't know the truth if it was tattooed on Rupert Murdoch's arse. Or, to put it another way, if it was right in front of his face.

But this is demonstratively false, because Abbott told us in his February 1 YouTube video “Delivering on Our Promises” that “not a single illegal boat has arrived since mid-December”.

Australia's latest official unemployment figures only confirmed what everyone already knew — jobs are being destroyed by the thousands.

The announcement of Toyota's plan to close down car-making, after a decision by General Motors Holden and Ford to do the same, dominated the headlines. But a host of other lesser known manufacturing companies are also shutting down.

An unemployment rate of 6% and rising is not as bad as in other parts of the world, but it doesn't tell the full story.

In its written submission to the four-yearly review of the award system, the federal government has called on the Fair Work Commission to introduce comprehensive changes that will include cuts to minimum award rates of pay and conditions.

GLW Issue 996

When the Black Power movement emerged in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane in the late 60s, thousands of Aboriginal people took to the streets demanding national uniform land rights legislation and recognition of our right to self-determination.

The establishment of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in 1972 further galvanised this groundswell of Black activism. Thousands of Aboriginal people converged on Brisbane to protest the ’82 Commonwealth Games, and then came the call for a Treaty.

Victoria’s scorching January heatwave has focused a lot of attention on the problem of coping with the immediate fallout from climate change.

According to the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, in the period January 13 to 23 there were 139 deaths in excess of the expected average. There were reports of homeless people being forced away from airconditioned areas as they sought relief from the relentless heat.

http://m.smh.com.au/victoria/anger-over-spike-in-deaths-during-record-vi...

As Green Left Weekly approaches its 1000th issue, more than 20 years after it first hit the streets, we will be looking back at some of the campaigns it has covered and its role as an alternative source of news.

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Green Left Weekly began its life in a time of war in the Middle East, increasing attacks on the environment — and the Hawke government’s Prices and Incomes Accord which lasted from 1983 until 1996.

If you want evidence that the corporate rich are turning “sustainable” into a dirty word, then consider the recent award won by Australian bank Westpac. At last month’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the bank was named the most sustainable company in the world.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) has approved plans to dump 3 million cubic metres of sand and mud in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
 
This waste will come from dredging the sea floor during construction of the Abbot Point coal terminal near Bowen and will be dumped about 25 kilometres away within the boundaries of the marine park.
 
Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt initially approved the proposal, before passing it on to the GBRMPA to make the final decision.
 

Well it's my first day back at work and already the year has started with the predictable attack on workers that usually accompanies conservative governments in their first term of office.

They always claim that unions are corrupt and should have special laws to prevent them from being involved in workplaces or politics.

Food giant Coca-Cola Amatil has threatened to close the SPC Ardmona fruit canning company in Victoria, unless the federal government and Victorian government give it $25 million each in assistance.

The company wants to spend $161 million on upgrading and restructuring its manufacturing facilities in Shepparton. If the plant is closed, about 3000 jobs in the Goulburn Valley, and many small orchard farms, would be lost.

In the third attack on the ABC by a government minister in the last month, Defence Minister David Johnston said on February 7 that reports that asylum seekers had their hands burned by navy personnel warrants an investigation into the national broadcaster.

"If ever there was an event that justified a detailed inquiry, some reform, an investigation of the ABC, this event is it," he said.

This follows comments by Prime Minister Tony Abbott on January 29 when he said the ABC “appears to take everyone’s side but Australia’s and I think it is a problem”.

The next time you see another arrogant Liberal or National Party politician repeat Joe Hockey’s mantra “the age of entitlement is over, and the age of personal responsibility has begun,” think of billionaire Gina Rinehart.

Rinehart, the richest person in Australia, inherited her fortune from her mining mogul father Lang Hancock, who once proposed that nuclear bombs be used get iron ore out of the ground in Western Australia.

“The age of entitlement is over,” Treasurer Joe Hockey has bluntly told the Australian people. Hockey, entitled to a six-figure pension every year when he retires, suggests we must learn to get on with less.

GLW Issue 995

People-powered media since 1991

On March 12 this year the 1000th issue of Green Left Weekly will be published. We are marking this significant milestone by launching a special fund appeal. The aim is to raise $100,000 in pledges and donations by March 12. These funds will ensure that Green Left Weekly continues as an independent source of news and analysis.

AMAZINGLY our readers and supporters took us over the target three weeks before our 1000th issue!

NSW Mining has sponsored a radio competition on one of Sydney’s top-rated breakfast shows, in which a listener has the chance to win $1 million if they register to be a “miner”.

The promotional poster for the competition, which features hosts Amanda Keller and Brendan Jones wearing miners’ hard hats, carries the slogan: “NSW Mining. Good for jobs. Good for Sydney’s economy.”

When registering, participants have the option to receive more information from NSW Mining.

A 40-year-old library assistant, Sally Kuether, was arrested and charged on January 24 under Queensland’s controversial anti-bikie laws.

She has been charged under new laws that prohibit more than two alleged bikies from meeting in public.

The mother-of-three met her partner Phillip Palmer and friend Ronald Germain at the Dayboro Hotel, north-west of Brisbane, on December 19. The ABC said they were supposedly “wearing club colours” and were “alleged associates of the Life And Death motorcycle club”.

In the first issue of Green Left Weekly for this year, we announced the campaign to raise $100,000 in pledges for GLW by its 1000th issue, due March 12.


 Congratulation messages for Green Left Weekly, 1000th issue celebration details, and more here.


Gunns Limited, the Launceston-based company that made a fortune turning Tasmanian forests into woodchips for Japanese papermakers, has had a long relationship with Tasmanian premiers and government ministers.

In 1989, the chairman of Gunns, Edmund Ruse, was convicted by a Royal Commission of trying to bribe Labor MP Jim Cox into crossing the floor to allow the pro-logging Liberal Party headed by Robin Gray to assume power.

As Green Left Weekly approaches its 1000th issue, more than 20 years after it first hit the streets, we will be looking back at some of the campaigns it has covered and its role as an alternative source of news.

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The first editorial of Green Left Weekly, urging the Bob Hawke government to not lift sanctions against South Africa until apartheid was completely dismantled, set the anti-racist tone of the paper.

The Socialist Alliance released this statement on January 31.

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The Socialist Alliance condemns the federal government's attempts to use allegations of criminality in the building and construction industry to launch a full-scale attack on the union movement.

Fairfax media and the ABC’s 7.30 raised the serious allegations of corruption, which relied on statements from a few individuals in the building industry, including a builder and a former employee of the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU).

The Abbott government has sunk to a new diplomatic low, with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop suggesting Israeli settlements should not be considered illegal.

Bishop made the comments during a visit to Israel. In a January 15 interview with the Times of Israel, she argued “the issue of settlements is absolutely and utterly fundamental to the negotiations that are under way and I think it’s appropriate that we give those negotiations every chance of succeeding”.

Sydney’s Botany Bay was named by Captain James Cook while he was investigating this “great Southern continent” for the British empire in 1770. His exploration led to the First Fleet’s settlement in the area on January 26, 1788, and the beginning of 226 years of massacres, dispossession and abuse of the land’s first people.

So the graffiti discovered along the western shoreline of the bay reading “Fuck Australia Day, no pride in genocide” and on the front of Captain Cook’s heritage cottage in Melbourne labelling January 26 “Australia’s shame” had a symbolic point to their messages.

So now reporting the news is Un-Australian.

This is the line from prime minister and proud Australian Tony Abbott, strongly backed by media owned by proud Australian and American-citizen-for-tax-purposes Rupert Murdoch, whose Daily Telegraph screamed on its January 30 front page, “PM brands ABC un-Australian: THE ABC OF TREACHERY.”

The day before, Abbott told Sydney shock jock Ray Hadley: “A lot of people feel at the moment that the ABC instinctively takes everyone's side but Australia's.”

The Communications Workers Union (CWU) has called for Australia Post to expand its services to include banking and insurance. The postal workers' union said this would help strengthen Australia Post as a public enterprise, while challenging the power of the big four banks and improving services in regional and rural areas.

The right-wing war on renewables is heating up as the Tony Abbott government announces yet another investigation into wind energy and health, and a review of the Renewable Energy Target.

GLW Issue 994

Many people gasped when they read that an Oxfam study found that the richest 85 people in the world own the same wealth as the poorest half of the global population.

It is shocking and unconscionable. It is grossly unfair and unjust. But it is much more than this. This unimaginable concentration of wealth condemns the liveability of the planet and makes permanent war inescapable – for how else but through ruthless violence can this wealth and power of the privileged few be maintained?

It has been a long and horrifying two months for refugees and asylum seekers seeking protection in Australia. Many new directives, plans and an increasingly brutal border control regime have led to a mounting crisis that legal experts are increasingly referring to as criminal.

Here are five ways the government have made the treatment of asylum seekers worse.

CLOSING DETENTION CENTRES IN AUSTRALIA TO EXPAND OFFSHORE

If one country plays host to the armed forces of another, it has either been invaded or invited the second country in.

If the latter, this is indicative of some level of inadequacy on the part of the first country; an inability to fully take care of itself — the classical colonial situation, in which the superior country offers an inferior one “protection” from some third power presenting a threat.

Does Australia need protection? The northern coast of Australia was attacked during World War II, so the nation is clearly vulnerable to a military offensive.

In recent weeks, federal education minister Christopher Pyne announced a review of the national curriculum.

The key purpose of Pyne’s review is to divert attention from the much-needed Gonski funding. Pyne believes that the widening gap in the educational performance of students from low socio-economic backgrounds is due to a low-grade politically correct national curriculum foisted upon them by the “cultural left”.