Comment and Analysis

On the strength of a claimed turnover of $1 billion, the Australian Financial Review reported in early February 1978: “At this sort of growth rate Nugan Hand will soon be bigger than BHP.”

But two years later, on January 27, 1980, one of the bank's two founders, Frank Nugan, was found dead near Lithgow in NSW from a gunshot wound to the head. An inquest found it was suicide. Meanwhile, the other founder of the bank, Michael Hand, was busy shredding documents, including “files identifying clients regarded as sensitive”.

The federal government has now spent $1.22 billion on its “Direct Action” policy that is supposed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions but will actually allow them to increase.

The results of the government's second round of emissions reverse auctions under the Direct Action scheme were released on November 12, revealing that the Clean Energy Regulator had paid $557 million to companies in return for emissions cuts of 45 million tonnes of CO₂. The first auction, in April this year, spent $660 million to buy 47.3 million tonnes.

The use of the drug ice in Australia is said to be at “epidemic'' levels. There is nothing new in this claim for both Australia and much of the rest of the world.

Epidemics have accompanied the use and misuse of stimulants from the late-19th century. John Rainford traces that history in this three-part series.

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By the latter decades of the 19th century, mass production and an emphasis on speed had signalled the start of modernity.

Walk Together marches were held in cities and regional centres around Australia on October 31 as a celebration of diversity.

The aim of the marches was to present a picture to Australia's political leaders and media of a different Australia — one that is known for its compassion and generosity. Caroline de Costa gave this speech at the Cairns rally.

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The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealed on September 18 that Volkswagen (VW) diesel engines had been fitted with software enabling them to flout US engine emissions standards for nitrous oxides. That has precipitated a crisis in one of the vital structures of world capitalism.

A perfect storm is emerging, jeopardising the entire automotive/industrial/financial complex that propelled world capitalism from the end of World War II until recently.

In our “A World to Win” series, Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance seeks to give voice to the ideas and demands of radical young people involved in the struggle to make the world a better place.

In this week's article, Jacob Andrewartha argues for universal quality healthcare for all.

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Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: "Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services”.

As the pantomime that is the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption, stumbles to its conclusion at the end of the year, figures released by the Australia Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on October 27 reveal a 2% drop in union membership to 15% of the workforce.

According to the ABS report, in August last year 1.6 million people were members of trade unions in their main job.


Peter Boyle speaking at World Kobanê Day rally, Sydney, November 1.

Peter Boyle gave this speech on behalf of Socialist Alliance at the Sydney rally for World Kobanê Day on November 1.

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I am here to bring you greetings from the Socialist Alliance and the progressive newspaper Green Left Weekly.

The Central Intelligence Agency was set up in 1947 as the key agency for US Cold War operations. From its inception, it intervened in the trade union movement and workers' political parties throughout much of the world, including Australia.

One of the first post-World War II US policy objectives was to counter the newly-formed World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) to which the Australian union movement was affiliated through the ACTU.

This is an edited version of the speech given by Jackie Kriz, the president of Geelong Trades Hall Council, at the Geelong Reclaim the Night rally on October 31.

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I would like to thank the women of Reclaim the Night collective who, with support from Geelong Trades Hall, have worked tirelessly for months to organise this rally.

Carol Hucker worked in Manus Island detention centre as a counsellor for International Health and Medical Services (IHMS) and as a case worker for the Salvation Army from June 2013 to July last year.

She has allowed Green Left Weekly to publish her account so that people can become more aware of what is happening in Australia's offshore detention centres.

She said: “It is my hope that through this brief account the men on Manus will not be forgotten.”

This is the last part of a multi-part series and covers her time there in June and July 2014.

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In our “A World to Win” series, Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance seeks to give voice to the ideas and demands of radical young people involved in the struggle to make the world a better place.

In this week's article, Stanley Blair argues that the international border system exacerbates the injustice of capitalism and that we need open borders.

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Around the world, political discussion has become increasingly concerned with immigration. The Australian establishment has been a world leader in immigration scaremongering for the past decade.

Gas miner Metgasco's surprise announcement on November 2 that it was recommending its shareholders accept a $25 million payout for its three remaining exploration licences in NSW's Northern Rivers, near Lismore, was celebrated right across the state.

Anti-fracking campaigners, who have worked hard for more than three years, educating, organising and mobilising communities against the industry, are very relieved.

When it was revealed last month that Malcolm Turnbull has significant investments in the Caribbean tax haven of the Cayman Islands, I'll admit I felt some relief. At least our prime minister appeared committed to helping someone's economy, even if It was just a banking system once described by Barack Obama as “the biggest tax scam on record”.

The Age published a comment piece on October 26, called “Australia, we need to talk about the way we speak”. Author Dean Frenkel, lecturer in public speaking and communications, argued the Australian accent developed when “our forefathers regularly got drunk together and through their frequent interactions added an alcoholic slur to our national speech patterns”.

In yet another policy continuity with Tony Abbott, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is considering raising the goods and services tax (GST).

Once again, this shows the government acting in the interests of big corporations and the super rich against the interests of ordinary people.

The simple truth is that the GST is an unfair tax. Poor people pay a higher proportion of their income in GST than rich people.

Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance (RYSA) released the following statement on October 27 in support of the Fossil Free UTas occupation.

The following day Fossil Free UTas announced that they were ending the occupation and restarting negotiations after two days of productive meetings with the university management.

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It is rare that a critical article on Australia's military spending appears in one of the corporate newspapers but on October 25, the Melbourne Age published such an article by senior correspondent Daniel Flitton entitled “Does Australia's military need such tentacles of defence?”.

Flitton argued that while Australian governments have “talked the good talk of regional co-operation and engagement for decades” their “staggering shopping list of new military hardware was signalling a very different message to the region.

Several polls show that the new PM — and by extension, the Coalition — is very popular. Explaining Malcolm Turnbull's high approval rating is relatively easy: it is not too hard to be more popular than the hated Tony Abbott and Labor has long since given up on being an opposition.

According to Newspoll, Fairfax-Ipsos, Roy Morgan and Essential Research, Turnbull's numbers keep improving, even after 6 weeks in office. Depending on which poll you look at, Turnbull's approval is either Mr 52%, Mr 53% or Mr 68%.

The recent knifing of Tony Abbott by Malcolm Turnbull held a brief glimpse of hope for marriage equality in Australia. Unfortunately, the change of PM did not bring any change of policy, and the Liberal Party’s homophobic agenda has remained the same.

Turnbull professes to personally support marriage equality, but has asked the rainbow community to wait for a plebiscite until after the federal elections. This amounts to a position worse than Abbott who was dragged kicking and screaming to agree to a plebiscite together with the elections.

The National Union of Workers released this statement on October 23.

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Recently the Victorian Trades Hall Council passed a resolution that included this statement: “That VTHC celebrates the contribution to our community from Victorians of many cultures and many faiths. There is no place in Victoria for discrimination or racism and we deplore those who would demonise any group by reason of their faith, race or culture.

The Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid held a speak-out for Palestine in Melbourne on October 23. Among the demands were: end Israeli occupation now; dismantle Israeli apartheid; tear down the apartheid wall; lift the siege on Gaza; and end extrajudicial killings.

Speakers called on the Australian government to cut all ties with Israel and spoke in support of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign.

Feminist author and career academic Germaine Greer has sparked outrage once again following a controversial interview she gave to the BBC on October 24 where she reaffirmed her position that transgender women are not “real” women.

Greer's devolution from an ideological pillar of the 1960's women's liberation movement to a source of loathing for sections of the feminist community needs to be discussed. Her comments provide an important opportunity for putting forward a clear argument against trans-exclusionary feminism.

Carol Hucker worked in Manus Island Detention Centre as a counsellor for International Health and Medical Services (IHMS) and as a case worker for the Salvation Army from June 2013 to July last year.

She has allowed Green Left Weekly to publish her account so that people can become more aware of what is happening in Australia’s offshore detention centres.

She said: “It is my hope that through this brief account the men on Manus will not be forgotten.”

This is the eight part of a multi-part series and covers her time there in June and July 2014.

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu raised the odd eyebrow when he insisted in an October 20 speech that Adolf Hitler had no plans to exterminate Jews until convinced to do so by a Palestinian — the then-Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini.

The German government immediately responded by pointing out that “all Germans” know their nation was responsible, which must have made for an odd phone call: “Is that Mr Netanyahu? Yes, hi, Germany here. Ah, we just wanted to … um ... this is a bit awkward but ... you know that whole Holocaust thing? Yeah? That was us.

Ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference scheduled for December in Paris, federal resources minister Josh Frydenberg has sought to invoke “a strong moral case” to justify his government's green lighting of the Carmichael mega-coalmine in the Galilee Basin.

However, his argument is as spurious as the economic justifications made by Adani and federal and Queensland governments in support of the project.

The new federal energy minister Josh Frydenberg has affirmed that the Turnbull-led government will not budge from policies that afford maximum profits to the outdated and dangerous fossil fuel corporations.

Most people think that democracy and elections are pretty much the same thing. The truth is that any meaningful push for genuine democracy would require a lot more than just electoral reform.

The change of prime minister from Tony Abbott to Malcolm Turnbull shows that a change of leader means very little in terms of actual policy change. And this is not because the policies they push are popular.

We need a change of government: not just a change from the Liberals to Labor, but a change from corporate power to people power.

Domestic violence — or intimate partner violence — represents an increasingly visible crisis in Australia today. Yet policy makers and opinion shapers continue to deny that the system, which profits from sexism and misogyny, is responsible for perpetrating it. Instead, they blame individuals.

This year, two women have been killed every week — double the rate compared to 2014. One in four women will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime. For women aged between 15 and 44 years' old, domestic violence is the leading cause of death, illness and disability.

New revelations shed light on the cruelty being inflicted on refugees in Australia's offshore detention centres. They come just days after the Department of Immigration and Border Protection sent a pregnant Somali refugee woman back to Nauru where she had been raped.

Abyan, as she is known, was transferred to Villawood detention centre on October 11 from Nauru where she was going to speak with doctors about her desire for a termination.

Foreign journalists are not welcome in Nauru. This is because of the erosion of rule of law and national sovereignty that has occurred as a result of the tiny and impoverished nation's government hiring out the island as a location for one of Australia's concentration camps for refugees.

The point of locating the camps on remote Pacific Islands is so that the deliberate ill-treatment of refugees — which is what “deterrence” means — can happen out of sight and beyond the meagre protection of Australian law.

The onset of the Global Financial Crisis can be dated to July 2007, when two Bear Stearns hedge funds holding almost US$10 billion in mortgage-backed securities collapsed. That same month, bankers at Lehman Brothers paid themselves $US5.7 billion in bonuses.

Little more than a year later, Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy with debts of $US613 billion. It was the largest bankruptcy in history.

The latest World Bank Global Monitoring Report boasted that only 9.6% of the world's population — 702 million people — are forecast to be living in extreme poverty in 2015, 200 million fewer than in 2012. And this even with the WB now raising its official poverty line from the 2008 US$1.25 a day level to US$1.90.

WB president Jim Yong Kim declared that the world has a good chance of ending extreme poverty by 2030.

The global refugee crisis has its roots in the wars waged by global powers for resources and territory. These conflicts have left millions of people displaced and driven hundreds of thousands to seek safety and protection in countries like Australia.

Increasingly, climate change is becoming a second front of the refugee crisis as global food supplies are ravaged and sea level rises threaten the populations of island nations.

In our “A World to Win” series, Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance seeks to give voice to the ideas and demands of radical young people involved in the struggle to make the world a better place.

This week, Leela Ford discusses why education should be free.

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The right to education is inscribed in the United Nations' Universal Declaration on Human Rights. It states that primary, secondary and university education should be as accessible as possible to all human beings.

Carol Hucker worked in Manus Island Detention Centre as a counsellor for International Health and Medical Services (IHMS) and as a case worker for the Salvation Army from June 2013 to July last year.

She has allowed Green Left Weekly to publish her account so that people can become more aware of what is happening on Manus Island.

She said: “It is my hope that through this brief account the men on Manus will not be forgotten.”

This is the seventh part of a multi-part series and covers her time on Christmas Island in April and May 2014.

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Having appointed himself Prime Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, then PM Tony Abbott went about cutting more than $500 million from Aboriginal services funding in the 2014 budget. The cuts formed part of a plan to consolidate existing government-funded Aboriginal affairs programs into its “Indigenous Advancement Strategy” (IAS).

In March this year, Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion announced that nearly 1000 organisations would receive a share of the $860 million up for grabs in the first round of IAS funding. This money is going to finance 1297 projects.

In our “A World to Win” series, Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance activists speak on issues that affect young people. This week, Emma Fields discusses the right to free, decent housing for all.

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When the Universal Declaration of Human Rights talks about “standard of living adequate for health and well-being”, it means suitable access to food, clothing, housing and medical care.

This week Parramatta found itself the shocking scene of terror — the sort of thing you might expect in foreign nations, but which many Australians surely believed would never happen on our streets.

Carol Hucker worked in Manus Island Detention Centre as a counsellor for International Health and Medical Services (IHMS) and as a case worker for the Salvation Army from June 2013 to July last year.

She has allowed Green Left Weekly to publish her account so that people can become more aware of what is happening on Manus Island. She said: “It is my hope that through this brief account the men on Manus will not be forgotten.”

This is the sixth part of a multi-part series and covers February 2014.

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