Comment and Analysis

GLW Issue 1075

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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GLW Issue 1074

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.

GLW Issue 1073

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.

GLW Issue 1072

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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Negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) were finally completed in Atlanta on October 5. Final agreement on the treaty had been delayed for years as negotiating countries tried to protect their own industries while trying to gain market access in others.

The TPP was negotiated by countries on the Pacific Rim: the US, Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, Chile, Brunei, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Vietnam and Japan. These countries represent about 40% of global GDP.

This is part of a series of articles detailing the policies and platform the Socialist Alliance will be taking to the Federal election.

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For tens of thousands of years, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of this continent and its islands looked after the diverse ecosystems, developed complex languages and cultures, and traded among themselves and with visitors from overseas. They were strong, proud peoples.

The abrupt arrival of this year's bush fire season should be taken as another warning of the urgency of tackling the climate change crisis.

The El Nino phenomenon of severe droughts and flooding rains that will make this a more dangerous summer has been a part of longstanding weather patterns on the Australian continent. But research has shown that El Nino will double in frequency and severity as global warming increases.

About 50 people attended the Queensland Water Summit in Dalby on September 23. Despite its midweek timing, a wide range of people attended from across the state, including farmers threatened by increasingly severe drought and mining company pollution of their water sources, to community members, doctors and clergy from communities impacted by coal seam gas, underground coal gasification and coalmining.

The summit was organised and funded by independent Senator Glenn Lazarus, who spoke briefly but mostly listened to the concerns raised by attendees.

The United Nations Climate Change Conference will take place in Paris between November 30 and December 11. By the time it starts, 2015 is almost certain to have beaten last year as the warmest year ever.

This August has now been confirmed as the hottest August since records began in 1880. Other months this year that broke records were February, March, May, June and July.

While the whole globe — from polar regions to the equator — has experienced record-breaking high temperatures, a small part of the Earth has experienced the opposite. Scientists say both are indications of the dangerous affects of climate change.

In September, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that the first eight months of 2015 were the hottest ever recorded in the 135 years since records have been kept.