Fighting Fund

What is it with ex-state premiers and the finance industry?

First, Anna Bligh took on the leadership of the Australian Bankers Association (ABA), then Mike Baird moved to NAB in a senior executive role, and now Nathan Rees has become the national assistant secretary of the Finance Sector Union.

I wonder what the recently dumped federal Liberal health minister Sussan Ley’s private reaction was to former MP Bronwyn Bishop rushing to her defence over the expenses scandal?

In the wake of the shooting outside Parramatta police station — which left Curtis Cheng, a civilian police employee, and 15-year-old schoolboy Farhad Jabar dead — Parramatta mosque chairperson Neil El-Kadomia told the Daily Telegraph he was preparing to advise his congregation that “if you don’t like Australia, you should leave.” Australia's new, more silver-tongued PM raced to echo this sentiment, as did the no-serious-opposition leader Bill Shorten.
It seems you can’t turn around these days without having at least one of your senses assaulted by some form of advertising. It seems that is not about to change any time soon. In fact, judging by the amount of money that will be spent on advertising this year, things are about to get a lot worse.
Recently released data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows that the pay gap between men and women is the highest it has been since records began in 1994. On average, women earn 18.8% less than men for full-time work. The average full-time weekly earnings for men is $1587.50 while for women it is $298 less. The gap had been closing, and decreased to around 15% in 2005 but has since surpassed its 1994 level. One factor is that male-dominated industries pay more than female-dominated industries. Miners, who are 85% male, earn more than social workers, who are 77% female.
On February 11, the Australian Human Rights Commission’s (AHRC) report The Forgotten Children: National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention, was tabled in parliament. The report looked at the effect on children of being locked up in detention centres in Australia and Christmas Island but not Nauru. The report reveals that 34% of the children have mental health disorders so severe they need psychiatric support. This compares to 2% in the general population.
There has been plenty of analysis and navel gazing from the mainstream media in the wash-up from the Queensland elections. While some looked at the personalities, others looked for someone or something to blame. One commentator, Tom Elliott writing in the Herald Sun, laid the blame for the state of the political system on voters and suggested what he called "a benign dictatorship".
Green Left Weekly is now in full colour. The new colour look adds to the attractiveness of Australia's premiere weekly socialist newspaper. It is an important step forward as we seek to further expand our distribution, in a period when the need for progressive alternative sources of news and commentary in this country is more critical than ever. With the ABC and SBS under attack, and the domination of the Murdochracy in Australia's mass media increasing, it is crucial that people support the alternative media, especially Green Left Weekly.
While GLW was on its break over the New Year period, the news came that a snap election is to be held in Greece on January 25. GLW has been regularly reporting on the situation in Greece in recent years — the imposition of vicious austerity measures by the European Union and the Greek government and the rising popularity of the left-wing coalition SYRIZA. As the election approaches, polls put SYRIZA in the lead. It is likely to win, though may have to enter a coalition in order to form government.
We can count on Prime Minister Tony Abbott to add insult to injury. In front of the world at the G20 Summit in Brisbane, he arrogantly regurgitated the racist colonial fiction — repudiated in law by the High Court in the famous Mabo case in 1992 — that Australia was an empty land before the European colonial invasion.

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