Anti-privatisation

Since November 21, people have mobilised across Colombia to reject President Iván Duque’s anti-people and neoliberal policies.

On November 27, hundreds of thousands of students, teachers, workers and members of feminist, human rights, Indigenous, peasant and social organisations as well as trade unions, participated in mobilisations across the country.

In the capital Bogotá, huge numbers of people gathered at the National Park and marched to the Plaza de Bolívar, to reject the national government’s austerity measures and the heavy police repression of social protests.

The NSW government wants to privatise hospitals in Maitland, Wyong, Goulburn, Shellharbour and Bowral. But people are fighting back. Brett Holmes, general secretary of NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association, lays out the arguments.

Early one morning last month, the Chief Commissioner of the Greater Sydney Commission (GSC) Lucy Turnbull — a lifelong resident of the city’s most privileged suburbs along the south-eastern edge of the harbour — quietly slipped across to Sydney’s inner west where she was taken on tour by a WestConnex manager of the M4 East tollway tunnel corridor. There she presumably saw for the first time the gigantic construction sites in Haberfield where scores of heritage homes, businesses, gardens, parks and trees stood until a few weeks ago.

While hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities will now get services they have never had under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), we must closely examine how the scheme is being implemented. The public should demand nothing less in return for the $22 billion of public expenditure and the vulnerability of the recipients. But that is not happening. The NDIS is brilliant for people with physical disabilities, but the scheme risks further marginalising thousands of people with profound intellectual disability.
"NSW Liberal Premier Mike Baird is in danger of going the way of his Queensland counterpart Campbell Newman, if he continues down the path of selling essential public assets," Howard Byrnes, Socialist Alliance candidate for the NSW Legislative Council, said on February 11. "The issue of power industry privatisation effectively brought down the Newman Liberal-National Party government in the Queensland elections on January 31, and could cause a huge upset in the upcoming NSW elections as well," he said.
The local residents’ action group "Hands off Glebe" held a protest on May 18 to stop the demolition of public housing in Cowper St, Glebe. The 15 buildings on the Cowper St site have the capacity to house 289 people but the former NSW Labor government decided to sell most of the land to private developers, with the remnant being earmarked for new public and so called affordable housing. The newly-elected Greens MP for Balmain, Jamie Parker, joined and addressed the protest. Workers on the site stopped work for the day in support.
"The Queensland government yesterday completed the second sale in its asset privatisation program, offloading the Port of Brisbane for $2.3 billion to a group of local and offshore buyers”, the November 11 Courier-Mail said. The port was sold to a consortium called Q Port Holdings, one of only two bidders in the final race to buy the asset. Q Port Holdings will pay $2.1 billion for a 99-year lease on the port and $200 million for future upgrades of the port’s motorway.
Phil Golby was the president of the Port Curtis and Hinterland branch of the ALP until October 20. Then, along with five leading members, he publicly resigned to protest against the Queensland Labor government’s proposal to sell off public assets despite mass opposition from rank-and-file ALP members. Until October, Golby was also the president of the Gladstone branch of the Queensland Council of Unions (QCU). He is a state organiser with the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, working out of the union’s Gladstone office.
The seat of Brunswick is arguably the most hotly contested seat in the November 27 Victorian parliamentary elections. Based on results at the recent federal election, the new Labor candidate, Jane Garrett, is tipped to beat Greens candidate Cyndi Dawes by only 0.6% of the vote. Learning from the criticism of Labor’s negative federal election campaign, Garrett has adopted the slogan “equality, social justice and tackling climate change” in a bid to win back voters from progressive parties.
Voters’ stunning rejection of both major parties has left neither likely to form a government in its own right. Whichever party governs, it will have to rely on the support of at least three and probably four independents, with Andrew Wilkie's chance of taking Denison from Labor firming.
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