In the wake of the Wentworth byelection and the debate about its meaning a lot of commentary has focused on the desire for a return to the “sensible centre”.
Tony Abbot’s recent suggestion that the army take control of gas resources in states that have banned or limited unconventional gas mining shows the lengths to which the recalcitrant fossil fools will go to defend dirty energy corporations, which are under increasing fire as the national debate over energy security continues.
Company profits have skyrocketed, while real wages have fallen. This is the harsh reality of the class war being pursued by Australia’s big-business rulers, as underlined by the latest Bureau of Statistics figures released on February 27.
In the last three months of last year, profits surged by a massive 20%, while wages fell by 0.5%. Over 2016, profits were up 26%, while wages grew by a mere 1%, less than the inflation rate of 1.5% — effectively a wage cut.
Duncan Storrar, the man who dared to ask a question about tax thresholds on ABC TV's Q & A program on May 9, has thanked Australians for their support and criticised the Murdoch press after he was villified in News Corp newspapers the following week.
A GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign in the following days raised more than $60,000 for Storrar, after he questioned the Coalition government's tax policy, introducing himself as someone with a "disability and a low education".
Mainstream media chatter about recent polls showing the Coalition's honeymoon has dramatically ended has ignored another revealing statistic: there is a growing slice of the population that rejects the politics-as-usual model. They are the people the surveys lump into the category of “don't know”.
These are the people who do not engage with the pollsters' questions. They have a variety of reasons, but disengagement from the whole political process as they see it on TV and hear it on the radio is one of them.
Some of these Liberal politicians must think that the rest of us are stupid. Take NSW Premier Mike Baird, the always-smiling poster boy for this deeply right-wing party, whose latest pitch for raising the GST from 10% to 15% is a politician's promise that he would spend the proceeds on health and education.
So the Malcolm Turnbull-led government thinks we need to reform the tax system. When looking at the extent to which multinational corporations are shirking their responsibilities in Australia, this sounds like a good thing.
The neoliberal agenda for the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting in Sydney on July 23 was set by NSW Premier Mike Baird, who proposed increasing the GST from its present 10% to 15%.
Baird wants the extra funds to be primarily used to fund health services, which account for almost 30% of state budgets, including spending on hospitals of about 20%. What he neglected to say was that under his mate Tony Abbott’s federal government, spending has been drastically reduced on health along with education. The total reduction across both areas is about $80 billion.
Update: All the Malaysian anti-GST protesters who were detained on Monday have now been released on RM3,000 bail. They are to appear in court again on May 14. Thanks for all the protest letters!
Police used excessive force in the recent crackdown on protesters against the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which is scheduled to be implemented on April 1.