Our Common Cause

Last September, while campaigning for the position of Lord Mayor of Newcastle and a ward councillor, I bumped into an NSW Labor Party officer at a coffee shop.

“Comrade”, he said, “You’ve got some great policies”. “Feel free to borrow any of them,” I relied cheekily. “Our housing policy, for example, is based on Socialist Alliance councillor Sue Bolton's work in Moreland, Victoria.”

The next day the local papers reported that ALP candidates were talking up “affordable housing”.

It says a lot about the state of politics today that the worst thing following the Murdoch-owned Sky News interview with neo-Nazi Blair Cottrell on immigration earlier this month, was not that a media outlet was giving a fascist a platform. The worst thing was that Cottrell’s comments were indistinguishable from those of other mainstream media outlets and elected politicians.

New South Wales is now officially in drought and parts of Queensland have been in continuous drought for years. But the climate denier federal government has its head in the sand.

Before the “super Saturday” byelections on July 28, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was saying the outcome would be a “test of leadership”.

Then he lost all five contests and changed his tune.

Activists from the Movement Against the Occupation of the Timor Sea (MKOTT) in Timor-Leste demonstrated outside the Australian Embassy in the capital Dili on July 25.

The Australian Border Force is an authoritarian and undemocratic body that does not serve the interests of ordinary people in Australia. It should be abolished.

Five years since the reopening of the refugee torture centres on Manus Island and Nauru, the results are clear. Refugees have suffered cruel and unusual punishment which has: not saved lives at sea, not “stopped the boats” and not benefited ordinary Australians.

Whenever the Coalition and Labor stop bickering and agree in serious tones that something must be done in the “national interest” you can be sure they’re up to no good.

The federal Coalition government's so-called "tax reform" package is, overall, a major escalation of the capitalist class war by the rich against the poor and working people.

The initial tranche of income tax measures will reduce tax by a very modest amount for low-income taxpayers, but the long-term effect of the package is to massively reduce tax on the wealthy and attack the elements of a progressive taxation system established in this country over many years.

The size — and composition — of the national vigils for comedian Eurydice Dixon on June 18 has given us some hope that with a growing awareness about violence against women we can achieve at least some of the measures we so desperately need.

Not since the community response to Jill Meagher’s murder in 2012 have so many people taken to the streets to demand that women have the right to live free of fear.

'Class consciousness is knowing which side of the fence you’re on. Class analysis is figuring out who is there with you.' — Slogan from a 1970s poster, author unknown.

The newly formed "Industrial Left" faction of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) in Victoria combined with the right at the party's state conference on May 28 to block discussion about imposing a 90 day time limit on offshore detention.

The Global Day of Action for Women's Health was on May 28. Around the world, the preceding week was punctuated by significant actions for abortion rights.

The most significant was the resounding Yes vote in the May 25 Irish referendum on removing the ban on abortion from the constitution. This gave a shot in the arm to the campaign for abortion rights in the six counties of Northern Ireland, where the anti-abortion provisions of British Offences Against the Person Act from 1861 remain in force.

Australia is continuing to avoid any possibility that it might stand up for Palestinian sovereignty and human rights with its behaviour at the United Nations.

Labor Opposition leader Bill Shorten delivered his budget reply speech on May 10, promising to deliver a “bigger, better and fairer tax cut for 10 million working Australians”.

The wealthy and corporations got a visit from Santa Claus, but the rest of us got Scrooged again on Budget night.

A windfall in tax income — derived in part from higher than expected royalties and corporate taxes in the mining sector, owing to higher prices for iron ore, coal and oil — provided ideal conditions for the government’s pre-election budget.

There was never a chance that Treasurer Scott Morrison would use this windfall to boost social spending — that just wouldn’t accord with the Malcolm Turnbull government’s “trickle down” economics.

The recent pill testing trial at the Groovin’ the Moo music festival, demonstrated why pill testing is an effective harm minimisation activity but also why we need to end drug prohibition in Australia and to effectively regulate the quality and supply of drugs here.

The mounting scandals being revealed by the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry highlight the need for a comprehensive and radical solution to the crisis in the banking system.

The Big Four banks must be nationalised so people can take back their stolen wealth and a new public banking system must be created under democratic community control.

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