Our Common Cause

Workers in the South Australian retail sector — particularly young, casual workers — could lose their penalty rates thanks to a deal between retail employers and the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA).
This NSW election, like the Victorian and Queensland polls before it, hinges on growing public opposition to Tony Abbott’s federal government and the neoliberal policies implemented by Labor and Coalition state governments. The sell-off of public assets and services, cuts to the public sector, unsustainable development, mining and unprecedented handouts and tax cuts to corporate interests and the super rich are now standard practice, and people have had enough.
Several commentators have pointed out that treasurer Joe Hockey's Intergenerational Report is a partisan document designed to bash Labor over the head.
If Tony Abbott’s government has its way, new laws further empowering Australia's secret police to greatly expand their mass surveillance powers will be rammed through federal parliament by mid-March. But it will succeed only if the Australian Labor Party backs the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill.
Cartoon by Norrie. Bellicose and racist jingoism is the last refuge of scoundrel Prime Minister Tony Abbott. His February 23 “National Security Statement” was blatant incitement of hatred, bigotry and suspicion against Australia's Muslim minority.
When 22-year-old Omar Abdel Hamid El-Hussein murdered two people in Copenhagen on February 15, and was killed in a shoot-out with police, the media and politicians across the world did not hesitate to declare that an act of terrorism had taken place. US President Barack Obama immediately phoned Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt to offer condolences and invited Denmark to take part in a February 18 summit in Washington to counter violent extremism, Reuters reported on February 16. Other Western leaders, including Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, responded similarly.
"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 dramatic dumping of Campbell Newman’s Liberal National Party government in Queensland and the leadership spill against Abbott have starkly revealed the ongoing popular opposition to the Coalition's program of cutbacks and privatisation. It has thrown the federal Liberals into a crisis. This is a tremendous boost for progressive people in Australia and the anti-Abbott campaign in particular.
“Greece is turning the page,” SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras told an ecstatic crowd on January 25. The radical left party had just come first in historic elections in Greece with 36.3% of the vote. “Greece leaves behind the austerity that caused its destruction. It leaves behind fear and intimidation; it leaves behind five years of humiliation and grief. Greece advances with hope, with dignity and steady steps towards a changing Europe.” The news from Greece has spread hope around the world.
The shocking bipartisan cruelty towards refugees and asylum-seekers continues to expose the moral bankruptcy of the federal coalition government and the equally culpable ALP opposition. The latest despicable acts of criminal neglect and denial of human rights by our government towards asylum-seekers have been tragically playing out in a Darwin detention centre and in the Australian detention centre on PNG’s Manus Island, to our daily horror and disgust. Iranian asylum-seeker “Martin” is now at a point of no return after more than 80 days on hunger strike in a Darwin detention centre.
The White Ribbon is a public symbol that family violence is a problem. Women have the right to live a life free from gender-based violence. The fact that White Ribbon Day exists is a tribute to the generations of women and men who have campaigned to have family violence recognised as a crime and a serious problem in society. The Maritime Union of Australia, with a predominantly male membership, has enthusiastically taken up White Ribbon Day.
Brisbane is almost in lockdown as preparations get under way for the G20 Summit over November 15 and 16. Road closures began a week before world leaders and their media lackeys were due to arrive. Manholes and utility service grates in footpaths in the CBD and around the G20 venue in South Brisbane have been sealed as a precaution against sabotage.
At Geelong's Walk Together rally on October 25, Labor's shadow immigration minister Richard Marles told the crowd Labor would “welcome” refugees. Despite trying to appeal to the crowd's message of acceptance and tolerance, Marles was heckled by members of Rural Australians for Refugees and the Socialist Alliance. Unionists from the Geelong Trades Hall stood up front and turned their backs on him while he spoke.
The ebola outbreak in West Africa is "unquestionably the most severe acute public health emergency in modern times", World Health Organisation (WHO) director general Dr Margaret Chan said on October 14.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has committed Australia to join the US’s latest military intervention in the Middle East. About 600 Australian military personnel and aircraft operating from a base in the United Arab Emirates will join US forces in bombing Islamic State forces in Iraq and assisting the Kurdistan Regional Government with weapons and training. ‘HUMANITARIAN’ WARMAKING
Forty thousand people marched against the federal government and its budget in over 30 locations on the weekend of August 30-31. This was smaller than the three similar mobilisations in March, May and July, but shows there is still a strong community sentiment against the budget. All campaigns have ups and downs — no grassroots movement ever grows continually upwards. The smaller numbers reflect the fact that the initial raw anger against the budget has passed. To maintain a campaign in this context, people need to have confidence that their efforts can bear fruit.

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