Our Common Cause

The global refugee crisis has its roots in the wars waged by global powers for resources and territory. These conflicts have left millions of people displaced and driven hundreds of thousands to seek safety and protection in countries like Australia. Increasingly, climate change is becoming a second front of the refugee crisis as global food supplies are ravaged and sea level rises threaten the populations of island nations.
This is part of a series of articles detailing the policies and platform the Socialist Alliance will be taking to the Federal election. * * * For tens of thousands of years, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of this continent and its islands looked after the diverse ecosystems, developed complex languages and cultures, and traded among themselves and with visitors from overseas. They were strong, proud peoples.
The Australian Labor Party’s (ALP) new higher education policy, announced on September 21, risks being indistinguishable from that of the Coalition under Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. That is because the new Prime Minister has signalled a departure from the bully-boy antics of former education minister Christopher Pyne, who had threatened to introduce his doomed education cuts a third time to the Senate this spring.
Ok, who didn’t cheer when they heard that Tony Abbott might be dumped as Prime Minister? And then before the reality that nothing had really changed sank in, who didn’t cheer when he actually was dumped? Yes, you spoil sports out there, I know that we have just switched captains on a leaky boat — appropriate metaphor don’t you think — and the boat hasn’t actually changed. But you have to admit that seeing Abbott’s humiliation was enjoyable.
The announcement on September 9 that Australia will accept only 12,000 refugees from Syria and that the government will seek to discriminate on the basis of ethnicity and religion is further proof that the government is lying about leading the world in welcoming refugees.
It very quickly became “Border Farce”. Within hours of the Australian Border Force — Prime Minister Tony Abbott's paramilitary amalgamation of the Customs Service and immigration department — announcing on August 28 that they would be joining the Victorian police and privatised public transport operators in Operation Fortitude to check the visa status of “anti-social” elements on the streets of Melbourne, hundreds of protesters had gathered at Flinders Street Station and social media had exploded in outrage.

The future of the federal government’s anti-union, kangaroo court — the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption — is in doubt, following media revelations that the commissioner, retired High Court Justice John Dyson Heydon, accepted an invitation — not once, but twice — to speak at a Liberal Party fundraiser while serving on the body. The commission first sat on April 9 last year and media reports say Heydon received the invitation to speak via email just one day later, on April 10. He was approached again in March.

The official unemployment rate in Broadmeadows is 23.5% but the real unemployment and underemployment rates are far higher. Youth unemployment is higher than the overall rate. We are very close to the 30% unemployment rate of the Great Depression. Woolworths has now announced that it intends to close its Hume Distribution Centre and shift it across town to the outer south-eastern suburbs. This would throw about 680 people out of work.
Public disgust at Bronwyn Bishop's $5000 helicopter ride from Melbourne to Geelong is entirely justified. However, Tony Abbott's “root and branch” review of politicians' “entitlements” is designed to whitewash, not solve, the problem. After all, it is not as if we haven't had “root and branch” inquiries into politicians' entitlements before.
The results of the recent Australian Labor Party (ALP) conference vote on boat turnbacks shows why building a progressive alternative to the left of the ALP in Australia today is urgently needed.

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