Sue Bolton

The seeds of the current crisis of confidence in the capitalist parties in Australia go back to the 1980s when the Bob Hawke Labor government implemented its version of Margaret Thatcher’s neoliberal economic policies. The Hawke government also managed to achieve what previous Coalition governments had failed to do — seriously weaken the union movement.

While these reforms did not immediately create right-wing populism, once the reforms started to really bite by the late 1990s, it began to develop around Pauline Hanson.

The government has not made a mistake with the Centrelink robo-debt notices. It knows it is sending out incorrect notices.

Centrelink staff warned management the notices would be wrong and the new debt recovery system would incorrectly claim overpayments.

Results in the October 22 Victorian local council elections were mixed.

The Greens won big increases in representation in Melbourne’s inner city councils, the two socialist councillors retained their positions, but racists retained their positions on a couple of councils.

The Greens stood more candidates than in previous council elections. They retained 13 of their 16 council seats and won an extra 16 council seats.

Of the extra 16 seats, four were elected to councils which had never had Greens councillors, including Hobsons Bay, Banyule, Monash and Cardinia Shire.

The federal treasurer’s “solution” to the housing affordability crisis is to get state governments to relax restrictions on housing developers to increase supply.

Scott Morrison told the industry’s peak body, the Urban Development Institute, on October 24 that “housing in Australia, especially in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, is expensive and increasingly unaffordable, but that does not mean it is overvalued.”

How can you have more affordable housing and keep prices up at the same time?

The answer is you can’t do both.

In a big development in industrial dispute involving Carlton and United Breweries (CUB) and the 55 maintenance workers it has sacked in Melbourne, the contractor at the centre of the dispute, Programmed Skilled, has broken its contract with the brewery.

The 55 workers were sacked in June — then offered their jobs back with a 65% pay cut. The company brought in unskilled scab labour, with the sacked workers, backed by the Electrical Trades Union (ETU) and the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU), picketing the Abbotsford factory.

Carlton United Breweries' (CUB) attack on its maintenance workers was clearly premeditated.

The brewery forced workers to do large amounts of overtime to build up its stock before sacking 55 maintenance workers on June 10.

Although the 55 workers were told they could reapply for their jobs through a new contractor, they were not told who the new employing contractor would be or what their new terms and conditions would look like.

Meanwhile, CUB had secretly recruited temporary workers from interstate to replace the sacked workers.

There is ample evidence of the criminality of the prison officers, their bosses and the Northern Territory government ministers for charges to be laid over the horror inflicted on Aboriginal kids in custody at the Don Dale Juvenile Detention Centre.

It's not just a question of proper "training"and "processes" for the prison guards.

The horror we saw in the ABC's Four Corner's program on July 25 is the outcome of the law and order agenda of "lock em' up and throw away the key".

Carlton and United Brewery (CUB) is trying to impose a 65% pay cut on its maintenance workforce.

The 54 electricians and fitters were called to a meeting in a pub on June 10 and told their jobs were terminated. They were then told they could reapply for their jobs with a company called Catalyst Recruitment which is part of the Programmed/Skilled Group.

Five apprentices have been left in limbo with no jobs and no trade qualifications.

About 200 people rallied on June 26 demanding people charged under section 501 of the Migration Act 1958 be freed and allowed to stay in Australia.

More than 190 people, mostly New Zealanders, have been ripped away from their families and put in prison on Christmas Island, 380 kilometres south of Java and 2650 kilometres north-west of Perth, pending deportation. The numbers are set to increase.

The “Say NO to Racism in Moreland” rally on May 28 was originally conceived early this year and organising for it started back in February.

We wanted to offer residents and communities an opportunity to take a public stand on the racist policies of the major parties: their Islamophobia, xenophobia and fear mongering. We also wanted to stand in solidarity with First Nations peoples, who are on the receiving end of institutionalised racism.

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