Analysis

Universities are big business and critical to the health of Australian capitalism.

University education added $140 billion to the Australian economy in 2014. According to Universities Australia, 1.3 million Australian and international students were enrolled in Australian universities in 2016.

Recent military actions by Western powers, backed by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, have certainly proven controversial. But the simple fact is that the civilised and democratic West cannot refuse to act in the face of the indiscriminate massacre of civilians in Yemen … I mean Syria.

Sorry, I got confused. Yemen is where the West is arming Saudi Arabia and backing its brutal war killing civilians and causing a huge humanitarian catastrophe. We support that carnage.

Green Left Weekly’s Alex Bainbridge caught up with Sue Bolton, Socialist Alliance councilor in Moreland and Victorian Socialist candidate, to ask her about the Victorian Socialists’ campaign for the Legislative Council’s Northern Metropolitan seat in the state elections in November.

Why are you running on the Victorian Socialists’ ticket?

Many Australians are unaware that up to 2500 armed personnel from a foreign nation routinely occupy Australian territory. However, soon the next contingent of US marines will arrive in Darwin, writes Nick Deane.

It is extraordinary that foreign forces should be stationed in Australia in peacetime. There has been no such foreign presence here since the end of World War II. There is no threat to Australia, so there is no need for this presence.

Australia needs an independent national agency charged with safeguarding the environment and delivering effective climate policy, according to a coalition of environmental, legal and medical NGOs.

Most Western democracies have established national regulatory action, such as the US Environmental Protection Agency — yet Australia is a notable exception.

The Sydney Stop the War Coalition organised a hastily-called protest against the latest Western bombing raid on Syria on April 18. It condemned the Australian government and Labor opposition that were quick to support to the United States, French and British attack, which was launched in retaliation to the reported Syrian regime chemical gas attack on April 7 in which more than 40 people were killed.

The Socialist Alliance released this statement on April 18 in response to the bombing of Syria by the US, Britain and France.

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The Socialist Alliance condemns the Australian government for its lapdog-like endorsement of the April 13 missile bombardment of Damascus and Homs by the United States, Britain and France.

Australian workers are doing it tough. Wage rises have dropped to their lowest level in decades: ABS figures show average full-time wages have fallen below basic cost of living needs. Casual workers have taken an even harder hit.

It’s time to fight back and get organised. The Australian Council of Trade Unions seems to have come out of its bunker. It has called for a full blown “Change the Rules” campaign to win back our “rights at work”, lost progressively since 1996.

A Senate committee inquiry into the Community Development Programme (CDP) — supposedly covering remote employment and community development — has found it causes real harm to people and communities. It is a racist work for the dole scheme and it must be scrapped.

Climate and renewable energy activists are furious that the federal and Victorian governments are throwing $100 million into a dubious “clean energy” pilot project to produce hydrogen from brown coal in the Latrobe Valley.

The $500 million demonstration plant is at AGL’s Loy Yang power station and mine near Traralgon. It is being built to develop the technology to gassify brown coal and will produce up to three tonnes of hydrogen in its first year. It is expected to create about 400 jobs.  

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