Comment and Analysis

“Despite the fact that Australia’s on the verge of becoming the world’s largest exporter of LNG [Liquified Natural Gas], there’ll be no new revenues from the primary tax on oil and gas for the next two decades and perhaps even longer,” Tax Justice Network (TJN) researcher Jason Ward said on October 10.

The TJN is a coalition of churches, welfare groups, unions and other civil society organisations.

This primary tax is the Petroleum Resources Rent Tax (PRRT), initiated by Bob Hawke’s Labor government in the 1980s.

The Age on November 26 contained a two-page spread on “Melbourne’s Trump-land”, which is apparently located in Narre Warren North.

On November 23, a 13-year-old student of Aspley State High School in Brisbane took his own life after experiencing severe bullying, including physical assault, over his sexuality.

Tyrone Unsworth had suffered from homophobic bullying for years and was hospitalised a month earlier with severe injuries after he was violently assaulted with a fence paling.

A cloud hangs over the annual picnic day for workers in the construction industry and their families, due to the passage of the bill to revive the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).

Former Prime Minister John Howard’s Building Industry Taskforce was established in 2002 — a child of the Cole Royal Commission. The ABCC was established by the Howard government in 2005, once it had achieved a majority in the Senate. 

When it is suddenly announced that an eight-lane toll road is about to be tunnelled underneath a neighbourhood, it is no surprise that the community springs into action.

This is exactly what has happened over the past month in my neighbourhood of Newtown, one of the oldest suburbs of Sydney.

In a continuation of the rancid rape culture spewing from Australian university and high school campuses, a national grouping of young men identified with the Facebook page “Yeah the Boys”, which boasts half a million likes, is spitting chunks onto social media.

The page is receiving attention now because members of the group scheduled a “male-only” meet-up at Sydney's Coogee Beach. While the anonymous ‘Yeah the Boys’ page admins sought to distance themselves from the event, within hours thousands of the page’s followers had jumped behind it.

Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, has taken the unusual step of personally telling Senator Malcolm Roberts he was "mistaken" in his claim that the agency had falsified key data to exaggerate warming in the Arctic. He expressed surprise that Roberts had actually been elected as a Senator.

"You appear to hold a number of misconceptions which I am happy to clarify at this time," Schmidt wrote to Roberts. "The claim that GISS has 'removed the 1940s warmth' in the Arctic is not correct."

The influence of president-elect Donald Trump’s attack on “elites” is taking hold in the Australian parliament, with the Coalition attacking “latte-sipping” opponents of coal mining and joining enthusiastically in a debate questioning climate science in the Senate.

One outcome of last year's inquiry into the Morwell Mine fire in Victoria's Latrobe Valley was the discovery that the default plan for “rehabilitating” the mine would be to let it fill with water naturally, perhaps to become a recreational lake. The hitch: it would take more than a hundred years to fill naturally and the water quality would be terrible due to pollution from coal seams.

Usually, when people mention dying in a ditch, they are discussing something they would much rather avoid. But for the South Australian state Labor government of Premier Jay Weatherill, dying in a ditch seems a positive ambition.

For Weatherill and his cabinet, the “ditch” is the government’s plan to host up to a third of the world’s high-level nuclear waste in a giant dump in the state’s remote north. The dump scheme was rejected decisively on November 6 by a government-organised “Citizens’ Jury”.

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