Comment and Analysis

Pensioners under attack but not welfare for billionaires

Most people have heard of the rant by Australia's richest billionaire, Gina Rinehart, against welfare and the “entitlement mentality” of Australians — and her call for a strong political leader like Margaret Thatcher. But have you heard about the US$694 million ($740 million) soft loan from US taxpayers?

Editorial: Only unions can solve union corruption

The Royal Commission into the use of union funds began on April 9. The commission is not an attempt to stamp out corrupt union practices, but a serious political attack on unions by the Tony Abbott government. It is designed to weaken the union movement and break militant union activity.

Comments made by Coalition ministers before the public hearings have started sets up a presumption of guilt in order to prejudice the public mind.

Challenging 2GB shock jocks on refugees

I am a Year 11 high school student, and when I heard they were trying to transfer more refugees from Villawood, I couldn’t stand by.

Standing outside the detention centre in the early morning of April 5 while waiting for the buses to move, I saw a Facebook status from one of the protest's spokespeople, Clo Schofield, who had just been interviewed on right-wing radio station 2GB. Schofield encouraged us to ring to air our grievances about Australia's cruel and heartless asylum seeker policy.

Radical Wollongong film: From mass unemployment to war

A new documentary film Radical Wollongong, produced by Green Left TV, will premiere in Wollongong in early May, followed by screenings in other cities and regional centres.

The film features activist participants from Wollongong's radical history of strikes and community rallies, from miners’ struggles to Aboriginal justice and environmental protection.

Co-producer John Rainford gives some background to how the Communist Party of Australia grew quickly during the depression.

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Why we tried to stop the forced transfer of asylum seekers

When refugee activists found out about the imminent transfer of at least 83 asylum seekers from Villawood detention centre to a remote detention centre in Curtin in Western Australia, a picket was hastily organised to try to stop the buses leaving.

Even though there was very little time — about 10 hours — activists wanted to show the asylum seekers that there is broad support for them.

Communities fight for trains not toll roads

The campaign against Melbourne's East West Tunnel received a boost when about 1500 residents and members of community groups rallied in Brunswick on March 30. The rally sent a strong message to the Denis Napthine government that the project should be scrapped and the money be spent on expanding Melbourne’s public transport system.

The rally was organised by Moreland Community Against the East West Tunnel (MCAT), a grassroots community organisation supported by the council.

Government spin masks real agenda on CSG

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell implemented a six-month freeze on processing new applications for coal seam gas (CSG) exploration licences on March 26. At the same time, the minister for resources and energy, Anthony Roberts, announced that the licence application fee would increase from $1000, set by the ALP state government in 2002, to $50,000.

Roberts had earlier refused five CSG exploration licence applications sought by Grainger Energy which, covered 43,000 square kilometres of land in the Riverina.

Muckaty takes legal action against nuclear waste dump

An important legal action by traditional owners opposed to the Muckaty nuclear waste dump proposal will be the basis of a Federal Court trial in June. Natalie Wasley, spokesperson for the Beyond Nuclear Initiative, spoke to Green Left Weekly about the legal action, and the fight to keep Australia radioactive waste-dump free.

How is the court case to keep Muckaty radioactive-free proceeding?

Cambodia solution? Fresh plan to dump refugees

The former Labor government tried and failed with its ill-conceived "people swap" deal with Malaysia in 2011. Now, the Tony Abbott government has said it may try a resettlement deal with the even poorer nation of Cambodia.

After talks with foreign minister Julie Bishop in February, her counterpart, Hor Namhong, said Cambodia was considering an offer to resettle refugees from Australia. Immigration minister Scott Morrison visited Cambodia again this month, to discuss "regional cooperation to deal with asylum seeker movement".

The case for a Royal Commission into coal seam gas

When the NSW Coalition government was elected to office in March 2011, it put all new coal seam gas (CSG) exploration licences on hold pending an internal inquiry.

Sixteen months later, in September 2012, the government announced that the results of this “thorough investigation” found all was in order and the industry could proceed apace.

The NSW government has now announced that all new CSG licence applications would again be frozen, this time for six months. The government said this was necessary to implement a "new regime" for allocating future licences.

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