Comment and Analysis

Obituary: Vale Felicity Wishart — a true hero for the environment

The Australian Marine Conservation Society released this statement on July 21.

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The Australian Marine Conservation Society and the Australian environmental movement is in mourning over the sudden and unexpected loss of Felicity “Flic” Wishart who passed away in her sleep on July 19 aged 49.

Flic was one of Australia’s leading conservationists and was a great and inspiring champion for the planet, the cause she dedicated her life to.

Hazelwood power station testing use of ‘biomass’ instead of brown coal


Clearfelling old growth forest in Tasmania. Previously destroyed for woodchips, native forests are now in danger of being burned to create electricity.

Reports that the owner of Victoria’s Hazelwood coal power station, GDF Suez, has been considering plans to convert it into a co-firing facility, allowing it to burn native forest waste as well as brown coal, have been slammed by environmentalists.

New report: Ocean warming passes tipping point


Tropical storms are increasing in frequency and strength. City of Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines, after Super Typhoon Yolanda, the strongest tropical storm to make landfall in history, struck in November 2013. Photo: Partido Lakas ng Masa.

Opposition to Shenhua open-cut coal mine grows, splits Coalition

Opposition to Shenhua Watermark’s unpopular $1.2 billion open-cut coal mine, proposed for the Liverpool Plains in the north-west of NSW, is growing. The Coalition cabinet is split, as are NSW and federal National Party MPs.

Federal agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce, who is fighting to hold his New England seat, opposes the mine. His cabinet colleague, federal environment minister Greg Hunt, signed the mine’s approval on July 4.

Capital, youth and the urban revolution

Around the corner from where I used to live in northern Brisbane, there was an abandoned flourmill. It had been abandoned for decades, left to slowly decay, and became home to pigeons, homeless people and drunk young people trying to scale its enormous silos and inner frameworks.

The story of the mill is one of capitalism as a whole, of post-industrial decay in advanced capitalist societies where wages have become too expensive. Work moves offshore, or into the outer suburbs, and the mill decays.

Why raising the GST to fund health would make the poor less healthy

The neoliberal agenda for the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting in Sydney on July 23 was set by NSW Premier Mike Baird, who proposed increasing the GST from its present 10% to 15%.

Baird wants the extra funds to be primarily used to fund health services, which account for almost 30% of state budgets, including spending on hospitals of about 20%. What he neglected to say was that under his mate Tony Abbott’s federal government, spending has been drastically reduced on health along with education. The total reduction across both areas is about $80 billion.

Where does the threat of racism come from?

On the weekend of July 18 and 19 there was another round of right-wing Reclaim Australia (RA) protests.

The stated aim of RA and its offshoot, the United Patriots Front (UPF), was to defend what they call “Australian values” from the threat of “Islamicisation”.

NTEU: Make casual university workers permanent

Casuals now make up about half of the academic workforce in Australia’s universities. For most of them it is precarious work at its worst.

Those lucky enough to get two 13-week sessional contracts a year are unemployed academics for the other half of the year, forced to then compete with a growing precariat for temporary employment elsewhere while still at the call of their part-time employer. And the 13 weeks are not necessarily standard 35-hour weeks, they can be for as little as one hour a week.

Community takes fight for rail to the Supreme Court

Supporters of maintaining the rail line into Newcastle are hopeful that their fight against NSW government’s plans to remove the line into the CBD will prevail.

The community has fought for more than a decade against state government attempts to cut the rail into the city centre. Developers have long wanted to exploit the city centre’s prime rail line land as it has never been mined and is considered ideal for multi-story developments. Their mates in the NSW parliament have been only too keen to help out.

Carlo's Corner: What sick freak would want to 'win office' so they can torture kids?

When Labor leader Bill Shorten announced his support for yet one more draconian and inhumane Abbott federal government policy — this time, towing back asylum seeker boats in violation of international law and respect for human life — some pointed out the usual role of the Opposition leader is to oppose things.

But that's not fair. In recent times, we've seen Shorten oppose many things. They just happen to be the same things PM Tony Abbott opposes, like international humanitarian obligations, the rule of law and basic human decency.

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