Comment and Analysis

Agricultural expropriation: Making money from farmers

 There is money to be made in farming, but not by the farmers.

The terms of trade for farmers continually declines and farmers are forced off the land. Governments and international bodies advocate further deregulation and trade liberalisation and greater use of technology. But these policies have undoubtedly failed in their stated aims of increasing food security and rural prosperity. The beneficiaries have been only agribusiness corporations.

‘My daughter didn’t have to die’

Dominic Wykanak read out this moving tribute by Debbie Small to her daughter Rebecca Maher who died in police custody in July, at a rally against Black deaths in custody at Blacktown on September 17.

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It has been two months since a young Wiradjuri woman Rebecca Maher died within hours of being placed in a Maitland police cell.

Recognition: Yes or No? The ABC asks the wrong questions of the wrong people

Last week the ABC broadcast Recognition: Yes or No?, a program following the joint travels of federal Labor MP Linda Burney and conservative commentator Andrew Bolt as they debate whether Indigenous peoples should be “recognised” in Australia’s Constitution.

Viewers are told at the outset that they will be asked to vote in a referendum on constitutional reform. The program claims this referendum “could unite or divide our nation” and asks: “How will you vote?”

Comparing Finland to South Australia ‘a waste of time’

South Australia’s peak environment body Conservation SA warned on September 19 that a nuclear waste repository under construction in Finland has few lessons for the high-level nuclear waste dump proposed for SA.

Conservation SA CEO Craig Wilkins said there were so many differences between the Finnish and SA nuclear waste plans that Premier Jay Weatherill’s current study trip there would provide little insight.

Senator Malcolm Roberts fails high school science in maiden speech

Climate science denialists will often fool people, and sometimes themselves, by cherrypicking the bits of evidence they think fit their argument.

At other times, they’ll construct elaborate conspiracy theories about human-caused climate change being a front for a New World Order, with the United Nations as the Illuminati.

But often, they just get things badly, horribly, terribly and embarrassingly wrong.

Council election results a big blow to Baird

The massive win by independent City of Sydney Council Lord Mayor Clover Moore and the big swing to Labor in outer suburban councils are big blows to Premier Mike Baird and the state government. This comes on top of a growing slide in the government's popularity as a result of a series of policies that have caused widespread public backlash in the state.

Hanson doesn't speak for me

Newly elected Senator Pauline Hanson gave her maiden speech in the Senate on September 14 — 20 years after her first appearance as a parliamentarian in 1996.

Her incendiary speech outlined a far-right agenda of racist bigotry, misogyny and attacks on welfare rights.

Where is the opposition?

The Labor opposition has voted for the $6.3 billion in public spending cuts over four years proposed by the Malcolm Turnbull government. The opposition agreed to support 20 of the 24 cuts originally proposed by the government in its "Omnibus Bill" and put forward more cuts of its own to prove how committed Labor is to “budget repair”.

Free speech is at risk in Australia — and it's not from Section 18C

Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act — Australia’s federal hate speech law — has tended to dominate public debate about free speech for the past few years. This has meant other important laws that restrict free speech in broad ways are being overlooked.

While the 18C debate has raged, important new restrictions on freedom of speech have been introduced in Australia. These have flown much further under the radar. These restrictions should concern us, because they have a wide-ranging impact on the freedom of speech that is essential to democratic deliberation.

From Cape Town to Sydney: why I am occupying SCA

Juanel de la Forêt gave this speech at a Sydney College of the Arts rally on September 7 against Sydney University’s proposal to close the college.

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I would like to acknowledge that I am an occupier on occupied land. I offer my respects to Aboriginal elders, past and present.

I am an international student from Cape Town, South Africa, and a first year student at Sydney College of the Arts. I am also a proud occupier and would like to thank you all for coming and for this incredible support.

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