Comment and Analysis

The crimes of Robert Menzies

Robert Menzies achieved many things in his long political career. To remain prime minister as long as he did, Menzies kicked the communist can for as much as it was worth.

He also benefited from a split in the Australian Labor Party and the ALP’s remarkable talent for shooting itself in the foot. By choosing ineffectual leaders — Doc Evatt was brilliant but erratic, while Arthur Calwell was dour, dull and unelectable — the ALP was putty in Menzies’ clever political hands.

The 'Uluru bark petition', when culture backfires

On August 13, anti-marriage equality campaigner and Liberal government minister Senator Eric Abetz was presented with a petition against marriage equality — the "Uluru bark petition" — by Black pastor Peter Walker, who claimed to speak on behalf of "Aboriginal Australia".

Tony Abbott’s woes mount as public deserts him

New polls show that had an election been held in mid-August, Tony Abbott's federal Coalition would have suffered a 7.5% swing against it. The Prime Minister’s prevarication on marriage equality and the scandal over entitlements are fueling the dissent.

The IPSOS-Fairfax and Essential Research polls revealed that the Coalition would have lost between 36 and 44 seats — with Labor and the Greens being the main beneficiaries.

July 2015 was warmest month ever recorded

Despite the overwhelming evidence, the federal government does not believe that climate change is real.

The Climate Council recommended a reduction of 45% to 65% of Australia’s 2005 carbon emission levels as the minimum that would be required to prevent runaway climate change.

Cuts to paid parental leave will widen gender pay gap

After his resounding success in the immigration portfolio — in which international treaty obligations were trashed, human rights trammelled, and asylum seekers fleeing from persecution were greeted with perverse punishment — Scott Morrison was promoted to minister for social services where he wasted no time attacking the unemployed, the disabled and aged pensioners.

It seemed impossible to go any lower. But if anyone was going to manage it, it was the minister whose arrogance is outweighed only by his ambition to be prime minister.

Now it is expectant mothers he is trying to vilify.

Alcohol from Vegemite? Don't let the facts ruin a good story

Did you hear the one about how Vegemite was going to be banned in some alcohol-free remote communities because it was being used to make homebrew?

This wasn’t satire, this was a widely reported story in the mainstream press. It ticked all the right boxes for successful click bait, but there was just one problem: it was bullshit. The source for these claims? The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion.

Youth stand up for marriage equality

Rallies calling for marriage equality were held in major cities across Australia over the past few weekends. The turnout was large, with numbers reaching the thousands. The overwhelming presence of youth was particularly noticeable.

In many areas of the LGBTI struggle today, youth are helping lead the charge. Opinion polls conducted by Australian Marriage Equality found that 80% of those under 24 support equal marriage, the highest percentage for any demographic group.

Basic income is a human right

Universal Basic Income (UBI) is not a new idea. But it is an idea whose time has come. It is one of the simplest, most obvious pieces of social policy imaginable: every member of a society, with no exceptions, is entitled to enough money to live on.

Eligibility is not conditional on age or employment status, or education or criminal record like the poorly-built social welfare programs of modern Australia that have deep, but invisible, cracks for the most vulnerable to fall into.

GetUp! responds on Better Power

This is a reply by GetUp!’s Anthony Gough to Andrea Bunting’s article “GetUp, Oxfam’s Powershop partnership raises questions” printed in Green Left Weekly #1064.

It has been about 12 months since we at GetUp! launched the Better Power campaign, and so far we have encouraged 12,000 people to switch their household electricity away from Australia's biggest polluters.

Trade union witch-hunt must be shut down

The future of the federal government’s anti-union, kangaroo court — the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption — is in doubt, following media revelations that the commissioner, retired High Court Justice John Dyson Heydon, accepted an invitation — not once, but twice — to speak at a Liberal Party fundraiser while serving on the body.

The commission first sat on April 9 last year and media reports say Heydon received the invitation to speak via email just one day later, on April 10. He was approached again in March.

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