Comment and Analysis

Lest we forget why Anzac Day glorifies war

ANZAC Day, we’re told, is Australia's "most important national occasion”.

But beyond the glib cliches about how the ill-fated Anzac “campaign” at Gallipoli Cove in 1915 “shaped Australia's identity”, there is little political and historical reflection on what happened and why.

Battle to save the Pilliga heats up

The Pilliga Forest is at the centre of a large battle over the right for companies to drill for coal seam gas (CSG) on public land.

Coal seam gas company Santos is planning to develop a $2 billion CSG project in the forest and it has already begun operating 40 exploratory gas wells.

The exploration licence was supposed to end on April 3, but Santos has been granted multiple extensions by the NSW government to put in more exploratory drill holes.

When Wollongong workers stared down the prime minister

A new documentary film Radical Wollongong, produced by Green Left TV, will premiere in Wollongong on May 18, 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 the rise of fascism in Europe and the actions of Robert Menzies against wharfies who refused to ship pig iron to Japan.

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Commuters want public transport, not motorways

Drivers on Sydney’s proposed WestConnex motorway will pay a toll for almost 50 years, according to documents released to state parliament last week. Tolls will also be introduced to existing free motorways and extended on those due to expire.

The government’s plans were revealed when boxes of documents relating plans to build the WestConnex motorway were delivered to New South Wales Parliament House last week at the request of the NSW Greens Roads and Ports spokesperson Mehreen Faruqi.

Unemployment as bad as during financial crisis

The preparations for the federal budget, due to be handed down by Treasurer Joe Hockey on May 13, began on October 22 last year. This is the date on which Hockey announced a National Commission of Audit.

The commission is chaired by Tony Shepherd, who just happens to be the President of the Business Council of Australia, the organisation representing Australia’s 100 largest companies. Shepherd’s appointment amounts to an invitation to big business to tell the government how it wants the economy to function in its favour during the Coalition’s term of office.

Carlo's Corner: No need to bother with the news

I am not going to bother following the news any more, I am just going to wake up each morning and drive large rusty nails straight into my eyeballs to save time.

After all, efficiency is our new watchword, according to treasurer Joe Hockey. We must all play our part in doing more with less.

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Abbott moves to stifle public service free speech

The Tony Abbott government has moved to crush the right of free speech for federal public servants. In new guidelines issued by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) on social media policy, employees are threatened with harsh discipline if they are "critical or highly critical of the department, the minister or the prime minister" on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Flickr, blogs or elsewhere.

So which country has a 'refugee problem'?

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has announced that the number of registered Syrian refugees in Lebanon had gone over 1 million. Half of these are children and most live in dire poverty.

"The influx of a million refugees would be massive in any country. For Lebanon, a small nation beset by internal difficulties, the impact is staggering," said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres in an April 3 statement.

Logan’s going to the dogs under Newman

Queensland Racing Minister Steve Dickson has just given the green light to a new greyhound racing track at Cronulla Park in Logan, one of Australia’s fastest-growing urban corridors.

Dickson has confirmed that construction on the $12 million publicly funded track at Cronulla Park will begin in May. The government will spend another $1.2 million a year on appearance fees for greyhound trainers.

Union funds plundered for greed

Michael Williamson, former national president of the Labor Party and the Health Services Union (HSU), was sentenced in the NSW District Court on March 28 to seven- and-a-half years in jail with a non-parole period of five years for defrauding union members.

The sentencing judge described Williamson’s dishonesty as “a parasitic plundering of union funds for pure greed”.

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