Comment and Analysis

Aboriginal voices resist closures

Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett government is slowly backing away from his controversial announcement that up to 150 remote Aboriginal communities are facing closure.

In what he described as “a more nuanced approach”, Barnett is now proposing a “hub and orbit” strategy that will leave some communities bigger and better resourced, others reduced in services and the smallest ones abandoned.

The tax debate we need to have

Prime Minister Tony Abbott's harsh regime of cutbacks and user-pays charges has been rejected by the Australian people in poll after poll. But this has not stopped the pro-business media from trying to wear people down and pressure Labor and the Greens to accept some of the government's demands.

Typical of this drumbeat was the widely reported Deloitte Access Economics report, which likened the growing budget deficit to a novel by horror writer Stephen King. In an effort to massage a consensus for cutbacks it demands, "For our budget to be sustainable, our politics has to be sustainable".

Australian students join world in fight for higher education

Rallies have been called in response to the federal government’s attack on education funding in the upcoming budget, and a big one is planned for Sydney on budget day, May 12.

Although Christopher Pyne’s education policies have been repeatedly defeated in the Senate, he is determined to continue to try to “fix” the education system by reducing governmental funding and pushing for fee deregulation. The next chance he will have to do this is with mass education spending cutbacks in the budget.

Socialist councillor Sue Bolton: 'People can run society themselves’

Socialist Alliance councillor Sue Bolton spoke to Dave Holmes about her work as an elected socialist local councillor in Moreland, a municipality in Melbourne.

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You were elected to the Moreland City Council for Socialist Alliance in October 2012. Many of the themes and issues raised in your campaign struck a chord with a wide range of people. There was also a fair bit of accident and luck: you headed up a ballot with 24 names on it and the ALP ticket was split.

Australia falls behind in global renewable energy

Australia has fallen behind similar economies around the world in the generation of renewable energy, a new report has found.

The Climate Council’s new report, The global renewable energy boom: How Australia is missing out, says that despite having enough renewable energy resources to power the country 500 times over, jobs and investment in the renewables sector have fallen sharply since the Coalition government came to power.

Melbourne councils oppose forced closure of Aboriginal communities

The Moreland council in Melbourne became the first council in Australia to pass a motion last month condemning plans for forced closures of Aboriginal communities, and to send a letter of solidarity to those communities.

The motion was moved by me as a Socialist Alliance councillor on Moreland council. The motion passed unanimously, with even the Liberal party councillor voting for it.

On April 28, a second Melbourne council, the Moonee Valley council, passed the same motion. The motion was moved by Jim Cusack, a Labor councillor.

Direct Action Safeguard Mechanism provides no safeguard at all

Environment Victoria released this statement on May 5.

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Analysis by Environment Victoria has revealed that Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions could rise by up to 20% without breaching the proposed Safeguard Mechanism in the Abbott government’s Emissions Reduction Fund because of the government’s proposed “special treatment” of coal generators in the electricity sector.

Government lies in fact sheet for refugees about Cambodia while planning transfers 'very shortly'

During his visit to Sri Lanka, Australian immigration minister Peter Dutton said the transfer of refugees to Cambodia would “happen very shortly”.

Dutton said he wanted to send “a small group” to the south-east Asian country to “send a clear message to the remaining people on Nauru that Cambodia is an appropriate option to consider to start a new life”.

The Australian government has been trying to persuade refugees held on Nauru to volunteer to settle in Cambodia, which signed a deal with Australia to take refugees in exchange for aid.

When people get together and organise

I’ve never been much of a morning person but some mornings it can be a struggle to get out of bed. Crippling depression aside, peeking at what passes for news in the mainstream media to find out what is going on in the world can be enough to send me running for the covers.

Just last week there was the announcement that after his latest pay rise, the Macquarie Bank CEO Nicholas Moore “earned” $1586 every 12 minutes. That’s roughly the same amount the average Australian worker takes home in a week.

How the Anzac myth hides history

An irony of the sacking of SBS sports journalist Scott McIntyre for a series of tweets he made on Anzac Day is that the hysterical reaction from politicians and the media, and the consequences he has faced, has only served to prove his initial point.

Anzac Day is not about remembering history. To remember what actually happened at Gallipoli 100 years ago, and in Australia’s involvement in wars more generally, is not permissible. Whatever the Anzacs fought and died for, it was not free speech.

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