Comment and Analysis

Voters reject Abbott’s weak climate targets

The federal government has been widely criticised for its weak carbon emission reduction target announced on August 11. The new target of reducing emissions by 26 to 28% on 2005 levels by 2030 will replace the previous target of a 5% emissions reduction on 2000 levels.

These targets are nowhere near enough to stay under a 1.5°C rise in global temperature, needed to prevent going over climate tipping points.

GetUp!-Oxfam’s Powershop partnership raises questions

Has a not-for-profit or charity (an NGO) contacted you to suggest switching electricity retailer? Are you convinced this helps them promote their causes while also addressing climate change?

Several NGOs are now promoting an electricity retailer Powershop to their supporters. Australian activist group GetUp! pioneered such marketing. Others forming partnerships with Powershop include anti-poverty charity Oxfam, and environmental NGOs.

Delays on equality empower the conservatives

The conservative right has launched a last ditch campaign to swing public opinion away from support for marriage equality.

The Marriage Alliance, a new organisation dedicated to opposing what it sees as a threat to “family values”, was launched on August 2. Backed by wealthy businesspeople, the campaign hopes to scare people away from marriage equality by raising vague but menacing threats about damage to children and loss of “rights and freedoms”.

The real reason for the Productivity Commission

When Tony Abbott’s government asked the Productivity Commission to review Australia’s “workplace relations framework” it was for the sole purpose of providing it with cover for more attacks on workers’ pay and conditions.

One of its terms of reference was to examine the ability that employers had to “flexibly” manage and engage with their employees.

Flexibility is a word that once commonly conveyed a positive sense of resourcefulness and adaptability. But the notion of flexibility that the Productivity Commission refers to is one shaped by employers.

A real ‘root and branch’ change would pay politicians an average wage

Public disgust at Bronwyn Bishop's $5000 helicopter ride from Melbourne to Geelong is entirely justified. However, Tony Abbott's “root and branch” review of politicians' “entitlements” is designed to whitewash, not solve, the problem.

After all, it is not as if we haven't had “root and branch” inquiries into politicians' entitlements before.

Not so super changes to workers superannuation

For a long time, superannuation was available only to permanent public sector workers and managerial employees in the private sector. So-called “blue collar” workers were not so privileged. In the mid-1980s, only about a quarter of these workers had access to superannuation, more often than not following union-led campaigns in targeted industries.

Carlo's Corner: Why have unions when fair-minded bosses are willing to email mass dismissal notices?

What do working people in a country like Australia need with trade unions or legal protections when employers in this country are so thoughtful as to email their workers at midnight to tell them they were sacked, as Hutchison Ports kindly did on August 6 to nearly 100 port workers in Sydney and Brisbane?

Socialist councillor stands up to death threats from racists

Victoria Police announced on August 6 they had arrested and charged a 38-year-old man in connection with death threats made against Socialist Party councillor Steve Jolly, from Yarra Council in Melbourne’s inner north. The threats referred to Jolly’s prominent role in mobilisations countering the far right Islamophobic groups Reclaim Australia and United Patriots Front (UPF).

‘Anti-terror’ laws and solidarity with the Kurdish struggle

Jamie Williams, a 28-year-old Melbourne man, was remanded in custody on July 27 after being charged by the Melbourne Joint Counter Terrorism Team for attempting to leave Australia on December 28 to travel to northern Iraq and fight with Kurdish forces against the Islamic State and Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Green Left Weekly’s Zane Alcorn spoke to Rob Stary, who has been representing Williams in this case, about the anti-terror laws and the Kurdish liberation struggle.

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Why the fight against Adani’s mega coalmine is far from over

Mining giant Adani’s plan for a mega coalmine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin was dealt a near death blow on August 5 when the Federal Court set aside approval for the Carmichael licence.

The mine, if built, would be Australia’s largest, exporting up to 60 million tonnes of coal from the Great Barrier Reef coast every year. The federal environment minister gave the $16.5 billion mine and rail project approval in July last year. The current and former Queensland governments have been gung-ho in their support for the mine.

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