Comment and Analysis

Warmongering musings of mad monk Tony Abbott

In August last year, Prime Minister Tony Abbott thought it would be a good idea to send 1000 Australian soldiers to Ukraine. Their intended purpose was to guard the crash site of the Malaysian Airlines plane that was shot down there killing 38 Australian citizens.

The proposal was quietly dropped after military planners advised that, as none of the troops could speak either Ukrainian or Russian, and would not be able to tell the difference between the militias of either country, it was not such a great idea after all.

The cost of cost-cutting statistics


The ABS's steam-powered computer systems are too outdated to run a census.

The various agencies of Australian governments have a capacity to access data generated by individuals that is unprecedented — one of the “benefits” of the communications revolution that we are living through.

Behind the RBA’s interest rate cut


As the sun sets on Australia’s mining boom the RBA feels it needs to stimulate the economy by lowering interest rates.

In February the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) reduced the cash rate to 2.25%, a rate it then maintained at its March meeting.

While there has been a great deal of commentary on this in the mainstream press, especially in the Australian Financial Review, the left press (for lack of a better term) has been stunningly silent.

Students determined to fight fee hikes

Despite widespread public opposition, Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Education Minister Christopher Pyne are determined to get their higher education deregulation bill through the Senate.

Students, on the other hand, are just as determined to stop it.

Mia Sanders, the UWS Bankstown Student Council Secretary and an education activist, told Green Left Weekly that students would not back down.

Medicare co-payment dumped, but battle continues

Health minister Sussan Ley’s announcement that the GP co-payment has been dropped was welcomed by Save Medicare Sydney (SMS). But the group warns: “Medicare is not safe while the rebate remains frozen and the government looks for other ways to dismantle universal health care.”

Jean Parker from SMS said: “Prime Minister [Tony] Abbott and Ley want Medicare bulk-billing to become a safety-net for the ‘vulnerable’.

What a just and fair NSW could look like

Blink and you might have missed it, but February 27 was the “Great Debate” between Luke Foley and Mike Baird.

The media reported that Premier Baird handed Labor’s Foley his election slogan, because Baird has no plan B for infrastructure without the electricity sell-off to fund $20 billion in projects.

Labor should not back Abbott's mass surveillance laws

If Tony Abbott’s government has its way, new laws further empowering Australia's secret police to greatly expand their mass surveillance powers will be rammed through federal parliament by mid-March.

But it will succeed only if the Australian Labor Party backs the Telecommunications (Interception and Access) Amendment (Data Retention) Bill.

Gas industry seeks a lifeline as opposition mounts

The onshore gas industry in south-east Australia is in trouble. Public opposition, low international oil prices and projected supply shortfalls have combined to cast doubt on the profitability of the industry.

The international finance company Credit Suisse has indicated that the LNG (liquefied natural gas) export facilities at Gladstone in Queensland may fall short of meeting their export contracts in coming years, by up to 30%.

The last refuge of scoundrel Abbott

Cartoon by Norrie.

Bellicose and racist jingoism is the last refuge of scoundrel Prime Minister Tony Abbott. His February 23 “National Security Statement” was blatant incitement of hatred, bigotry and suspicion against Australia's Muslim minority.

The system doesn’t offer young people a future

“Half the world is dying of starvation and the other half is dying of boredom.”

This expression, one of many popularised during the protests of the 1960s, encapsulates a feeling of alienation that many young people today can still relate to.

The capitalist world system, despite its proponents’ claims, does not offer a future worth having to any person, whether they live in the relatively secure - though increasingly less so - core nations or the impoverished and exploited periphery states.

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