Comment and Analysis

Now, students must press the advantage against Christopher Pyne

The Senate has voted down Christopher Pyne’s Higher Education Reform Bill, which would uncap university fees. This is the second time that the legislation has been struck down. It puts Tony Abbott’s government on aan uneasy footing.

The defeat of the bill comes after Pyne spent weeks on a campaign to bully and threaten crossbenchers in parliament. This strategy included threatening to cut $150 million of research funding to the National Collaborative Research and Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) if the bill was not passed.

Resistance builds against plan to close Aboriginal communities

Thousands of people rallied in cities and towns around Australia on March 19 in opposition to the planned closure of around 150 remote Aboriginal communities in Western Australia.

The issue was thrust into the spotlight in September when the federal government — without consultation — announced that it would stop providing funding to these homeland communities from July 1 this year.

TPP would hurt public health in Australia

A report has found that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement would be likely to adversely affect the health of the Australian population.

The TPP is a free trade deal being negotiated by countries on the Pacific rim: the US, Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, Chile, Brunei, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Vietnam and Japan. These countries represent about 40% of global GDP.

Real jobs are the real issue this election

The silence around jobs in the NSW election is deafening.

Newcastle has been losing 200 jobs a year from the sale of state assets and the casualisation and retrenchment of state employees.

Up to 8000 workers in jobs such as fitters, boilermakers, welders, riggers and trades assistants in ship building and rail manufacture are also under threat.

Both major parties are focusing on other issues instead of the Hunter region’s jobs.

Fighting fund: Intergenerational theft is real

The latest buzzword the government is tossing around to try to scare people into supporting its grossly unfair budget is “intergenerational theft”. It recently released an Intergenerational Report, which looks at the budget over the next 40 years to back up this campaign.

The report says that in the future we will all live much longer and spend more of our lives in retirement. There will be a lower proportion of working people whose taxes pay for pensions and health care, so “we” have to start paying for it now.

Peter Dutton can ‘play God’ with refugees’ lives

The power to “play God” with the lives of asylum seekers was granted to Australia’s immigration minister by the passage of the most punitive refugee laws ever seen last December.

Former immigration minister Scott Morrison, who held refugee children to ransom to pressure recalcitrant senators to concede their votes, pushed through the laws.

Why you should vote socialist this election

This NSW election, like the Victorian and Queensland polls before it, hinges on growing public opposition to Tony Abbott’s federal government and the neoliberal policies implemented by Labor and Coalition state governments.

The sell-off of public assets and services, cuts to the public sector, unsustainable development, mining and unprecedented handouts and tax cuts to corporate interests and the super rich are now standard practice, and people have had enough.

Why health care in remote communities is not a ‘lifestyle choice’

Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s recent comments on the “lifestyle choice” of Aboriginal Australians living in remote areas are troubling, especially given his self-anointed role of “Prime Minister for Aboriginal Affairs”.

I have been privileged to work in Aboriginal health, in a rural centre of South Australia, for a number of years. The simplistic notion that people live in remote regions purely due to a lifestyle choice is far from reality.

Endangered animals make a comeback

Amid so much bad news about so many species of wildlife in danger of extinction, it is encouraging that there are finally some good stories about endangered wild animals.

There has been good news regarding rhinoceros conservation in India. The Indian state of Assam’s environmental ministry recently revealed that the population of Indian one-horned rhinoceros in the state had grown by 27% since 2006, hitting a high of 2544 animals. The Indian government has a goal of 3000 rhinos by 2020. There were only about 200 Indian rhinos in the early 1990s.

Intergenerational report a dishonest weapon of the 1%

Several commentators have pointed out that treasurer Joe Hockey's Intergenerational Report is a partisan document designed to bash Labor over the head.

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