Australia

Dyson Heydon has shown his political bias

Dyson Heydon will not step down as commissioner investigating corruption in trade unions, having decided to ignore the widespread perception of his political bias.

Whatever else he might be, Heydon is no fool. When he accepted the job as royal commissioner he knew what was expected of him.

The commission was set up as a political witch-hunt into unions, designed to give the Coalition government an issue which it thought it could win the next election with.
Heydon was happy to oblige and has been handsomely paid for doing so.

Mark Dapin's Vietnam War novel — cynical, emotionally wounded males run amok

R&R: A Novel
By Mark Dapin
Viking, 2015, 287 pp, $32.99

Mark Dapin is a rising star of Australian writing, having first made his mark as a journalist with a string of newspapers. He is a knock-about sort of working-class bloke, who brushed up against the British socialist movement before migrating, a bit of a boxer as well as a writer.

Interviewing the light welterweight world champion Kostya Tszyu for the Sydney Morning Herald, Dapin famously persuaded Tszyu to let him spar with him in the ring. Tszyu didn’t muck about, breaking three of Dapin’s ribs.

Footballers battle for better pay, collective agreement

With industrial disputes breaking out on wharves and warehouses around the country, conflict is also brewing between those who kick the roundball on the nation's football (soccer) pitches and those who administer the game.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) is locked in a long-running dispute with players — represented by their union, the Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) — over a new collective bargaining agreement.

The PFA is seeking a better pay deal for the national men's team (Socceroos) and national women's team (Matildas), as well as an A-League salary cap and wage rise.

The crimes of Robert Menzies

Robert Menzies achieved many things in his long political career. To remain prime minister as long as he did, Menzies kicked the communist can for as much as it was worth.

He also benefited from a split in the Australian Labor Party and the ALP’s remarkable talent for shooting itself in the foot. By choosing ineffectual leaders — Doc Evatt was brilliant but erratic, while Arthur Calwell was dour, dull and unelectable — the ALP was putty in Menzies’ clever political hands.

The 'Uluru bark petition', when culture backfires

On August 13, anti-marriage equality campaigner and Liberal government minister Senator Eric Abetz was presented with a petition against marriage equality — the "Uluru bark petition" — by Black pastor Peter Walker, who claimed to speak on behalf of "Aboriginal Australia".

July 2015 was warmest month ever recorded

Despite the overwhelming evidence, the federal government does not believe that climate change is real.

The Climate Council recommended a reduction of 45% to 65% of Australia’s 2005 carbon emission levels as the minimum that would be required to prevent runaway climate change.

Cuts to paid parental leave will widen gender pay gap

After his resounding success in the immigration portfolio — in which international treaty obligations were trashed, human rights trammelled, and asylum seekers fleeing from persecution were greeted with perverse punishment — Scott Morrison was promoted to minister for social services where he wasted no time attacking the unemployed, the disabled and aged pensioners.

It seemed impossible to go any lower. But if anyone was going to manage it, it was the minister whose arrogance is outweighed only by his ambition to be prime minister.

Now it is expectant mothers he is trying to vilify.

Kathy Jackson ordered to pay back $1.4 million

The financial scandal in the Health Services Union (HSU) involving its national president Michael Williamson and former national secretary Craig Thompson ended in the courts when both of them were convicted for fraud and theft offences.

It became the trigger for Prime Minister Tony Abbott to announce on February 10 last year that he was setting up a Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption headed by former High Court judge Dyson Heydon.

Iranian asylum seekers being intimidated to return

Asylum seekers from Iran whose claims for refugee status have been rejected are being intimidated into “voluntary” repatriation. The Australian government does not have an agreement with the Iranian government which will not accept the forced return of those who have fled the country.

Theatre show tells lesser-known story of Aboriginal struggle

Coranderrk: We Will Show The Country
By Giordano Nanni & Andrea James
Starring Uncle Jack Charles, Jim Daly & Syd Brisbane
La mama Courthouse, Melbourne
Until August 23
Tour around Victoria, Sept 8-19
Tickets www.lamama.com.au

A new theatre show will tell the story of a lesser known struggle of the First Nations.

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