Australia

Smaller parties celebrate gains in Victorian election

When Labor claimed victory in the Victorian elections, many of the smaller parties also celebrated their electoral success.

The Greens won their first seat in Victoria’s Lower House, with the victory of Ellen Sandell over the incumbent Jennifer Kanis, the only Labor MP in the Legislative Assembly to lose a seat.

Free trade deal threatens jobs, environment

Australia signed a free trade agreement with China on November 17. The Coalition government and the media praise the agreement, but other groups are concerned about the implications.

More than 85% of Australian exports will be tariff free initially, rising to 93% in four years. Some of these goods are subject to tariffs of up to 40%. On full implementation of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, 95% of Australian exports to China will be tariff free.

Obeid must now obey a court summons

If the need for an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) in NSW was obvious when it was established in 1989, a report released in 2010 showed why it is absolutely indispensible.

This was an ICAC study of registered lobbyists that found there were 272 individual lobbyists listed in NSW. They included 22 former state or federal MPs and 112 staffers and advisers — about half of all lobbyists.

The fight to win the vote for women

In the Social Contract, published in 1762, Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote that, “man is born free, and everywhere is in chains”. The French Revolution determined to remedy this state of affairs and its chosen instrument was a constitution setting out “natural, imprescriptible and inalienable rights”.

Carlo's Corner: Do we really have to be so uncouth while killing the planet?

If there was one thing that seemed, finally, to unite this divided nation, it was the overwhelming sense of embarrassment at Prime Minister Tony Abbott's performance at the G20 Summit and other recent international platforms.

Hell, even the US media were talking about how cringe-worthy Abbott is, which, given the usual standard of American politicians, is a bit like having Andrew Bolt pull you up for being too racist.

Save Victoria’s threatened owls

Three species of owls are in danger of becoming extinct in Victoria, because the Victorian government has failed to protect the forest habitat where the Sooty, Masked and Powerful owls live.

The Powerful and Sooty owls are listed as vulnerable and the Masked owl is endangered, according to Victoria's Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988. Management plans for the owls state that the Powerful and Masked owls require at least 100 areas of 500 hectares each, while the Sooty owl needs 131 areas of at least 500 hectares.

Scott Morrison’s bill ‘tantamount to piracy’

A Senate committee recommended on November 24 that immigration minister Scott Morrison’s sweeping migration amendments be passed by parliament.

The Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Asylum Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014 would give Morrison unprecedented powers without the scrutiny of either parliament or the courts.

Capitalism is failing the planet

Climate change is the biggest and most urgent threat facing humanity today.

We are seeing global temperatures rise at an unprecedented rate, with 13 of the 14 warmest years on record having occurred in the past 14 years.

In fact, if you are under 37 years of age, you have never seen a year of below average temperature.

Last year in Australia, over 150 weather records were broken, including experiencing our hottest day, week, month and year on record. It is likely that these records will not be long-standing, with all signs indicating they will be broken again this coming summer.

Protests against closure of 150 Aboriginal communities

Aboriginal activists rallied on the steps of parliament house in Perth on November 12 to protest against the Western Australian government’s plan to close 150 remote Aboriginal communities. The rally also condemned the federal government’s plan to cut funding to 180 remote indigenous communities in Western Australia.

READ MORE: COLIN BARNETT 'HELL-BENT' ON DESTROYING COMMUNITIES

Qld government funds coal rail line

The G20 barriers were still in place, the interstate police contingents had not left Brisbane, and US President Barack Obama’s “Brisbane” speech calling for protection for the Great Barrier Reef was still resonating when Premier Campbell Newman announced he had brokered a deal with Indian mining company Adani.

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