Bill Shorten

Asylum seeker Abdul Aziz Muhammad asked the ABC’s Q&A panel on December 4 in a video question why the 650 men on Manus Island are being used as political pawns in a life or death game.

Aziz, who has been imprisoned on Manus Island for 4.5 years, said he had seen 6 friends die because of violence and medical negligence.

The federal Coalition government is on the skids. It seems only a matter of time before it will be forced to an early election.

The latest sign of panic by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was the November 20 decision to delay the last sitting of the House of Representatives by a week to December 4.

The stated justification for this blatant lock-out of opposition and independent MPs — that it would facilitate the passing of equal marriage legislation by the end of the year — does not wash.

Coalition finance minister Mathias Cormann told an admiring audience at the conservative Sydney Institute on August 23 that Labor leader Bill Shorten was “channelling” Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders.

If only...

Recently Facebook reminded me of a “memory” of an article I posted three years ago. I had said that I was doing the happy dance because we were making progress and were finally being heard.

The revelations from the Panama papers continue to reverberate around the world. While the Australian angle has so far been a bit anticlimactic, it did kick off a discussion about the banking sector and tax havens.

Bill Shorten, in an uncharacteristic display of spinal-cord solidification, seized the initiative and announced that the Labor Party would conduct a Royal Commission into the banking industry if elected.

"Let's take the big banks head on over their crimes and their attempts to cover up their massive financial rip-offs, and nationalise them under workers' and community control," Peter Boyle, Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of Sydney in the upcoming federal election, said on April 14. Boyle was responding to reports the banks were considering a huge advertising blitz against plans by the Greens and the Labor Party to launch a Royal Commission into the banking and finance sectors.

You might expect that this year's Mardi Gras parade, which came just days after the institutional apologies to the original queer rights activists — the 78ers — would be free of the political heavy handedness that launched Mardi Gras as an annual protest march in 1978.

Hundreds of pro-refugee protesters rallied in Melbourne on February 27, calling on political leaders to let refugees stay and close the prison camps.

The action was called in response to a visit by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition leader Bill Shorten to the Lonsdale St Greek Festival. People chanted “Turnbull, Shorten. Blood on your hands” and “Let them stay" as they arrived on the stage.

The action was called by Refugee Action Collective and First Nations Liberation.

Unions for Refugees released this statement of solidarity with the stand taken by doctors and nurses at Lady Cilento Children's Hospital in Brisbane staff on February 12.

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Unions for Refugees would like to congratulate the stand taken by doctors and nurses at the Lady Cilento Children's Hospital in Brisbane in support of 12-month-old Baby Asha. We encourage every unionist to extend their solidarity to them.

Faction Man: Bill Shorten's Path to Power
David Marr
Quarterly Essay No. 59
Black Inc., 2015

Even the usually perceptive journalist David Marr, in his latest political profile for Quarterly Essay, is defeated by the indistinct and bland Shorten who, in public opinion polls, trails behind “Someone Else” as preferred leader of the Labor Opposition.

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