democracy

New Greens MP Michael Berkman is looking forward to the opportunity to put Greens policies and values forward as the new member for Maiwar.

He told Green Left Weekly that it was a “hugely significant result” for the Greens to win their first seat in Queensland and a significant increase in their vote in other seats.

“One of the common myths about the Greens is that it is a wasted vote,” he said. And that is a myth he is keen to bust.

The federal government’s building industry watchdog, the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), has issued new Building Code rules that specifically ban the Eureka Flag from being displayed on building sites. If an employer breaches the code, they become ineligible to compete for government work.

Barnaby Joyce thought he was untouchable. But for the Malcolm Turnbull government in crisis mode, it seems he could be dispensable.

The week before last, it appeared that Joyce’s media and parliamentary advisors may have just managed to save his skin. After the tabloids splashed news of his affair — including a picture of Vikki Campion, Joyce's former media advisor and now partner — we had the “Look, I never said I was an angel” line.

US Secretary of State and former CEO of oil giant Exxon Mobil Rex Tillerson has threatened Venezuela with a ban on oil exports, only days after hinting that the country’s president, Nicolas Maduro, could be overthrown by a military uprising.

Describing Venezuela’s armed forces as a possible “agent of change”, Tillerson suggested on February 1 that the military could “manage a peaceful transition” should they remove Maduro from office.

The purpose of the Turnbull government is to clear every obstacle it can to help big business maximise its profits.

No environmental protection or social good is too important to be sacrificed for this goal. No surprise then that they are trying to cripple freedom of expression. For them, the more people are ignorant, confused and in fear the better.

Take these three assaults on our ability to analyse and criticise their actions.

The journalists’ union and legal organisations have warned that the federal Coalition government’s latest amendments to the Criminal Code Act 1995 would make it difficult, if not impossible, to report on what the government does behind closed doors.

A coalition of socialists announced on February 5 that they are forming the Victorian Socialists to field a ticket to contest the Northern Metropolitan Legislative Council seat in the November state election.

There is a real estate billboard on the Hume Highway in Sydney that declares: “Un-see this!”. Despite ASIO having seized the Cabinet Files from the offices of the ABC, the glimpses we have had of their contents will remain a reminder of the insidious agenda of successive Coalition governments and ministers.

We can’t “un-see” the evidence now.

Frieda Afary is a US-based Iranian socialist and a member of the recently formed Alliance of Middle Eastern Socialists. She spoke to Green Left Radio’s January 26 show on Melbourne community radio station 3CR, on the significance of the recent protests in Iran. Her comments are abridged below and edited for clarity.

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Early on January 30, Roger Torrent, speaker of the Catalan parliament elected on December 21, suspended that day’s session, which had been set to elect outgoing president Carles Puigdemont as head of the new Catalan government.

The decision of Torrent, leading member of the pro-independence Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), came after the Spanish Constitutional Court ruled two days earlier that electing the exiled Puigdemont could not take place in absentia.

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