“I have never believed in class warfare,’’ declared Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in his speech to the National Press Club in Canberra on July 11. Has St Kevin found the solution to the class divisions that have plagued human society for thousands of years? I say “St Kevin” because he appears to have produced a more spectacular miracle than any performed by Pope John Paul II, who the Vatican is about to make a saint.
I want to start by acknowledging that we’re meeting here today on stolen Aboriginal land, the land of the Jagera and Turrbal people, and that their sovereignty over this land was never ceded, and that it always was, and always will be Aboriginal land. We all know that Australia has experienced an unprecedented mining boom over the past decade. This boom is slowing now, but it is still producing huge wealth. Over the last decade, profits of the mining companies have gone up by 400%. The big mining corporations now make almost a quarter of all profits in this country.
Fremantle city councillor and Socialist Alliance candidate for Fremantle, Sam Wainwright, spoke at a GetUp forum in Perth on June 14. *** Last week I passed a gathering outside a fundraiser for Julia Gillard at Victoria Hall in Fremantle. One of the chants initiated by the single parents action group was: “Pension cuts, no way. Make the mining bosses pay.”
Some environment NGOs have been quick to say that Australia’s carbon price has sharply cut carbon emissions in its first year. The claims not only contradict the evidence, but are positively deceptive: an exercise to cast a deeply flawed policy as a serious response to climate change.
As the global financial crisis unfolded in October 2008, part of the Australian government’s response was to provide unlimited guarantees of bank deposits and wholesale funding. One result was that the big four banks got bigger while little was said of the $13.8 trillion in off-balance-sheet derivatives to which they were exposed. Derivatives operate in a global over-the-counter (OTC) market that is almost totally unregulated.
About 400 activists from across Australia converged on Sydney over June 21-23 for Australia’s Climate Action Summit 2013. As the science of climate change becomes ever more alarming, and as the refusal of business and political elites to act becomes ever more glaring, the activists met to share ideas and strategies to build a strong movement for a safe climate.
The Illawarra regions of Shellharbour, Shoalhaven and Kiama combined have the highest unemployment rate in the country, at 15.3%, the Australia Bureau of Statistics said. This is 178% higher than the national average of 5.5%. If Wollongong is included, the average figure is 10.2%, 85% higher than the national average. The decline in manufacturing has hit the region hard. In 2011, Bluescope announced it would sack 700 workers at its Port Kembla steelworkers. In response to those sackings, Patrick Stevedoring announced the next month that it was sacking 160 wharf workers at Port Kembla.
In the wake of Ford's decision to close up in Australia, at the cost of 1200 jobs directly and potentially more 10,000 manufacturing jobs all up, fellow corporate giant Holden publicly said it was “ready to seek” more government subsidies.
"By keeping, if needed, all Labor's budget cuts and by not implementing any of their budget spending measures unless specified, we will achieve the first duty of every government -- namely, to preserve the nation's finances," said Tony Abbott in his budget reply speech. This is what is to come under an Abbott government -- a continuation of Labor's cuts and restraint when it comes to spending.
After a week of being subjected to headache-inducing politicians posturing and spinning about the Great Budget Deficit, all that was needed was that speech from Richest-Australian-and-Walking-ATM Gina Rinehart. Billionaire Numero Uno was only outdone by Billionaire-Would-Be-PM Clive Palmer, who successfully outflanked, on Q&A, Labor and Liberals from the left on the treatment of refugees.