economy

The Socialist Alliance estimated in 2010 that its key policies for social justice and environmental sustainability would cost a minimum of $81-140 billion a year. Any budget devised by a party focused on putting people and the planet before profits would look significantly different to the “safe” yet largely austere budget the federal Labor government released last week.

The United Nations General Assembly met after World War II in 1948 and committed to 30 articles on human rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) has been signed by most nations and serves in many cases as a legally binding document on human rights. Article 25 in the UDHR says: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing, and medical care.”

University students across Australia will take to the streets on May 14 to protest the federal Labor government’s $2.8 billion cuts to higher education. The call by the National Union of Students (NUS) for a “student strike against education cuts” has not only received support from students, but also the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), which covers university staff. On a number of campuses, NTEU members have been resisting cuts that university administrations claim are necessary due to lack of government funding.

Finally, we have a reason to get excited about elections. Yes, billionaire mining magnate Clive Palmer has formed a political party and is determined to become Australia’s next prime minister. For the first time in god knows how long, we have a real alternative to the tweedledum-tweedledee politics of the big parties. Palmer's bid for PM poses a crucial question: why shouldn’t those who own this country, run it too?

Economic forecasting agency BIS Shrapnel has reported that engineering work, spurred on by the mining boom, would be about $128 billion in Australia this financial year. It may be easy to suggest that, despite the rumours, the mining boom is set to continue long into the future. However, the report was quite downbeat. ABC Online said BIS Shrapnel predicted that a "slowdown in mining investment and its related infrastructure is expected to reduce activity by 5.4% next financial year … engineering construction will be 20% below this year's peak by 2016-2017."

The 39th anniversary of Portugal’s 1974 “revolution of the carnations” that overthrew a 48-year-long dictatorship, was marked on April 25 by a huge march against austerity in Lisbon. The symbols of that revolution — the carnations and the song “Grandola, Vila Morena” (broadcast in the early hours of April 25, 1974 as the signal to start the revolt )— were massively present. They now stand for the need for another rebellion, this time against the austerity imposed on the country by the “troika” -- the European Union, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund.
After being forced to admit that “clean coal” will never happen, the coal industry has fallen back on an old argument to justify itself — that Australia cannot live without the industry because it does so much for the economy by providing jobs and creating wealth.
When a political leader dies, it becomes compulsory to lie about their record. While much of Britain openly rejoiced at the death of Margaret Thatcher, the media snapped into reverential mode, giving over hours of airtime and several thousand miles of column inches to representatives of the ruling class to solemnly recite myths about her achievements. This wouldn’t matter so much if, like Thatcher, these myths were dead. But they are still shaping our policies. No ‘economic miracle’
It seems that everyone in Australia can now agree that a class war has erupted. Former Labor Party leader Simon Crean, recently sacked by Prime Minister Julia Gillard said: “The Labor Party has always operated most effectively when it has been inclusive, when it’s sought consensus, not when it has sought division, not when it has gone after class warfare.”
Hall Greenland, a respected left-wing activist, writer and journalist in Sydney, is the Greens candidate for the inner-west Sydney seat of Grayndler. Greenland was a Leichhardt councillor for the Labor Party in the 1980s, and served a second term as an independent between 1999 and 2004. He is president of the Friends of Callan Park, a community group which has waged a long struggle against the privatisation of a vital heritage area. Greenland is also the author of Red Hot, a biography of one of Australia’s earliest Trotskyists, Nick Origlass.

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