Fighting Fund

 

Australia has long had one of the most monopolised media industries in the world. Indeed, when Green Left Weekly was launched in 1991, one of our key slogans was “Break the media monopoly — support Green Left Weekly”. Today it is even more relevant.

Ever tried to book a flight online, made a mistake and then found that either there was no one available to help you fix it or that it was just going to cost you more anyway? I have, while experiencing the fury that everyone feels at the helplessness and injustice of it all.

I would consider myself to be relatively computer and internet literate. However this era of new technology and electronic media excludes vast numbers of people and disadvantages them terribly.

After 25 years, it is clearer than ever that privatisation of electricity in Australia has been a disaster for people and the planet.

In the early 1990s, prior to privatisation, energy prices in Australia were some of the lowest in the world and had been dropping for decades. That trend was sharply reversed following privatisation. Today, households are paying skyrocketing prices and growing numbers of Australians are now living in “energy poverty”.

Their accountants and lawyers have done their annual magic. They have massaged the numbers, whisked away a gazillion or more dollars to the Cayman Islands, or some other tax haven and — oh, what a miracle — they have managed to reduce their taxable income to zero (or better still, into the offset bliss of notional “losses”).

And all this while they sit by the pool, sipping only-the-best champers.

What a life — for some.

The fate of more than 600 people rescued at sea by the Doctors Without Borders rescue ship Aquarius is one more example of the impact of right wing populism on human rights in Europe today.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is the highest-paid leader in the entire Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), according to a recent report.

Analysis by market research group IG also showed Turnbull earns up to 10 times the average Australian wage — the second-highest disparity with the majority of ordinary workers among OECD countries.

I’ve been a Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) member for 15 years and I cannot remember a time when the union was not portrayed as a pack of gangster-like thugs, who standover "innocent" bosses.

Somehow the nature of a tough, multi-billion dollar industry with a history of being the most dangerous in the country always gets lost in the propaganda.

So imagine my delight, along with tens of thousands of other CFMEU members, when blackmail charges against union officials John Setka and Shaun Reardon were dropped on May 16.

It is bad enough that Australia is not on track to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 26–28% on 2005 levels by 2030, as it is notionally committed to doing, but according to the government's own figures, it is only set to reduce them by 5%. What makes it worse is that even the 26–28% target is very conservative and unlikely to be sufficient.

In truth, wealthy industrialised countries like ours should be seeking to become net zero emission economies and societies, both because we can and because it is simply not worth gambling with the continued existence of life as we know it.

I awoke this morning to Radio National telling me that United States President Donald Trump could be in line for a Nobel Peace Prize.

What the … is black white? Had I awoken in a dystopian parallel universe?

Last week, the creep was bombing Syria. This week he’s the world’s greatest peacemaker and British bookies are slashing the odds on Trump and Kim Jong-un getting a Nobel Prize!

This issue of Green Left Weekly will hit the streets on May 1, an important day for the labour movement around the world.

Here, May Day marches and events around the country will form part of the ACTU’s “Change the Rules” campaign. These 12 days of action will culminate on May 9 in Melbourne, when workers from across all unions will take part in what promises to be the biggest weekday industrial rally in years.

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