Fighting Fund

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.

We are often asked: "How do you do it?". People who have seen Green Left Weekly keep going on the proverbial smell of an oily rag often express surprise (and respect) for the fact that we have doggedly kept going with this project since 1991.

Well, it is hard work. Putting the stories together, collecting the photos and videos that are increasingly important in our online presence and distributing it week after week is no easy feat. 

Following the resignation of former Goldman Sachs executive Gary Cohn as the Trump administration's Chief Economic Advisor, US President Donald Trump tweeted: “Will be making a decision soon on the appointment of new Chief Economic Advisor. Many people wanting the job — will choose wisely!”

I am sure he's right on at least the first part of that tweet. There will undoubtedly be a conga line of other corporate bloodsuckers eager to take the job.

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