Our Common Cause

'Class consciousness is knowing which side of the fence you’re on. Class analysis is figuring out who is there with you.' — Slogan from a 1970s poster, author unknown.

The newly formed "Industrial Left" faction of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) in Victoria combined with the right at the party's state conference on May 28 to block discussion about imposing a 90 day time limit on offshore detention.

The Global Day of Action for Women's Health was on May 28. Around the world, the preceding week was punctuated by significant actions for abortion rights.

The most significant was the resounding Yes vote in the May 25 Irish referendum on removing the ban on abortion from the constitution. This gave a shot in the arm to the campaign for abortion rights in the six counties of Northern Ireland, where the anti-abortion provisions of British Offences Against the Person Act from 1861 remain in force.

Australia is continuing to avoid any possibility that it might stand up for Palestinian sovereignty and human rights with its behaviour at the United Nations.

Labor Opposition leader Bill Shorten delivered his budget reply speech on May 10, promising to deliver a “bigger, better and fairer tax cut for 10 million working Australians”.

The wealthy and corporations got a visit from Santa Claus, but the rest of us got Scrooged again on Budget night.

A windfall in tax income — derived in part from higher than expected royalties and corporate taxes in the mining sector, owing to higher prices for iron ore, coal and oil — provided ideal conditions for the government’s pre-election budget.

There was never a chance that Treasurer Scott Morrison would use this windfall to boost social spending — that just wouldn’t accord with the Malcolm Turnbull government’s “trickle down” economics.

The recent pill testing trial at the Groovin’ the Moo music festival, demonstrated why pill testing is an effective harm minimisation activity but also why we need to end drug prohibition in Australia and to effectively regulate the quality and supply of drugs here.

Progressive, activist campaign groups such as GetUp!, 350.org and Friends of the Earth have been in the federal Coalition government’s sights for some time.

However, a new bill introduced into parliament threatens to also frustrate the work of human rights, environmental, women’s, international aid and social justice NGOs and charities.

Socialist Alliance’s Indigenous Rights spokesperson Sam Watson considers there has been “a definite strengthening and expansion of the Black political struggle”. Watson was referring to the record-breaking attendance of tens of thousands of people at Invasion Day rallies around the country on January 26.

“You can't really pinpoint this phenomenon geographically or by age or gender,” he said.

Australia’s 33 billionaires increased their wealth by more than $38 billion dollars last year — or more than $1 billion each. That is more than $3 million each a day!

At the other end of the spectrum, Credit Suisse data cited in the Sydney Morning Herald showed the wealth of the bottom half of Australians declined in the same period alongside stagnating wage growth.

If you’ve had the misfortune to watch former Labor leader Mark Latham’s video on changing the date of Australia Day you’ll know how desperate the debate has become.

Latham presents a world of full surveillance, where citizens live in fear of their secret lamington and lamb celebrations of our wide, brown land being discovered by the unseen politically correct police — followed by a call by Alice Springs town councillor and Warlpiri woman Jacinta Price to not be ashamed to celebrate Australia’s national day.

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