Mantles of fairness Editorial Issue 86

Mantles of fairness Editorial Issue 86

 Mantles of fairness   Budgets are politics dressed up as economics. Perhaps the most widespread view of the 2017 Budget is the Turnbull Government trying to retrospectively fix why it almost lost the 2016 Election. These include admitting to the unfairness of the 2014 Abbott-Hockey Budget and coating the 2017 Budget as fair.  As Michael Pascoe put in the Fairfax media, the Government is fixing ‘”Mediscare", education, housing...

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Hall Greenland – what the future could be like

The crises inherent in capitalism – and what transitions might look like   Hall Greenland   The old is dying and the new cannot be born: in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear. Antonio Gramsci   The future confronting humanity is either socialism or barbarism. Rosa Luxemburg   The future is already here, it’s just unevenly distributed Kevin Gibson   That most acute analyst of capitalism, Karl Marx,...

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Celeste Liddle on the Alt-Right & Hate Speech

Hate speech by another name: Why the term 'alt-right' should not be legitimised Celeste Liddle The first time I heard the phrase "alt-right" used with regard to political discourse, I honestly thought I was imagining it. Perhaps it's my lefty bias, but the idea that the right could have an "alternative" when they are the generally staunch defenders of the status quo (as they tend to benefit from it) seemed somewhat out of place. Yet since then,...

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Marcus Woolombi Waters on the Crisis of White Identity…

A Crisis of White Identity... By  Marcus Woolombi Waters With the US election now decided and Donald Trump as President Elect it’s interesting watching the shock and amazement that this could have ever happened. I read an article recently that provided some insight. 'Behind 2016’s Turmoil, a Crisis of White Identity' was written by Amanda Taub and published in the New York Times. It highlighted the rise of White supremacists across the...

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Editorial Issue No 85

Editorial Issue No 85

2017: The year of the rooster Trump's ascent to the US presidency gives a new meaning to the ‘year of the rooster’. Trump represents heightened conflict, climate chaos, racism and corporate rule. Republicans now control both houses of the US Congress as well as the governorship of 33 states. Conservative judges will soon dominate the US Supreme Court. The Trump administration is drawn from the corporates. It is strong on oil and gas...

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Editorial Issue No 84

Editorial Issue No 84

The election outcome   Prosperity, equality and democracy are objectives of progressive politics. The issue is how to get there.  Yet, the portents are so uncomfortable that it might be wise to rely on an old Irish adage, "I would not start from where we are now".   Economies are stagnant with high unemployment and under-employment. The IMF blames the Brexit vote for a reduction of a fifth in its forecast of global economic growth....

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Frank Stilwell on Turnbull’s Economic Plan

Q: When is an economic plan not an economic plan? A: When it's a mixture of wishful thinking, class bias and trickle-down economics.   Malcolm Turnbull's election pitch was that his government would produce more jobs and growth in the Australian economy, while eventually eliminating the budget deficit. It was the central message in his party's massive TV advertising during the last week (substantially funded by his own money, it has been...

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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 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 Scandal 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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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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Gaza Ceasefire Now!

Gaza: Ceasefire Now! On 14 July 2014, the International Trade Union Confederation, representing 176 million workers around the globe, issued a call for an immediate ceasefire in the fighting between Israel and Palestinians in Gaza. The ITUC expressed its full support for the UN Security Council resolution calling for "de-escalation of the situation, restoration of calm, reinstitution of the November 2012 ceasefire and respect for international...

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A new model for fairness in employment

A new model for fairness in employment    John Buchanan  The reality of work in contemporary Australia is hugely different from the conventional narrative that everyone who wants a good job can get one. Instead, limited private sector job growth and deteriorating job security are making employment economically and socially unsustainable. Employment is now the bearer of inequality and unfairness. Output per worker has nearly doubled over the...

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Equality and sustainability: Fundamental to the Australian way of life

Equality and sustainability: Fundamental to the Australian way of life Adam Bandt In this country, we value our work-life balance. In the beautiful land of the ‘fair go’, we traditionally value our time outside work and look after each other. Our country is defined by the beauty of our surroundings, land, sea and air. When we’ve finished work, we go out and enjoy the country. And we have put in place structures and systems, like...

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Debts and Deficits: A Primer

Debts and Deficits: A Primer by Jim Stanford   Introduction: Never Let a Crisis Go to Waste  By any yardstick – international, historical, financial – Australia’s public finances are strong and stable.  There is no question about government’s ability to pay its bills.  Indeed, government could certainly mobilize additional resources to finance expanded public sector activity, if Australians decided that was appropriate.   But...

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Labor Scrapes Back for a Fourth Term in SA

Labor Scrapes Back for a Fourth Term in SA  John Wishart and Jack Humphrys The Result The ALP has won a fourth term after 12 years in office. It will rely on the support of Port Pirie Independent Jeff Brock. Labor won 23 seats, the Liberals 22 and 2 sitting independents were returned. Bob Such, the second independent is likely to support the ALP Government, although he has yet to commit and has dramatically taken a 2 month leave of absence...

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