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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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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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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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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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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On the Road to Recognition

On the Road to Recognition Tanya Hosch, deputy campaign director for the growing movement to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia’s Constitution, explains why recognition and removing discrimination from our national rule book matters to every Australian.   On one of the late lingering days of autumn last May, two thousand people turned up to Melbourne’s Federation Square to hear some speeches about a...

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The Abbott Government’s Damning Record

The Abbott Government’s Damning Record  Harold Levien   During the six months since the Coalition achieved government it has pursued an extraordinary mix of behaviours and policies.  Its inaction to major economic events has had disastrous impacts on the future of the economy. It has amended or attempted to remove legislation of the previous government, including the attempted emasculation of the Labor Government’s climate change...

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Unravelling universalism in the Budget; Plus vote for the world’s worst boss.

The importance of being earnest By Frank Barbaro Treasurer Joe Hockey’s 2014 Budget delivery on Tuesday 12 May was an earnest public display befitting a solemn and grave task. When announcing government decisions, that widen and deepen misery, anything else would have been unfitting. The privileged are always good at expressing feeling about the pain they cause for others. Budget night’s mood...

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The great mistakes: Paul Howes vs social democracy

Paul Howes vs social democracy by Geoff Dow AWU National Secretary Paul Howes announced his resgnation as National Secretary of the Australian Workers' Union in late March. He is  looking for opportunities outside the movement. A 'profile' in the Australian Financial Review coincided with his announcement. According to the profile, Howes vision for the labour movement is to 'embrace capitalism'; similarly, he says that unions 'need to embrace...

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The Great Leap Backward: Criminal Law Reform with the Hon Jarrod Bleijie

Australian Options has published two previous articles about the VLAD Act in Queensland. A comprehensive review and critique of the approach to criminal law reform in Queensland has been published in the Sydney Law Review by Andrew Trotter and Harry Hobbs.   As their asbstract says This article places the reforms in their historical context to illustrate that together they constitute a great leap backward that unravels centuries of gradual...

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Why does Australia need manufacturing industry? .

WHY DOES AUSTRALIA NEED MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY?   Phillip Toner and Frank Stilwell   Australian manufacturing is suffering from a deep-seated and long-standing malaise. The high value of the Australian dollar in the last few years has made it difficult for Australian producers to compete in world markets, so exports have been struggling while domestic markets have been eroded by cheaper imports. The dollar’s fall in recent months has...

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Peace Convergence
 April 20 – 25, 2014 Canberra

    Peace Convergence
 April 20 – 25 2014 Canberra Independent and Peaceful Australian Network
 IPAN is a network of organisations and peace activists from all regions of Australia who are united by our support for an independent Australian foreign policy based on peaceful resolution of conflicts. Website: http://www.ipan.org.au Facebook: www.facebook.com/IndependentAndPeacefulAustraliaNetwork We’re interested in building a...

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2013 Wheelwright Memorial Lecture in Political Economy Susan George The Growing Power of Illegitimate Authority 29th August, 6pm, Eastern Avenue Auditorium, University of Sydney Susan George is renowned for her ground-breaking analyses of global issues. Her lecture will reflect on the growing power of illegitimate authority in transnational corporations and other institutions that are not democratically accountable for their actions. Susan is...

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Locked Hugh influenced a generation of urban activists by Patrick Troy

I first met Hugh Stretton in mid 1966 as a newly appointed member of the Urban Research Unit in the Research School of Social Sciences. Hugh was coming to the end of a sabbatical year in the History Program. He had completed his work on the book The Political Sciences and looking to find ways of translating his experience of living in a planned environment. Talking with him was a refreshing and challenging experienced because he forced you to...

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Locked Thank you, Hugh Stretton by Frank Stilwell

Hugh Stretton was an influential and generous founding member of this journal and has been its longstanding patron. The following tributes to him indicate the contributions this fine public intellectual has made to progressive ideas and policies in Australia.   Hugh Stretton is a great Australian social scientist.  Starting as a historian – becoming Chair of the History department at the University of Adelaide in 1954 – he has made...

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Who has the energy to care about misogyny anymore? by Lisa Jackson

The day after Julia Gillard’s famous ‘misogyny speech’, there was a lively conversation in my workplace – like those around Australia. The views ranged from: “She sounds like a whinger...“Huge mistake. She’s shown weakness, they’ll eat her alive”, to “Women will love it...no-one rates a victim.  She’s shown real backbone, best thing she’s ever done.” And so the conversations went. Julia’s ratings turned skyward. The...

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Locked What price a woman’s life? by Chris Atmore

In September 2012, Australians were horrified by the rape and murder of Jill Meagher, a Melbourne woman who disappeared after leaving her local bar and whose body was subsequently discovered in bushland. A man who, it seems, did not know her, will face trial. The following month, the body of Sargun Ragi was found following a house fire in a Melbourne suburb. She had apparently been stabbed to death by her sexually abusive husband, who then died...

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Locked Government neglect of the Great Barrier Reef by Terry Hughes

The Queensland Government has released a new document for public consultation, entitled Great Barrier Reef Ports Strategy. It presents the State Government’s “vision” for guiding the future port development and planning in the Great Barrier Reef coastal region until 2022. According to the Queensland report, the Great Barrier Reef ‘remains the most protected and one of the best managed marine areas in the world’.  In reality, the Great...

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Locked What type of growth do we want?

The following article is an extract from the speech presented by Senator Christine Milne, Leader of the Australian Greens, to the National Press Club on 26 September 2012. This part of her speech mounts an attack on the narrow conception of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a measure of progress. She posits a broader conception of growth that reflects social needs and ecological capacities, and indicates policies that would help to achieve it. An...

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Locked Austerity policies increase unemployment and inequality without reducing deficits or borrowings

Austerity policies increase unemployment and inequality without reducing deficits or borrowings

Since 2010, many European governments have adopted austerity policies in an attempt to reduce the budget deficits and increases in government borrowing that were caused by the 2007/8 financial crisis. Yet cuts in public expenditure are not very successful in reducing budget deficits and government borrowing. Instead they are very successful in stifling economic recovery, creating a second wave of recessions and increasing unemployment and...

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Locked Building a good society

Australia can be a good society but it must be actively and consciously built. Free markets left to their own devices will not bring this and conventional neo-liberal economics will not produce a good life for the majority of Australians. Instead, I believe we need a new social contract built on a stable, prosperous, broad-based economy. Its central tenets will be full employment, decent living wages and a comprehensive social safety net....

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