How Does it Feel When big Business has too Much Power?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 14/03/2018 - 1:08pm in



We need to change the rules ...

... Much more than you imagine.

Anti-Shorten: The ALP is still selling bullshit

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 13/03/2018 - 3:34pm in


Australia, Marx, unions

image/jpeg icon1427303431154.jpg

A critique of the rehashed social democracy of the Australian Labor Party. Republished from The Word From Struggle Street - an anticapitalist blog from Brisbane

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Weather Alert.

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 07/03/2018 - 6:39pm in

Sarah Ferguson presented and Michael Brissenden reported "Weather Alert" for Four Corners, by ABC Channel 21, last Monday.

The political arguments over climate change have gone on for years, frustrating progress at every level.

Now, faced with the intransigence of the political system, a growing number of Australians are taking matters into their own hands. For them, climate change is no longer theoretical. It's here, now.

In tonight's story Michael Brissenden travels through the country meeting people who are changing their practices to cope with the new weather patterns. For all of them, farmers, wine makers, fruit growers, doctors and emergency service workers, adapting to climate change has become a necessity.

And corporate Australia has been warned that companies who do not adapt could be liable for the consequences.

There are no politicians in tonight's story … Only people who've seen, from their own experience, that the change to our climate is under way.

That's how things are under capitalist liberal democracy: the problems are there, they are evident to everybody who bothers to pay attention. And, yet, nothing ever gets done. But it's simplistic to blame politicians, as Brissenden does: it's not the players, but the game we play that sucks.

The game is called "capitalism".

Anecdotal Evidence.

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 01/03/2018 - 4:33am in


Australia, Science

Another summer is gone, woo-hoo!

This was a strange summer. I don’t think it was nearly as hot as last year’s, but I reckon it was a lot drier. There were some strangely cool spells (rather nice, actually), interspersed with extremely humid (mostly in the early morning) heat waves lasting a week or ten days. But no rains.

And something I really loved: no mozzies! You know how it is: no rains, no mozzies. Sure, there were cockies galore, but mozzies? Nope.

Come to think of it, I saw very few spiders and flies.

But that, of course, is all anecdotal, therefore real scientists pay no attention to it. Or at least, that’s what mainstream economists, who claim to be more scientific than the scientists, would say.

Funnily enough, that’s not what Australian entomologists, who are real scientists, do say. Someone’s gotta be right. What do you reckon?

Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce Quits As Private Affair Becomes Public Scandal

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 27/02/2018 - 9:09am in

In the public interest?

In the public interest? Image: Screenshot Mediawatch video from YouTube.

Colourful, unconventional and controversial Australian politician Barnaby Joyce has announced his resignation as leader of the National Party and Deputy Prime Minister of Australia effective on Monday, 26 February 2018. This follows a series of crises over recent months. The saga of both private and political scandal has dominated both mainstream and social media.

Dual Citizenship Debacle

In October 2017 the High Court ruled that his dual citizenship from Australia and New Zealand made his election to the House of Representatives in 2016 invalid. Nevertheless, he achieved a resounding victory in the subsequent by-election for his seat of New England and returned to his role as deputy PM.

Joyce has had a reputation as a larrikin [maverick] and self-promoter. Arts and science journalist Penny Durham was bemused by his newly-found modesty:

Public interest or private affair

The wheels on Barnaby ‘s bandwagon started to wobble when it was revealed in the mainstream media that he was living with a former member of his staff and they were expecting a child.

One of Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, claimed to have broken the story (although Online True Crime News Weekly is thought to have beaten them to the punch). The editor Christopher Dore posted their front page on Twitter:

There was considerable questioning by journalists and the general public about the ethics of revealing the private lives of parliamentarians. The ABC’s Mediawatch program asked whether it was a legitimate story in the public interest. One tweet had no doubt:

Champion of family values

Joyce is a conservative politician who represents a rural electorate. He has campaigned strongly about the importance of traditional values, especially traditional marriage, and against the dangers of promiscuity. He opposed same-sex marriage during the contentious postal survey last year so it was not surprising that many of its supporters saw this as gross hypocrisy. At the time, he told parliament that his marriage had broken down but did not mention his new partner.

Online True Crime News Weekly had in fact broken the story of the affair without revealing details in “MARRIAGE HYPOCRITE! Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce cheats on wife with long sexual affair with staffer while lecturing public on gays ruining marriage.”

Following the Daily Telegraph front page story, Rob Stott of pop culture website Junkee canvassed the issue:

One of the few times it’s acceptable to talk about the private life of a politician is when their private actions fail to live up to their public statements — when a politician’s hypocrisy is so clear and egregious that it can no longer be ignored.

Under that logic, the time to discuss Barnaby Joyce’s affair passed long ago.

There were assertions that the journalists in the Canberra press gallery were protecting Joyce during the by-election. At online journal ‘Independent Australia’, Ross Jones, who had also revealed the story in October, thought there had been a deliberate “shroud of silence”.

Alleged Abuse of Political Power

Following the outing by the Daily Telegraph, accusations of misuse of political power blew up, especially on social media. Firstly, it emerged that two of his National party colleagues, a government minister and the chief whip, had employed the staffer after she left Joyce’s office. In addition, the couple had been living rent-free for 6 months courtesy of a business “mate” of Joyce’s. There were also claims of misuse of travel allowances.

Sports tragic Master Sharky took to Twitter:

Prime Minister Speaks Out

The prospect of Joyce acting as PM while Malcolm Turnbull was Donald Trump’s guest in Washington seemed to bring matters to a political head. Turnbull gave his deputy a public dressing-down saying he “appalled all of us” and should “consider his own position”. Joyce fired back calling the PM “inept”.

Turnbull also announced a change to ministerial guidelines, prohibiting sexual relations between ministers and their staffers. Social media reveled in what became known as the #bonkban. Many saw the new rule as a distraction from the issue of political integrity:

Hashtag heaven

A host of hashtags has competed for social media attention. #Barnabygate was joined by #Beetrooter, a reference to both his ruddy, red complexion and ‘root’ [the Aussie slang for sexual intercourse].

#Barnabye throws in the towel

An accusation against Joyce by a prominent Western Australian woman of sexual harassment was the last straw. Though denying the claim, Joyce chose to resign his leadership of the National Party, a position that brings the deputy prime-ministership. This brought the inevitable hashtag #Barnabye:

The new Nationals leader and deputy PM is low profile Veterans Affairs minister Michael McCormack who is regarded as a safe choice. However, he is already copping criticism for his past when, as a journalist, he attacked homosexuality as “sordid”. He has since disowned his 1993 homophobic remarks. However, it didn’t stop social media user Kiera from letting fly on Twitter:

However, given his past tenacity, some are speculating about whether this is the end of Barnaby Joyce’s political career:

Taking a closer look at South Australia’s Indigenous age profile

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 26/02/2018 - 1:00pm in


One of. id’s blog readers recently contacted .id requesting further information regarding the age profile of younger persons across Australia and South Australia and the State’s Indigenous communities. This is an important subject given five of the seven health and education related outcomes in the Closing the Gap Prime Ministers Report (2018) relate to improving outcomes for Indigenous children.

Having recently joined .id from Adelaide I’m familiar with trends in South Australia’s Indigenous and Non-Indigenous population, having undertaken studies examining migration trends and regional growth/development in small areas across South Australia’s regions.     

One of the most useful tools a demographer has for understanding an area is an age profile.  Given the Indigenous context, examining age structures between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous populations helps to highlight potential barriers, as well as opportunities to better target government policy within specific areas and communities.


South Australia’s population aging faster than the rest of Australia

Looking first at South Australia’s total population by service groups, the populations largest cohorts are middle aged persons i.e. “parents and homebuilders” (35-49 years) and “older workers and pre-retirees” (50-59 years) followed by the “younger workforce” (25-34 years) (see Figure 1).

Relative to national averages South Australia’s population is older containing larger shares of “older workers” (50-59 years), “retirees” (60-69 years) and “elderly” (70+ years). On the other hand, shares of persons aged younger than 50 years – most notably the “young workforce” (25-34 years) are below national averages, favouring large capital cities for work/lifestyle (i.e. Sydney and Melbourne). South Australia’s faster aging population is a long-term trend driven by higher net outflows of younger skilled workers (people in their 20s) relative to other states due to economic factors.

Figure 1

Population shares by service group, Australia and South Australia, all persons, percent, Census 2016

Source: ABS, Census of Population and Housing, 2016.

Australia’s Indigenous population by State and Territory

Looking at the national Indigenous population, the number of Indigenous persons in Australia was 648,947 comprising 2.8 percent of all residents in 2016 (see Table 1) or a small fraction of the total population.

At the state level, approximately 60 per cent of Indigenous Australians lived in two states, New South Wales (216,171 persons | 33.3 per cent) and Queensland (186,484 persons | 28.7 per cent). South Australia’s Indigenous population of 34,190 persons accounted for 5.3 per cent of the national Indigenous population – a relatively small share of the Australian total.

Table 1

Population by state/territory, total persons and Indigenous, number and share, Census 2016

Number of persons
Share of persons

Total       persons
Indigenous persons
Share of Australia’s Indigenous persons
Share of state/country

New South Wales



South Australia

Western Australia


Northern Territory

Australian Capital Territory


Source: ABS, Census of Population and Housing, 2016.

Note: States and territories may not sum to total.

Indigenous South Australians have a younger age profile

A distinguishing feature of the Indigenous population on a state/territory basis is their younger age profile (see Figure 2). Comparing South Australia’s Indigenous age profile with the State’s total, shows 40 per cent of Indigenous persons are aged 0-17 years i.e. are “babies and pre-schoolers” and/or “primary and secondary schoolers”, nearly double the 21 per cent share for the total population. The opposite relationship occurs at the older end of the Indigenous age profile, i.e. shares of Indigenous persons aged 50+ i.e. “older workers”, “retirees” and “elderly” is less than half the share compared with the total population, 17 per cent versus 38 per cent for the total population. Such differences being driven by higher Indigenous total fertility rates (TFR’s) and higher mortality rates compared with the Non-Indigenous population. Consequently, the Indigenous age profile is skewed towards younger age cohorts.

Figure 2

South Australian population shares by service group, total persons and Indigenous, percent, Census 2016

Source: ABS, Census of Population and Housing, 2016.

Over half of South Australia’s Indigenous population lives in Adelaide

The 2016 Census shows a wider geographical distribution in the Indigenous population compared to the Non-Indigenous. In South Australia (a highly urbanised state) 78 per cent of the Non-Indigenous population lived in Greater Adelaide compared with 54 per cent of the Indigenous population (see Table 2). Although the majority of Indigenous persons live in Greater Adelaide, the State’s Indigenous population has a larger regional distribution i.e. a larger share lives in regional centres and/or rural/remote areas relative to Non-Indigenous persons. 

Table 2

Greater capital city and rest of state population shares by state/territory, Indigenous and Non-Indigenous, per cent, Census 2016

Greater capital city
Rest of State


New South Wales



South Australia

Western Australia


Northern Territory

Australian Capital Territory


Source: ABS Cat No. 2071.0, Census of Population and Housing: Reflecting Australia, Stories from the Census, 2016, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Population.

Note: (a) = Excludes Indigenous persons in Other Territories i.e., Norfolk Island, Jervis Bay Territory, the Territory of Christmas Island and the Territory of Cocos (Keeling) Island.   

Looking at the State’s Indigenous population according to urban area, approximately half of Indigenous persons lived in the Adelaide urban area. In terms of the distribution of Indigenous persons a decomposition of the population by urban centre size, indicates 15 per cent of Indigenous South Australians live in small urban areas with 10,000 – 19,999 persons as at 2016 (see Table 3). This compares with 6 per cent of the Non-Indigenous population.

Table 3

South Australia’s Indigenous and Non-Indigenous population by urban centre, per cent, Census 2016

Number of persons
Share of total

Urban centre size (persons)(a)

Major Urban(b)

Greater than 1,000,000

Other Urban

20,000 to 49,999

10,000 to 19,999

5,000 to 9,999

1,000 to 4,999


500 or more

200 to 499

Other areas

Remainder of State/Territory

No usual address

South Australia

 Source: ABS Table Builder, Census 2016.

Note: (a) = Excludes Indigenous status not stated and Migratory, Offshore and Shipping.

          (b) = boundaries differ to Greater Capital City boundaries.

For younger Indigenous persons aged 0-19 years (children and teenagers) living in urban/rural centres, population distributions were similar to the total population. 51 per cent of younger Indigenous persons lived in the Adelaide major urban area in either “other urban”, “rural” and “other areas” i.e. provincial cities, towns, rural and remote areas (see Table 4).

Table 4

Younger persons in South Australia 0-19 years, Indigenous and Non-Indigenous, number and share, Census 2016

Number of young persons
Share of young persons

0-19 years

0-19 years

Urban centre size (persons)(a)

Major Urban(b)

Greater than 1,000,000

Other Urban

20,000 to 49,999

10,000 to 19,999

5,000 to 9,999

1,000 to 4,999


500 or more

200 to 499

Other areas

Remainder of State/Territory

No usual address

South Australia

Source: ABS Table Builder, Census 2016.

Note: (a) = Excludes Indigenous status not stated and Migratory, Offshore and Shipping.

          (b) = boundaries differ to Greater Capital City boundaries.

Thinking about the bigger picture, raising Indigenous living standards and closing the gap in health and education outcomes is influenced by age structure. Along with other indicators tracking the Indigenous age profile over time provides government with a monitoring tool for assessing changes in health-related outcomes e.g. life expectancy, fertility, etc. While the wider distribution of Indigenous persons across other urban centres outside Adelaide highlights the importance of maintaining/improving access to education services in regional/remote areas.

So, How is the World Ruled?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 20/02/2018 - 4:45am in

Well, judge by yourself.

Sep. 28, 2017.

Billionaire Donald Trump promises to cut his own taxes:

Dec. 21, 2017.

Not to be outdone, Australian Treasurer announces corporate tax cuts to the richest Australian companies:

Last Wednesday Feb. 14, Emma Alberici, ABC chief economics correspondent, pens this article:

Go ahead, click the link. Let me guess: it didn't work, did it? :-)

Never mind. The smiling guy in the photo is Alan Joyce, Qantas CEO. Even before the Morrison announcement, he had plenty reasons to smile, wrote Alberici: his company has paid no taxes (no taxes as in nada, nothing, zilch, zero) in 10 years, as they cut wages to their staff, but give him pay rises willy-nilly. Alberici thinks the tax cuts won’t bring any real benefits to the nation: “Tax rates don't matter if you're not paying tax”.

The same day, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (reputedly Australia’s richest politician and a former Goldman Sachs partner) has a tantrum during question time:

Later Turnbull and his minions complain to Alberici’s employer about her article.

The ABC, a property of the Australian State, dependent on federal funding which Morrison allocates through the federal budget, denies they removed the article because some CEOs of the wealthiest corporations operating in Australia and the richest Australian politician were not happy with it. The ABC managing director, Michelle Guthrie, is a former high flying corporate lawyer.

Lefty columnists wrote in support of Alberici. Unlike her article, theirs remained online: their employers do not depend on federal funding.

But you can still read Alberici’s article here (do read it, if for no other reason, to make Turnbull mad).

So, how is the world ruled? By vested interests or through an honest contest of ideas?

Australian Unions complement Alberici's report (go there):


It’s right to fight, it’s right to strike

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 19/02/2018 - 11:31am in



On 22 February, the Fair Work Commission will hand down its decision whether or not to terminate the Port Kembla Coal Terminal enterprise bargaining agreement. The South Coast Labor Council has called a rally in Sydney that day for the “Right to Bargain”, “Right to Strike”, and the “Right to Organise.”

It should be the start of the ACTU campaign to Change the Rules. But there is no sign that the ACTU or Unions NSW are mobilising for the rally.

All over the country workers are being locked out, or facing drastic wage cuts and bosses’ threats to terminate agreements.

For over 200 days, workers at Oaky North in central Queensland have been locked out by Glencore. In January, Glencore applied to terminate their enterprise bargaining agreement.

The Fair Work Commission ban on the NSW train strike has shown that workers’ fundamental right to strike is threatened by a Fair Work Act that is loaded in favour of the bosses.

Wage growth is stagnant as corporate profits soar. Inequality is rising. Yet Malcolm Turnbull is pushing ahead with his plan to cut corporate tax from 30 to 25 per cent and hand $65 billion in tax cuts to big business.

So far, Labor leader Bill Shorten opposes Turnbull’s corporate tax cuts.

Shorten also opened the year by declaring the minimum wage was too low to live on, saying he has a goal of, “raising the pay of all Australians”. But he was vague about how workers are going to get much-needed pay rises.

The NSW rail workers’ strike had the potential to break the state government’s pay cap and open the way for real pay rises across the board. But when the Fair Work Commission banned their strike, Shorten said nothing.

ACTU Secretary Sally McManus now says bluntly that, “the Fair Work Act is broken”.

At the heart of this is the fact that, as she put it, “Taking industrial action is too difficult and seems to be becoming even more difficult.”

Enterprise bargaining makes any strike action outside defined “bargaining periods” when an agreement expires, illegal. And even in a bargaining period, unions have to jump through hoops that frustrate and delay industrial action.

Labor is suggesting some small changes, such as making it harder for bosses to terminate agreements and restricting the use of labour hire. But it has said nothing about establishing an unrestricted right to strike.

The ACTU has begun talking about the right to strike. But the talk has to be turned into action.

A campaign that is limited to getting Labor elected won’t deliver the change we need. It was Labor governments that both introduced enterprise bargaining in the 1990s as well as the mis-named “Fair Work Act” in 2009.

In December the MUA organised an illegal picket to defend jobs at Melbourne’s Webb Dock. Construction workers also walked off the job, breaking the law, to join them.

If we are going to beat Turnbull and the bosses and win the right to strike, that is the kind of defiance that we need. There’s no time to lose.

The post It’s right to fight, it’s right to strike appeared first on Solidarity Online.

Barnaby and Turnbull: Hypocrites on parade

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 19/02/2018 - 11:30am in



The furore surrounding Barnaby Joyce has plunged the Turnbull government into yet another crisis.

Turnbull has forced Joyce to take leave rather than have him serve as acting Prime Minister, as he tries to pose as the defender of conservative values to shore up the Liberals’ base.

Turnbull’s “bonking ban” is symptomatic of a puritanical government in terminal decline. But morality sermons from “Father Turnbull” and appearances on Sixty Minutes with his wife Lucy to offer tips on maintaining a successful marriage are not going to save the Coalition.

It is not the “morality” of Barnaby’s affair that bothers voters—it’s the stench of hypocrisy that surrounds him and the rest of the Turnbull government.

As the Washington Post put it bluntly, “One of Australia’s staunchest opponents of same-sex marriage just left his wife for his pregnant girlfriend.”

It’s not only that; it’s the taxpayer-funded travel arrangements, the high-paid job-swapping to keep Joyce’s relationship under wraps, and the cosy arrangements with millionaire business mates to live rent-free, while he is paid in excess of $400,000.

And Joyce even claims that because the rent-free offer of housing came from a friend it didn’t need to be declared.

The elite has one set of rules to maintain their wealth and privileged lifestyle and then does everything to impose a different set of rules on the rest of us.

How dare Turnbull lecture anyone about traditional family values? Tell that to the Aboriginal families that are ripped apart by poverty and child removals, or the single parents trying to survive on the Newstart allowance or income management.

It is not the sex in Parliament House that is the problem; it’s the hypocrisy and entitlement that disgusts people. The Nationals are complaining that “Barnaby has been thrown under the proverbial bus”—that’s where we should throw the lot of them.

The post Barnaby and Turnbull: Hypocrites on parade appeared first on Solidarity Online.

Greens challenge Labor from the left in Batman

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 19/02/2018 - 11:28am in


Australia, greens

The Batman by-election in Melbourne on 17 March is a battle between The Greens’ Alex Bhathal and the ALP’s Ged Kearney. A win for Bhathal would give The Greens a second seat in the House of Representatives. Batman is one of the 25 seats that Greens leader Richard Di Natale sees as the basis for The Greens’ long-term hope of holding some balance of parliamentary power.

There will be national attention for that reason.

Sitting ALP MP David Feeney resigned because of the dual citizenship fiasco. But he was always unpopular even with Labor voters. He was a right-wing factional party power-broker, whose undeclared and unlived-in negatively-geared $2.3 million property in the electorate was an embarrassment and a drag on the Labor vote.

One question that will be centre-stage is refugees. In her election video, Bhathal says, “We will close the camps, we will bring the refugees here”. Bhathal also told her 300-strong campaign launch that the question of refugees was the prime reason for her running in the seat again.

As ACTU President Kearney has spoken at Refugee Action Collective forums and long advocated for refugees. She played an important role in developing the ACTU’s pro-refugee policy which, “calls for the detention centres on Manus Island, Nauru, and any other offshore detention centres to be closed”.

But now she is running Kearney won’t publicly repeat those calls. She was quoted in the Herald Sun as saying that Labor’s current position (in favour of boat turnbacks and offshore detention) adopted by its national conference is “a reality I accept.”

That’s a pity. If Kearney would publicly campaign as a Labor candidate committed to the demand to “Bring Them Here”, it would be a major boost for the movement and dramatically ramp up the pressure on Shorten and the Labor Party to end their bi-partisan support of Liberal policy.

Nonetheless ALP refugee policy is a reality that can be changed. Sixty-eight per cent of Labor voters across Australia want the refugees on Manus and Nauru brought to Australia.

Labor voters can vote 1 Greens, 2 Labor knowing there is no chance of a Liberal winning the seat.

The Refugee Action Collective has called a “Bring Them Here” rally in Batman for Saturday 10 March to mobilise refugee supporters in the electorate and help build an even bigger rally for the Melbourne-wide Palm Sunday refugee rally on 25 March.

Campaigning from the left

The Liberal vote in Batman is derisory and the state party has announced that it won’t field a candidate. On the face of it, this makes a Bhathal win more likely. The right-wing Victorian state president Michael Kroger said that the Liberals would not be “a vote-channelling machine for Labor”—meaning this time around they are going to favour The Greens winning over Labor.

This is a challenge for Bhathal. Electoral opportunism has sometimes seen The Greens attempt to win seats by wooing the Liberal vote. Bhathal needs to make it clear that voting Greens is a vote for a candidate who will do everything she can to get rid of the Turnbull government. This is also the best way for Bhathal to win the left Labor vote.

No doubt Kearney can expect to get a higher vote than Feeney—whose personal vote was about zero. But Batman is an electorate that is split in two—the northern half votes Labor, the southern part votes Green. The nurses union has backed Kearney (a former nurses’ leader) as has ACTU Secretary Sally McManus. Labor is already out campaigning on penalty rates and school funding.

The Greens say they will tackle inequality. But their pledges need to go beyond their existing modest promises—to protect renters, tackle housing inequality, and to ban corporate political donations. The Greens could campaign in support of the striking Australian Paper workers in Preston to show their opposition to Turnbull’s anti-union laws.

Bhathal is also making a big issue of opposing the Adani coal mine—something Labor has opportunistically moved to neutralise by making anti-Adani noises, although Shorten stops short of outright opposition.

Bhathal is also yet to make it clear where she stands in regard to Di Natale’s push to move The Greens to the “pragmatic” centre.

Solidarity is calling for a vote for Bhathal, with second preference to Labor. A win for Bhathal would put further pressure on the ALP to dump its cruel refugee policies. If Bhathal wins, it would help kill off the myth that pro-refugee policies are electoral poison.

This election won’t settle the question of Manus and Nauru, and it won’t get rid of Turnbull. But a win for The Greens can be the basis for building stronger grassroots refugee and union movements that can beat Turnbull and the system he represents.

By Chris Breen

The post Greens challenge Labor from the left in Batman appeared first on Solidarity Online.