Climate Change

Plastic: Part of the Problem . . . Part of the Solution – Part 3: Sorting Technology

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 26/11/2019 - 12:00am in

As I mentioned, this 4 part presentation is being done by Sesotec GmbH, a company which manufactures recycling equipment. Even so the information given by Sesotec is to the point on the topic of pollution by man made packaging and products which can be sued again and again and in some cases up to 8 […]

Chaos Theory And Global Climate Change

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 25/11/2019 - 11:52pm in

Chaos Theory And Global Climate Change I am currently attending the Southern Economic Association meetings in Fort Lauderdale, where the street facing the hotel was underwater during the most recent hurricane to pass through. Anyway, I saw a talk today that took me back to when I first learned about chaos theory, actuallly in the […]

ScoMo Plans On Getting Fit By Hitting The Thoughts And Prayers Hard

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 25/11/2019 - 8:31am in

morrison map

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has told his inner circle that he plans to improve his fitness after he struggled on a hike over the weekend and he will be doing so with an extensive regime of ‘thoughts and prayers.’

“The Prime Minister does realise that he is not in the greatest shape for a man his age so he will look to do something about it,” said a Spokesperson for the Prime Minister. “Thoughts and prayers have worked for him in the past so no need to look any further or invest anymore money into other methods of weight loss.”

When asked whether the Prime Minister would be doing anything else like exercise and diet to supplement his thoughts and prayers regime the Spokesperson said: “Why would he need to do anything else?”

“Thoughts and prayers and Dutton got him the job as Prime Minister and thoughts prayers and the thought of Prime Minister Dutton will keep him in the job as Prime Minister.”

“Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to join the Prime Minister as he goes to visit bush fire victims to tell them all about the cricket.”

Mark Williamson

You can follow The (un)Australian on twitter @TheUnOz or like us on https://www.facebook.com/theunoz.

Methane Fuel Cells

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 25/11/2019 - 1:28am in

OK so I don’t really have a post to go with the title. I just googled methane fuel cells. As usual, some engineers promise that they have solved the problem. The claim is that, with a new catalyst, methane (and oxygen of course) can be used to generate electricity at the temperature of an auto […]

We don’t need a perfect world; we need a fairer and more equitable one. Understanding how money works is the first step.

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 24/11/2019 - 12:02am in

Person at the bottom of stairs climbing from darkness into the lightPhoto by Free To Use Sounds on Unsplash

As the election campaign rolls on and party leaders battle it out on our television screens, the Liberal Democrats commit themselves to more austerity and Paul Mason, left-wing journalist and former music teacher, indulges in some fantasy explanations of how money works. More on that later….

In yet another indication of how the austerity has not only done grave damage to those who least deserve it, but also to the economy, two more reports have been published to add to the already long list exposing the consequences of cuts to public spending.

The Scottish based Poverty Alliance organisation which published its report Righting the Wrongs: A manifesto to tackle poverty is urging the next Government to ‘put solving poverty at the heart of all that it does, including by creating a more compassionate social security system, [and] building a labour market that works for everyone….’

When confronted with the realities of people’s lives through their stories we can see the real tragedy behind the policy decisions and cuts to public spending of the current Conservative government.

Jamie from Glasgow struggling to raise a family on a low income described it as ‘like being stuck in the middle of a spider’s web with no escape route’ and Jackie, a community activist commenting for the Poverty Alliance report, said that ‘more and more people are being locked into poverty by jobs that are low paid and insecure. When people can barely afford to put food on the table and when parents working full-time are struggling to cope, there is something very wrong that we have to put right.

An analysis published by the TUC, also this week, has revealed that the number of children growing up in poverty in working households has risen by 38% over the last decade, bringing it to 800,000 since 2010.

The study also showed that government policies account for the majority of rises in child poverty, with more than 485,000 children (in working households) having been pushed below the breadline, not only as a direct result of the government’s in-work benefit cuts but also as a consequence of other major factors which include weak wage growth and insecure work. The report also noted that over the past decade workers have suffered the most severe wage squeeze in two centuries and although wages have just started to grow, weekly wages are still £14 below pre-crisis levels.

Frances O’Grady, the TUC General Secretary, commented about the report that no child in Britain should be growing up in poverty and cuts to in-work benefits have come at a terrible human cost.

Overall the poverty figures are shocking. As GIMMS reported earlier this year following a report by the Social Metrics Commission, there are now around 14.3 million people living in poverty, of which 8.3 million are working-age adults, 4.6 million children (of which around 2.9 million are in working households as identified in the later TUC report) and 1.3 million pension age adults.

Aside from these shocking statistics which represent avoidable and unnecessary human degradation, the combined effects of government policies and cuts to spending on public services have had a damaging effect not only on the lives of those caught in the austerity crossfire but also on the economy as a whole. A decaying public and social infrastructure and toxic welfare reforms have had a significant impact on poverty and inequality and show clearly in whose interests the government has been acting. The promotion of individualism and self-reliance, along with decreasing state intervention to replace our public infrastructure with private, profit-motivated services has been a long-standing agenda of successive neoliberally inspired governments.

Access to high-quality health and social care, education and training, well-paid secure work and good quality, affordable housing all play a vital role in the health of the nation and its economy. When people are denied those basic support systems it can only, in the end, lead to more deprivation, ill health, hunger, homelessness and increased crime, the consequences of which ripple into every part of society burdening it with both additional financial costs and societal breakdown.

As was reported by the BBC only this week more than 2 million adults are unable to see a dentist either because they can’t afford treatment, find an NHS dentist or get care where they live as a result of underfunding and recruitment problems. It is claimed that many people are being reduced to practising self-dentistry to alleviate the pain of rotten teeth which can cause all sorts of other problems like periodontal disease which can, in turn, lead to an increased risk of heart disease.

After nine years of cutting NHS spending in real terms, creating a pressured working environment for staff, capping their pay, stopping nursing bursaries and driving people away because of stress, senior NHS leaders are warning this week that hospitals are so understaffed lacking sufficient doctors, nurses and other health professionals to provide services that the ‘safety and quality of care are under threat.’ The latest figures show that the performance against key waiting times for A&E, cancer treatment and planned operations have fallen to their worst-ever level and that this could deteriorate even further as winter approaches.

NHS mental health services which have borne the brunt of cuts have become little more than a firefighting service to deal with the ever-growing numbers of people needing support.

Earlier this month the organisation State of Hunger published its report, drawn up in conjunction with Heriot-Watt University and the Trussell Trust. It revealed that more than half of households referred to foodbanks were affected by poor mental health, predominantly anxiety or depression, while 23% of people referred to foodbanks were homeless. The report gives a voice to those people who have paid the price for austerity and welfare reform – the worry about paying bills, keeping a roof over one’s head or having a job which pays enough.

“If I don’t pay my bills, then I’ll get the house taken off me. After paying arrears, I’ve got £8 a fortnight and that’s to pay for gas, electric, water. It’s just impossible, it really is. I go to bed at night wishing I won’t wake up in the morning.”

 

“I’ve used the food bank because I was on such a low income before I got my disability benefit… I had a mental breakdown because basically the amount they give me doesn’t cover the costs of my rent.”

 

Education joins health in forming the backbone of a functioning economy and societal well-being and yet, it too has suffered from crippling cuts to spending. Kevin Courtney, the joint general secretary of the NEU said this week that ‘The future of education hangs in the balance’.  Despite government promises of more money, the School Cuts Coalition made it clear only last week that four in five state schools will be financially worse off next year than they were in 2015 and this will affect schools in areas where there are already high levels of deprivation.

Even with the additional funding promised by government, there will still be a shortfall of £2.5bn in the year ahead after years of already damaging cuts. The consequences for schools are grim. More pupils per class, fewer teachers and support staff and reduced curriculums with subjects like music, language, art and design being cut as a result of the pressure, not to mention the reduction in capital expenditure on schools’ estate which has left it in a bad state of repair and not fit for purpose.

Our children represent the future and yet they are the ones that will bear the brunt of lack of adequate government spending and planning for an education and training system to meet the challenges they will face in the future.

A healthy economy demands a healthy and educated nation as a prerequisite. It demands quality housing, good secure jobs and pay. The last nine years of austerity and forty years of the pursuit of neoliberal dogma have pulled that rug from under people’s feet, leaving them in a world of increasing uncertainty.

It is regrettable in this respect that the notion that the state has a responsibility to ensure the health and well-being of all its citizens through the provision of universal services and other state-provided interventions is being mistaken for a ‘nanny state’ rather than acknowledging the value of such investment in society and its economy.

Whilst government has pursued its handbag economic strategy and ignored monetary realities for the lie of balanced budgets, it has failed in its duty as an elected body to serve the interests of citizens and the economy as a whole.

Whilst pursuing austerity, it has ignored the fundamentals of macroeconomics which it won’t hurt to repeat. Spending, wherever it comes from, creates income for someone else, whether that’s government which starts the ball rolling by creating the money into existence to pay for its needs which flows in turn right down to businesses, working people or even those having the misfortune to be involuntarily unemployed or coping with a disability or illness which prevents them from working. Through its obsession with austerity and lowering deficits at a time when it should have been spending more, it has weakened the economy and wilfully left people without the means to provide themselves with sufficient income to meet their daily needs.

As data from last year shows, it has left British households collectively supporting their spending through reducing savings (if indeed they had any) and taking on more debt. Quite simply government austerity has transferred the burden onto households which as private debt levels rise will prove unsustainable.

The fragile house of cards which represents the economy after nine years of government folly will either stagger on or fall into another recession unless the next government deficit spends sufficiently to promote full employment and serve the public purpose.

In the light of this, it is all the more incredible to note that after Ed Davey, deputy leader of the Lib Dems said earlier this month that Labour and the Tories were ‘writing promises on cheques that will bounce’ they have decided to make austerity their USP (unique selling point) for their election campaign. Yes, you read that right!

In his recent speech he positioned the Liberal Democrats as the ‘party of fiscal rectitude’ and the Conservatives and Labour as the ‘parties of fiscal incontinence’. Davey is proposing to adopt a fiscal rule for day to day spending aiming for current account surpluses in every year of their five-year costings.

With yet more household budget accounting and to meet its objective will require tax rises and yet more spending cuts. Furthermore, on the basis that achieving a surplus is not a saving and removes money from the economy and if our trading partners don’t spend all they earn thus taking even more out of our economy the net result will be a severe recession (as if we weren’t already heading in that direction). A bit of an own goal and a very foolish one at that!

And yet depressingly it has to be said another own goal was scored this week by the journalist and self-styled economist Paul Mason who presented a short promotional video for Novara Media explaining the deficit and debt in the language narrative of overdrafts, loans and mortgages along with that old ‘canard’ about paying for public services by taxing the very rich.

This is indeed ‘fantasy economics’ of the most damaging kind.

In response, the economist Professor Bill Mitchell explains it very succinctly and it is worth printing it here in its entirety:

‘This is the classic ‘soft’ mainstream macroeconomics that assumes the government is financially constrained and is thus not dissimilar to a household.

It is ‘soft’ because, unlike the hard-mainstream positions, it allows for deficits (‘funded’ by debt) to occur in a non-government downturn but proposes them to be offset by surpluses in an upturn, irrespective of the overall saving position of the non-government sector.

None of this framing or language is what I would call ‘progressive’.

It has the hallmarks of the way neoliberals construct the concepts and the narrative.

The inferences are also plainly false when applied to the British government.

  1. It is not financially constrained in its spending.

The constraints relate to real resource availability.

In terms of restaffing the NHS, for example, are there qualified labour resources available? What training would be required? Would this mean that British Labour is also going to be advocating open borders to ensure the staffing is available? [….]

  1. There is no meaningful knowledge that be gained by comparing a household with a home mortgage and a currency-issuing government spending its own currency.

The household is the currency user and the government is the currency issuer.

Totally different constraints apply.

  1. It is false to claim that it is virtuous to ‘tax the rich’ in order to fund essential health and welfare services.

This is one of the worst frames that the progressives now deploy.

The British government might want to tax the rich to reduce their power and influence (exercised via their spending habits) but it never has to do that in order to fund essential services.

The only constraint that exercise involves is the availability of real resources.’

  1. The British government does not have to issue debt to ‘fund’ its deficits. The capacity of the non-government sector to purchase the debt derives from past deficits that have not been taxed away yet.

Even if the government issues debt to match its investment in essential infrastructure to deliver better housing, transport health care, and engage in climate action etc, this investment is not linked at all to the current interest rates in place.

 

There is no meaning to the term “cheap” finance, when the spending does not need to be financed (in the currency the government issues).

The issuing of risk-free debt from a currency-issuing government really amounts to the provision of corporate welfare and no progressive should advocate its continuance.

  1. There is no meaning in saying the recurrent deficit is like an overdraft or the capital deficit is like a mortgage. Those terms gain meaning when applied to units that are financially constrained.

While left-wing progressive parties continue to frame their election campaigns in neoliberal terms and thus erect unnecessary financial barriers to spending that will prevent them from achieving their goals, the public will also remain in the dark about a subject which is of vital importance; how to answer the question about how government really spends, how its policies can be paid for and what  the real constraints are.

That said and despite the deliberate misleading of the public by Paul Mason, the UK needs a progressive government prepared to act in the public interest through investment in our public and social infrastructure and ready to take action to tackle social injustice, ensure a more equitable distribution of wealth and address the biggest challenge we face – climate change.

 

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The post We don’t need a perfect world; we need a fairer and more equitable one. Understanding how money works is the first step. appeared first on The Gower Initiative for Modern Money Studies.

Plastic: Part of the Problem . . . Part of the Solution – Part 2: the European Union’s Solution

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 23/11/2019 - 10:00am in

As you can read for yourself, this is the second part  of the series. This part will introduce the EU’s proposed solution to plastic waste material of which Sesotec is to be a part of the solution. Since I am using Sesotec’s information, I will be stating their name as owner’s of this information from […]

Sorry but It Really Is Too Late to Save the World

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 22/11/2019 - 6:59pm in

Even if humanity slams on the brakes, stopped emitting carbon dioxide and goes back to horses and buggies, global warming will continue for at least a few more decades. So although Donald Trump and his rolling back of air pollution emissions standards are annoying, it’s probably too late anyway.

Accepting and Using Climate Change

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 22/11/2019 - 8:01am in


Odin with the ravens Thought and Memory

A couple days ago I was thinking about the problem of surveillance states and I realized “this problem is likely to become less of one because of climate change.”

And I started thinking about all the opportunities and good things climate change makes possible.

My grieving was done.

My pre-grieving, I suppose.

I see grieving for climate change and ecological collapse everywhere. Informed people who have done their homework know it’s going to be bad, really bad, and that they and those they care about are going to be hit by it. For a lot of people it rises to the level of trauma, even though most of it hasn’t happened yet. It’s like the moment you really know you’re going to die or that something else horrible WILL happen. You can get caught on it, and traumatized by something which isn’t here yet.

But then there’s the point where you hit acceptance.

Alcoholics Anonymous has a prayer, ““God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

But acceptance doesn’t mean resignation. It doesn’t mean “oh, nothing can be done.” If I know there’s going to be a famine I can stock up food. If I know I’m going to die, I can write a will and say my goodbyes. If I know  here is going to be climate change I can take that into account in my actions going forward.

Knowing something is going to happen, that it can’t or won’t be stopped is freeing and empowering. I am now able to stop worrying about the fact that it is going to happen, and plan for it.

When I was young I used to read a lot of adventure novels. One of the criticisms of such fiction is that the protagonist’s seem to just shrug off bad events: they aren’t effected much emotionally. But what they do do is take those events into consideration in their plans and actions.

Adventure fiction thinking is a pretty good way to live your life, actually, if you can pull it off. What is, is. What will be, will be, but you can adapt to it.

Here’s the truth about climate change: it’s going to suck more ass than anything since the Black Death. That’s a lot of ass.

But it’s also an opportunity. You want change? You don’t like society today?

I don’t. I mean, I fought like the dickens to avoid climate change because the price of this change is too high. Like billions of dead too high.

But we lost. It’s happening.

And horrible as it is, it’s still an opportunity. The good will go away, but so will a lot of the bad.

The society created after the Black Death was, in many ways, much better than the one that came before.

That’s our challenge. There will be real breakdowns in how we run our society. The challenge is to replace with them with something better.

Some things better.

And because you’ve accepted the truth of climate change and that it isn’t going to be stopped, you have an advantage over the deniers. Those who act in alignment with what IS and what will be are always stronger, more nimble and more capable than those running around in denial.

Climate change is coming. It’s going to suck horribly.

How are you going to use it to make your life and everyone else’s lives better?

(See also, The Philosophy of Decline and Collapse.)

Some money would be rather useful, as I don’t get paid by the piece. If you want to support my writing, please DONATE or SUBSCRIBE.

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Climate jobs and funding needed to tackle bushfire crisis—but Morrison’s in denial

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 21/11/2019 - 1:51pm in

Catastrophic
bushfires fuelled by extreme heat have swept through
northern NSW and Queensland—even before summer has officially begun.

Four people lost their lives and almost
500 homes have been destroyed.

Scott Morrison and the Coalition are
desperate to shut down discussion of the link between the fires and climate
change.

Instead the Liberals are lashing out
against climate activists, promising new laws to stop consumer boycotts against
corporate climate criminals like Adani and their contractors. Laws like these
would have criminalised the boycott of apartheid South Africa or fashion brands
that use slave labour.

While they deny any connection, yet
another report in November fingered Australia as among the G20 group of
economies “furthest off track” on meeting its Paris targets, with the second
most emissions intensive energy sector among the group.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack even denounced
the idea climate change was a factor as the, “ravings of some pure, enlightened
and woke capital city greenies”. Other Nationals including NSW leader John
Barilaro and Barnaby Joyce have tried to blame The Greens, recycling the old
myth that they were stopping backburning in national parks. Barnaby Joyce
disparaged two people who died in NSW saying they “most likely” voted for The
Greens.

But the NSW Coalition has
actually cut the number of park rangers, who carry out reduction burns, by a
third since 2011. The parks service has been unable to meet reduction burning
targets this year because of the cuts, the Public Service Association says,
including a budget cut of $80 million this year.

The state government has also cut $40 million from
Fire and Rescue and the Rural Fire Service budgets compared to last year.

Morrison’s efforts to avoid the climate issue have
fallen flat after former NSW Fire and Rescue Commissioner Greg Mullins went
public to say the coming summer was set to be “the worst I have ever seen” and
was part of “a new age of unprecedented bushfire danger”.

Carol Sparks, Mayor of the northern NSW town of Glen
Innes where two people died, said bluntly, “It’s climate change, there’s no
doubt about it.”

Climate change is producing hotter and drier conditions
that are making bushfires more dangerous and more frequent.

NSW issued its first ever warning of “catastrophic”
conditions in November, the first since the new warning level was introduced in
2009.

The fires we are seeing are far from
normal. The bushfire season is starting earlier and running longer, beginning
in September this year in eastern Australia—far before summer had begun. The
current drought has produced the lowest rainfall on record between January and
August across the Southern Downs in Queensland and the Northern Tablelands in
NSW.

Meanwhile the economy is getting worse.
Wage growth in the private sector is down again. Interest rate cuts and tax
cuts have done little to increase consumer spending. Yet the Morrison government
is refusing to bring forward government spending.

Instead they are continuing their war on
unions with the Ensuring Integrity Bill—a further attack on the right to
strike. Their new proposal for a demerit points system could ban officials
after two or three breaches of industrial laws, including late filing of
paperwork such as annual reports.

But its real target is union militancy in
defiance of anti-strike laws. In November the NUW was fined $173,000 after
taking strike action in response to Woolworths’ effort to make all new staff
labour hire casuals—because the union wasn’t in a bargaining period.
Australia’s anti-strike laws are now so draconian that such actions require
breaking the law.

Climate jobs

The Coalition’s other line of attack on
climate action is to present it as a threat to jobs and regional
communities—the same line they ran on Adani during the election. Energy
Minister Angus Taylor seized on suggestions that the Portland aluminium smelter
in Victoria could close to blame energy costs for threatening jobs.

Taylor claimed more serious climate
targets would mean, “killing off these export industries and the regional jobs
that go with them.” But power prices are only high because of privatisation and
the decision to turn the power system into a plaything for the free market.

Instead of standing up to them, Labor
remains in retreat. Its election review confirmed the party’s move to the
right.

Instead of
rejecting the Liberals’ attempt to muzzle debate about climate change’s role in
the bushfires, Albanese weakly insisted, “I’m not seeking to politicise this at
all”. Instead of arguing for a job-creating transition to renewable power,
Albanese has conceded to the Liberals’ attack over jobs, saying he wants coal
and gas mining to continue indefinitely.

The money needed to transition to 100 per
cent renewable energy should come from taxing the rich and big
business—including the super profits of the power companies.

It is the Liberal government in NSW that
is responsible for destroying jobs in fire risk management. The immediate need
is for more funding for firefighters and hazard reduction work. This means not
only reversing the cuts but more jobs to deal with the consequences of a hotter
climate. This could mean jobs on country for Indigenous communities to help
care for the land as well as more staff in national parks.

Instead of privatisation, we need
government investment in renewable energy and public transport to slash carbon
emissions. This could deliver jobs in manufacturing and construction as well as
directly in renewable energy.

The fight for jobs and a just transition
should be at the centre of the climate movement’s demands.

Such a commitment is crucial to winning
support—including amongst the workers and regional communities that delivered
Morrison’s election win. It is something unionists would be willing to fight
for—and it is organised workers who have the industrial power that we need to
force change.

A fight from below is going to be needed
to halt Labor’s slide to the right. While Morrison is on the offensive, the
official union campaign against the Ensuring Integrity Bill has been confined
to lobbying and an online campaign.

Strike action can win gains. Almost 1000
workers at a Woolworths’ warehouse won a pay rise of 8 per cent in the first
year of their new deal after threatening indefinite strike action. Workers on
offshore oil and gas platforms won an immediate 20 per cent pay rise in their
new agreement.

This is the kind of action needed to end
stagnating wages, defy the Liberals’ anti-union laws and build the fight for
real action to stop climate change.

The post Climate jobs and funding needed to tackle bushfire crisis—but Morrison’s in denial appeared first on Solidarity Online.

Here we Joh again: Queensland Labor cracks down on protest

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 21/11/2019 - 1:26pm in

The
Queensland Labor government pushed through new laws aimed at environmental
protests in late October. Protesters caught using complex lock-on devices will
face massive fines or even jail—up to $6500 or two years in prison for people
who block transport infrastructure.

To justify these new laws Premier Annastacia
Palaszczuk made unfounded claims that devices were being used as booby traps
and were “designed to harm”. She claims the new laws are not an attack on
“peaceful protest” but on “extremists”.

The Premier enjoyed the support of the Queensland
Resources Council, the LNP, and shamefully, every Labor MP in the state
parliament. Greens MP Michael Berkman was the only MP to vote against the laws.

But there is widespread opposition outside
parliament—including within the ALP and the union movement. The state ALP
conference voted unanimously to back the right to protest and to encourage
“freedom of speech and assembly”. The Woolloongabba and Annerley branches also
opposed the laws. The Annerley branch warned that, “as union members, we should
be extremely concerned”, as the laws could be used on picketers.

The Queensland Council of Unions (QCU) supported a
rally opposing the laws. CFMEU members on some inner city construction sites
stopped work to attend and numerous other unions were also represented at the
rally.

Michael Clifford, the QCU acting General Secretary
told the rally unions were there to support “not only our own rights” but also
“the rights and civil liberties of all protesters”. The union movement believes
we, “have a right to push back and to protect and defend our rights and create
a better country” and that, “today the benefits we have in our workplaces, the
things we enjoy as a society have come through protest, through action that
disrupts”.

Legal academic and activist Aiden Ricketts also spoke at the rally. He said, “it was one thing to stand up here and fight against Joh (former National Party Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen) and be arrested but it is another thing to come here with the shame of a Labor government, passing anti-democratic protest laws”.

“Every time Labor capitulates to the right” he warned it, “simply allows the right to become more right wing”. And to prove him right, Scott Morrison has since flagged the idea of laws to crack down on environmental boycott campaigns.

By Mark Gillespie

The post Here we Joh again: Queensland Labor cracks down on protest appeared first on Solidarity Online.

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