Who really runs this country? The announcement by the federal government that it has struck its first Enterprise Migration Agreement with the world's richest woman Gina Rinehart reveals just how eager our governments are to serve the mining millionaires.
Youth unemployment in Kwinana is at 26.4%. So why a skills shortage?
If you speak out against the widening gap between wages and CEOs’ salaries, the corporate media will accuse you of stoking the “politics of envy”. Workers who dare take industrial action to get a few more crumbs from the bosses’ table are cast as class war dinosaurs.
The Occupy protesters? We’re told they are naive rebels without a clue. But the Qantas lock-out proves otherwise.
The determination of the WA state government and Transport Minister Troy Buswell to close over 720 kilometres of so-called Tier 3 railway lines in the state's Wheatbelt has put it on a collision course with grain farming communities and threatens to unleash a vast increase in heavy truck traffic and all the problems that go with it.
The lines threatened with closure transport over 92% of grain from the areas they serve to port. This ranges between 1.5 and 2 million tonnes every season. If this task is converted to road, it will generate between 57,000 and 86,000 extra truck movements per year.
This debacle has its origins in the privatisation WA's railways in 2000 by the Liberal Government of Richard Court, in which current Premier Colin Barnett was a minister.
Last year the Marrickville Council in inner-city Sydney passed a policy resolution in support of the non-violent struggle of the Palestinian people for their human rights. Since then The Australian and other News Limited media outlets have gone into a hysterical frenzy, accusing the councillors of being dangerous naive anti-Semitic extremists. Actually they're just ordinary community members; some of whom are in the ALP, some in the Greens and some who have no political affiliations.
Rally in support of the Egyptian revolution, outside Wesley Church, Perth, 5 February 2011. Organised by the Egyptian Community in Perth.
In early November I attended the Wesfarmers AGM at the Perth Convention Centre. Yes that Wesfarmers, the one that owns Coles, Bunnings, Officeworks, coal mines and plenty more. Not my usual sort of haunt, but I was there holding proxy votes for members of the Australia Western Sahara Association.
Western Sahara was a Spanish colony until 1975 when Morocco invaded the country before a vote of self-determination could be held. This occupation is not recognised by the UN or international law. Yet Morocco has been aided and abetted by Spain, the USA and particularly France ever since. It's much like the bi-partisan support for the Indonesian occupation of East Timor by our government for nearly twenty-five years.
Fremantle Council is grappling with the rights and conditions of the workers who it expects to implement the city’s projects. I’ve proposed a policy called “Employment Values for the City of Fremantle”. For supporters of workers’ rights, the policy is straightforward and modest.
It seeks to entrench the following principles:
1. Respecting the right of workers to union organisation and representation.
2. Limiting the use of fixed-term contracts and creating a guaranteed path to permanency.
3. Remunerating employees on the basis of equal pay and conditions for work of equal value.
4. Being a leader in “family friendly” leave and other work arrangements.
5. Placing the city in the top third of WA local governments in pay and conditions.
It’s not just community services and our public servants that are threatened by the Barnett government’s mad program of cut backs, so too are some really important cultural institutions. Hilton resident and writer Liana Christensen is asking for your help in the battle to keep the Indigo Journal afloat.
Indigo emerged from a group of writers around the Fremantle Arts Centre has given many young and previously unpublished writers a break. Great writers like Amanda Lohrey, Alex Miller and David Malouf have all come through it pages. But just like the organisations who work with people with disabilities or care for the mentally ill, Indigo has to go cap in hand to government for piecemeal funding every year; and this time the government has knocked them back.