Tony Abbott deliberately portrayed himself as an industrial relations moderate before the election. But he is no moderate. On the second day of the new parliament he passed laws re-establishing the Howard-era anti-union Australian Building and Construction Commission.
Not content with the devastation of six years of the NT intervention, Tony Abbott went to the election insisting he would be the “Prime Minister for Aboriginal Affairs”. He has wasted no time in launching a new wave of attacks on Aboriginal communities.
A campaign by unionists and the Blacktown community has scored a victory. Plans to sell off Blacktown City Council’s 24 child care centres were derailed, following protests by parents and child care workers, when three Liberal Councillors crossed the floor to support a motion to continue providing the services late last year.
In its desperation to “stop the boats” the Abbott government has secretly resorted to intercepting and towing boats back to Indonesian waters. After Indonesia denied entry to two Australian navy ships carrying asylum seekers in November last year, it seems that there have been at least five asylum boats turned back by the Australian navy since Abbott was elected.
The protest that has erupted inside the Christmas Island detention centres is the largest to confront the government since the protest and fire that destroyed the Nauru detention camp on 19 July 2013.
A petition campaign to support the visa application of Ali Choudry generated huge support in a matter of hours in January.
After 64 years manufacturing in Australia, and taking billions in government subsidies, General Motors Holden has announced its Australian factories will close in 2017. At least 3000 workers face the sack and up to 45,000 jobs in the auto component industry are at risk.
In December Australia’s last combat troops in Afghanistan left after 12 years. According to Tony Abbott the withdrawal was, “Not with victory, not with defeat, but with, we hope, an Afghanistan that is better for our presence here”, in an effective admission that the West has lost the war.
An economy in crisis and a corrupt government: Ukranians have plenty to protest about. But the protests that grabbed international headlines in December against President Viktor Yanukovych are happening on the terms of a nasty section of the ruling class. They offer little prospect of improving the situation for ordinary Ukrainians.
Following Abbott’s arrogance over the Indonesian spying scandal, there have been fresh revelations of a disgraceful Australian government spying operation in East Timor. This is part of Australia’s grab for access to the impoverished nation’s oil and gas.
The upcoming Sochi Olympic Games have shone an international spotlight on Russia’s treatment of dissent.
On Christmas eve, as Australian retailers like K-Mart and Big-W tried to maximise holiday sales profits, the Cambodian workers who make their clothes and footwear (as well as for Adidas, Levi Strauss, H&M, the Gap and Puma) were walking out on strike.
The supposed freedom and liberty fought for in both world wars was never extended to Aboriginal soldiers who sacrificed for Australia’s rulers, writes Tom Orsag.
John Pilger’s new film Utopia exposes the worsening conditions for Aboriginal people as a product of the return to assimilationist policies, writes Lucy Honan