It’s time – Shift the Rock (like Gough).

That classic Gough Whitlam campaign slogan “It’s Time”, is as relevant today in 2015 as it was the day his campaign launched in 1972.

The space for progressive political and economic change is once again widening, after having come under repeated attack by conservatives ever since Gough was dismissed via Double Dissolution in 1975.

At Progress, I attended a workshop called “Moving the Rock – Shifting Power for Sustained Change”, hosted by Sam La Rocca and Holly Hammond. Points raised in that workshop provided some of the key takeaways for me. Particularly, a strong reminder about the value and role of radicals. 

It’s about the intersection of what is ideal and what is ‘politically achievable’. Continue reading It’s time – Shift the Rock (like Gough).

Liberal Party policy setting is all wrong

AbetzUgh. The Liberal Party have screwed up the Australian Government’s policy setting again, as we who pay attention knew they would.

Palmer and his cohorts played along, happy to cut a tax which would save his business millions while costing the Australian public billions.

It’s appalling, and next (literally, tomorrow) they’ll be trying to roll back workplace rights for all Australian workers by essentially re-introducing the majority of their previous ‘WorkChoices’ policy.

There’s a pro-forma email to cross bench senators asking them not to support the changes, click here to see it.

Stop ‘moving on’ – a message to White Australia.

It’s very easy to say “yes that ‘happened’, but we’ve moved on”, when you are on the perpetrating, winning or ‘privileged’ side of that ‘thing’ which ‘happened’.

I see it all the time in White Australia.

As a white kid growing up that was the attitude I was taught toward history, that history was just a bunch of interesting stories that happened in the past. Stories we should enjoy and remember, but barely any different from fiction.

Who knows what is and isn’t true about history I was told. History is written by the victor, I was told. History is mostly about wars and how they were won, I was told.

In White Australia, we do not pay much attention to history as a general social rule and where we do our inability to do so respectfully is infamous.

Tony Abbott’s latest declaration is absolutely indicative of that:

“The arrival of the first fleet was the defining moment in the history of this continent. Let me repeat that: it was the defining moment in the history of this continent,” (emphasis added). 

I disagree. Certainly that was a defining moment in the history of this continent, but this continent’s history is MUCH longer than the history of this ‘country’. Continue reading Stop ‘moving on’ – a message to White Australia.

Credit rating loss shows cuts not the answer

Western Australia lost it’s AAA credit rating at Moody’s today, the second agency to drop WA to the second highest credit standing Aa1.

This has primarily happened due to a structural budget deficit and growing debt under the Liberal Government here in WA.

The problem is less how we are spending tax, and more how we collect it.

Too many eggs in the one mining royalties basket was never a good idea, and nor are the many tax loop holes and subsidies for the ultra-rich. Our State Government is hamstrung in it’s revenue raising capacity because it gives up so much in subsidies.

For instances, Gina Rinehart receives over $4bn in tax breaks and subsidies per year.

Cutting funding to essential public services is not the answer to our governments budget woes, it’s short term thinking and bad economics.

Those services have multiplier effects, the people whose incomes they pay are working people, and spend their incomes quickly. This creates tax at point of sale then goes on to be spent by those it employs, with tax paid as income tax and business tax on profit too.

By the time this process is repeated a few times in the economy, each $1 of government spending in say schools or hospitals is likely to actually create tax income in the mid-term. The long term improvement of social outcomes also leads further tax generation.

If the Government are serious about balancing the budget, they need to start shovelling cash from the nearby truck that’s over-flowing with $100 bills, not shuffling budget papers and scraping out the last few coins from working peoples piggy banks.

 

 

 

Two fracking free towns in Western Australia

double win waThere are now two towns in Western Australia to declare themselves fracking free zones, where fracking activities are not welcome.

Earlier this week the town of Greenough declared itself frack free and now they have been followed by the Shire of Coorow.

On Wednesday Coorow councillors unanimously backed a request to put a hold on all fracking work at energy company AWE’s Drover-1 well.

The request was submitted by residents from the local Green Head and Leeman communities.

Of course it drew the usual responses saying fracking is a ‘safe’ process and doesn’t need to be put through rigorous environmental assessment, despite our aquifers being at risk.

But neither the process of injecting high pressure chemicals into the earth, nor the resulting escape of methane is safe for our environment.

Methane is far more potent a green house gas than carbon dioxide in the immediate term, and fracking wells are notorious for creating methane leaks.

It’s simply not worth the risk.

I stand with the peoples of Greenough, Green Heads and Leeman in their fight to prevent fracking in Western Australia.

We will win the day.