Then they fight you… Barnett’s new anti-protest laws

The WA Liberal Party’s vague new anti-protest laws are a legal over-reach which reverse the ‘onus of proof’ and damage the credibility of the entire legal system.

Having lost several pet projects to public opposition, Barnett has moved from ignoring and ridiculing activist to trying outlaw us.

The Criminal Code Amendment (Prevention of Lawful Activity) Bill means any person suspected of preparing to use a ‘thing’ to obstruct a ‘legal activity’, could be locked up for 24 months and face huge fines.

Additionally, people charged under these laws will be forced to pay costs associated with their arrest; violent criminals aren’t even forced to pay that.

But these laws will not stop activists from putting our bodies on the line in defence of what we believe in. We know this means we are having an impact, our strategy and tactics are working. We will continue.

It begs a few questions though: Continue reading Then they fight you… Barnett’s new anti-protest laws

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.

 

 

 

Logging in WA’s South West

Recently I took part in a guided tour of our remaining native Karri forests with the West Australian Forest Alliance . I remember visiting these forests as a child, it is always inspiring. The first time I climbed the Gloucester tree near Pemberton I was barely in my teens. At 72m tall, the Gloucester tree was the highest 14-year-old me had ever been.

Clear Felling in WA's Challar Forest

When I heard the new Forest Management Plan will double the scale of logging in our remaining Karri forests (1), I wanted to see the implications of this for myself. I knew it would be painful to see, but I had to go. I had to bear witness and share the tragic reality of clear-felling with you.

Only 10% of our native Karri forest remain today, BEFORE logging expands.

After what I witnessed I have no doubt this new plan, if allowed to continue, will leave us with no pristine Karri forest left. It’s no wonder activists have begun taking direct action to halt the destruction (1,2,3).

I am very glad they have.

Continue reading Logging in WA’s South West

Episode 8: Education Cuts in Western Australia

Episode 8 of the (un) Common Sense Podcast is now available! This week’s episode focuses entirely on the Barnett Government’s cuts to education in Western Australia. Luke speaks with local Society and Environment Teacher Mark, about the implications of these cuts. Topics discussed include:

  • The role of an Education Assistant in the classroom environment
  • The importance of Education Assistants to special needs students
  • Likely impact of losing 500 Full-Time Equivalent Education Assistant jobs
  • Peter Collier & Colin Barnett back-flipping on pre-election promise there would be ‘no job losses’ in public sector.
  • Risk of super-sizing schools
  • Importance of culture and community within a school
  • Likelihood of further cuts to Education under a Liberal Government
Play

Continue reading Episode 8: Education Cuts in Western Australia