Australia

Workers' Liberty Australia

A page for and about Workers' Liberty supporters in Australia. WL Australia news Workers Liberty newsletter No 72 (Late 2019) Contents: * Change the politics to socialism. For a climate action manifesto. * Workers and trade unions, why no strike for the climate? * Climate activism for workers’ control (from Climate change activism in the workplace) * Demands on employers (from Intertwining the threads), and Organising in schools for climate action * Extinction Rebellion Lismore * Cool air, hotter climate? Design against waste * Changing the Rules under a Coalition government * John Setka and...

Rank and file newsletter for Queensland MUA

'Special edition' newsletter on the Queensland MUA: This newsletter is written and published by concerned MUA R&F members 'Human Beings are many, but MEN are few' The above is a quote from the great Greek historian Herodotus referring to the heroic stand of the Spartan 300 at Thermopylae in 480 BC: Where despite being technically defeated the Greeks through their bravery and tenacity put in place the moral and military foundations to, in the end, defeat and drive from their homeland a far larger and stronger army in the Persians. Occasionally over the last few months I have interjected in the...

Virus: indict the Tories!

Of people who test positive for the virus and should self-isolate, only 20% or fewer are doing so fully. That’s an official estimate. No one knows what percentage of people who are identified as contacts of the infected — and may be infectious themselves, without having symptoms — are self-isolating. Most people asked to self-isolate get no or minimal isolation pay, so isolated properly is economically difficult or impossible. Of those who do self-isolate, many can do so only in overcrowded housing. However careful they are, they’re likely to infect others there. In New Zealand, the government...

Union battle over New York school re-opening

The USA currently has a much higher rate of infection than the UK, with a Covid-19 death rate about 120 times bigger (proportional to population) than the UK, and a proportion of tests showing positive about 10 times bigger. In most big cities in the USA, schools are restarting online-only. New York was the hardest-hit area early on, but now has a lower rate of infection than many areas in the USA: about three times as many confirmed infections and deaths per day as the UK, relative to population. New York City’s schools are due to reopen to students on 21 September, with workers going into...

Stand firm for right to protest!

On 5 September, a trans rights protest (see here) scheduled for Parliament Square, London, was cancelled by its organisers because the police threatened them with mass arrests. The organisers wrote: “On 3 September we liaised with the Metropolitan Police and they assured us, after the news of Piers Corbyn’s arrest [on 29 August, at a Trafalgar Square anti-virus-precautions protest] that there would be no risk of arrests or fines because our protest posed no risk of danger. “[Then] on 4 September the police called us and informed us that there is a likelihood that us, any participants, stewards...

The virus: heed the warnings for winter!

Without precautions, the average infected person passes on the virus to maybe three others. That is an average of very uneven numbers. According to Adam Kucharski and others, if 100 sufferers generate 300 further infections, 240 of those infections will come from just ten of the sufferers. The ten may not be that medically different from the other 90. They may frequent closed and crowded spaces more favourable to transmission, or meet more susceptible people. The new outbreak of the virus in Victoria, Australia, highlights the chanciness of the process, and the foolishness of saying the answer...

Campaign launch draws 1,500

In Australia, the Living Incomes For Everyone coalition is working towards a week of action 17-24 September. The coalition was formally launched on 26 July, at a 1,500-strong online meeting. Wrapping up the launch, Janet Burstall explained the aims: Firstly, we stand for meeting people’s needs, and against capitalism. We’re grassroots, we’re a coalition, our demands link the needs of workers, and especially of everyone on low incomes, in or out of work... We are filling a gap in the Australian working class movement, and we will be part of shaking off decades of failure to fight back as a...

No "referees above politics"!

A piece of recent history made its way into the British press on 14 July. On 11 November 1975, the Governor-General of Australia, John Kerr, dismissed the elected Labour Prime Minister Gough Whitlam and installed Liberal Party leader Malcolm Fraser in his place. The Governor-General acts as representative for the monarch and is appointed by the Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister. In the run up to the coup Kerr was in frequent written communication with the Queen’s personal secretary, Baron Charteris. The letters were released on 14 July after a long campaign and legal challenge by...

Living income push in Australia

In Australia, between now and September, the income support schemes will end or be severely cut, along with the moratorium on eviction of tenants and banks’ deferral of mortgage repayments. Unemployment has already nearly trebled to 14.8%, and around 9.7% of the workforce want more hours. When the JobKeeper scheme [something like furlough] ends in September, more workers could get the sack. Repossessions and evictions are likely, along with a home price and construction slump. A workers’ program needs to take up the immediate issue of housing along the lines of “No evictions, no foreclosures...

Melbourne back to lockdown

The largest-yet surge of Covid cases in Australia hit the state of Victoria in early July. Unlike in March, when infections came from overseas, these are almost entirely community infections. There are now over 100 outbreaks, including in hospitals and aged-care centres. Two key sources of infection have been: • The staff of quarantine hotels, where returning citizens are kept for 14 days on re-entering Australia. They are poorly paid and trained private security sub-contractors rather than regularly-employed public sector workers. • An abattoir with poor working conditions and inadequate...

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