GOOD READING AND LISTENING FOR THE WEEKEND …

Looming in the New Year is debate over the Government’s anti-lobbying legislation, dressed up as a move against foreign influence. Fairfax journalist Peter Martin warns that if the Coalition gets its way, when the next election comes around charities would be prevented doing anything that may be seen as attempting to influence how people vote.  (The Murdoch media, although it is foreign-owned, and the Minerals Council would still be fee to influence how people vote, because they are not charities.) ABC political reporter Anna Henderson comments on the government’s appointment of former Keating-era Labor MP Gary Johns as the new charities commissioner, “a staunch critic of charities that conduct public advocacy work”.

Peter Martin also warns us not to get too excited about promises of income tax cuts. His basic message is that the Commonwealth budget cannot afford a significant tax cut. Wage rises forecast in recent budgets, which would have allowed for cuts to compensate for bracket creep, haven’t occurred.  Perhaps another reason for fiscal tightness is that many corporations are paying no tax, in data presented by the ABC’s Emily Clark.

German pilots are refusing to deport asylum seekers – the Independent

Amazon’s track record may signal a change in Australian industrial relations – TheConversation

Turnbull’s department head says Tony Abbott damaged the public service.

Government’s social security cuts seem all toughness and no love – Ross Gittins

Lesley Russell describes how commercialisation and the greater dominance of private providers has led to lower standards in aged care.

Ross Gittins writes about voters rejecting the fruits of neoliberalism, privatisation and many other economic reforms.

In a time of deep political, social and economic uncertainty for everyone (except the ultra-rich), Noam Chomsky and Robert Pollin provide some theoretical and practical guidance for the left. This Truthout interview is an effort to help reimagine a realistic social order in an age when the old order is dying but the new has yet to be born.

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