Issue 31 – 11 February to 17 February 2021

Twilight world of staffers makes for toxic, taxpayer-funded workplaces
Bernard Keane | Crikey
No other employer in Australia is less accountable, more subsidised and more secretive than political parties in relation to the electoral, advisory and media staff they employ.

Move over neoliberalism; rentier capitalism is now king
Ted Trainer | Pearls and Irritations
Because the average person’s prosperity is shrinking, they can’t buy so much stuff. Companies are instead generating profits by getting hold of assets to rent out, such as housing and roads. This financial capitalism has huge political ramifications for the Left, but it is not listening.

Why the nebuliser is the perfect symbol for Australia’s strange COVID era
Guy Rundle | Crikey
In the midst of a pandemic of butthurt, someone had an arse-kicking machine in their carry-on luggage. You couldn’t make it up, etc… but of course, we have seen so many revisions of events over a year of COVID that the nebuliser story may, in a week or so, be rewritten entirely: it was/wasn’t declared; it played no role; there never was a nebuliser.

The K-Shaped Recovery: financial fortunes fork as JobKeeper, JobSeeker cliff looms
Michael West | Michael West Media
Before the pandemic, Josh was withdrawing money from the economy to achieve his Budget surplus, and attendant political bragging rights, despite incessant warnings from Lowe not to pursue austerity. Josh didn’t listen.

Donald McNeil New York Times exit and the civil war on language
Guy Rundle | Crikey
With the victory of Joe Biden and the departure of Donald Trump, the US left appears to have lost its brief moment of unity and returned to its cultural civil war about the nature of language, free speech and the boundaries of acceptable opinion.

Australia’s climate policy is a mix of delusion and denial. We need to get real
Greg Jericho | Crikey
Which is more abysmal – the farcical electric vehicles discussion paper that does not seek to reduce emissions, or the deputy prime minister suggesting agriculture be “carved out” from any net zero target that does not actually exist?

Jacinda Ardern Is Not Your Friend
Justine Sachs | Jacobin
Liberal pundits have found a new icon in New Zealand’s centre-left leader, Jacinda Ardern. Ardern may be personable and engaging, but just like Barack Obama and Justin Trudeau, her government isn’t meeting the urgent needs of working people.

Biotech is about more than ownership. It’s about what human beings are
Richard King | Arena
Last week’s announcement that the federal government will seek to legalise a new technique aimed at eliminating mitochondrial disease, a rare but potentially fatal condition that robs the body’s cells of energy, is unlikely to cause much of a stir on the left.

Yes, the Liberals will run a scare campaign. But Labor should tackle negative gearing anyway
Greg Jericho | Crikey
Let us be clear, any political party seeking to do something about housing affordability needs first to change negative gearing and the ability for people to get a 50% discount on capital gains tax rate.

The truth about Australia’s wages
Richard Denniss | The Saturday Paper
Like the dog that caught the car, Australian conservatives have succeeded in a decades-long quest to crush the bargaining power of unions and workers. And, in turn, they have succeeded in crushing average wage growth.

Residents rally for public housing in Eveleigh
Pip Hinman | Green Left Weekly
Despite the rain, a BBQ brought together residents of Explorer Street in Eveleigh, near Redfern, and others campaigning for public housing on February 13. Government plans to “demolish wonderful homes, whack up apartment towers and sell 70% to the private market is wrong”.

Elections aren’t a path to socialism
Daniel Taylor | Red Flag
No matter how much injustice you experience, there’s always a supposed way out: the official, legal path of capitalist democracy, through which every inequality can be ironed out and any reform is theoretically possible. And if the world doesn’t change, it must mean that people don’t really want it to be changed—because, as we’re often told, we get the governments we deserve.

Protest calls for Wiradjuri children to be returned home from Britain
Rachel Evans | Green Left Weekly

Matt Canavan’s false wind meme is linked to the fossil fuel industry
Ketan Joshi | Renew Economy

WA’s Gorgon project fails to deliver on pollution deal, adding millions of tonnes of carbon a year
Emma Young | Nine Newspapers

Wiradjuri artefacts destroyed by British company
Darby Ingram | National Indigenous Times

Myanmar: Australian mining companies put profit ahead of human rights and democracy
Allen Jennings | Green Left Weekly

Australian Proud Boys on the hunt for social media commenters and the elderly
Tom Tanuki | Independent Australia

The net zero dilemma for Australian farmers

Brad Thomson | Australian Financial Review

Third Australian council shows solidarity with removed Kurdish co-mayors in Turkey
Peter Boyle | Green Left Weekly

No point complaining about it, Australia will face carbon levies unless it changes course
John Quiggin | Renew Economy

Rising prices, plummeting rents
Peter Mares | Inside Story

Omnibus bill puts workers and unions under fire
Jerome Small | Red Flag

The sad decline of economic partisanship
Adam Triggs | Inside Story

Australia’s costly no-price carbon policy
Peter Brent | Inside Story