Issue 106: 14 – 21 September 2022

# Housing costs

Yes, Australian house prices are dropping, but from staggering heights
Greg Jericho | The Guardian
The latest housing price data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveals that the interest rate rises have had a quick effect. But while house prices are now falling, the figures reveal just how much the price boom since June 2020 has lowered housing affordability.

Australia buying a house: So good only the rich need apply
Ross Gittins | SMH/Age
Slowly – but sooner than you may think – this country, so proud to be a nation of home owners, is turning into a nation of renters.

Government has responsibility when markets fail – check rentals
Michael Pascoe | The New Daily
People who weren’t captured by the private property industry have been banging on for years about the real housing crisis – rental. It was clear earlier this year that “crisis” was not an adequate term for the shortage of shelter in many areas, a reality that has steadily dawned more broadly in the media.

No Shelter
Elias Greig | Overland
No-grounds evictions make tenant rights a farce. It might happen to any of us who rent, at any time. There is, in this sense, no shelter.

# Climate costs

‘Green Wall Street’ in Australia won’t save the planet. Markets value profits, not platypuses
Richard Denniss | The Guardian
Market-based policies have failed spectacularly when it comes to aged care, disability care and saving the Murray River. But the environment minister wants to see the market “truly valuing nature…”

‘I’m not loyal to coal’: The Hunter readies for change
Tom Morton | The Saturday Paper
An ‘alliance’ of unions and environmental groups is helping change the debate on energy transition in Australia’s biggest coal region.

Climate change threatens up to 100% of trees in Australian cities, and most urban species worldwide
Jaana Dielenberg et al | The Conversation

Works to begin on “world-first” green hydrogen electrolyser in Pilbara 
Anna Pradhan, Sophie Vorrath | Renew Economy

# Living costs

The brutal economics of celebrity culture is turning children into marketing mannequins
Van Badham | The Guardian
The Kardashian children, and others, are working in adult spaces for the family business, whether the parents admit it or not.

Government announces inquiry into childcare costs, while Chalmers promises ‘conversation’ about budget challenges
Michelle Grattan | The Conversation

Work from home is here to stay. What does it mean for the next generation of workers?
Madonna King | Crikey

Five ways to lift living standards
Josh Lees | Red Flag

Australia: More than 3,000 COVID-19 deaths in residential aged care this year
Clare Bruerlin | World Socialist Web Site

# Constitutional costs

Queen Elizabeth II: The palace is winning the propaganda war
Patricia Edgar | Pearls and Irritations
Queen Elizabeth II is dead and ‘the Palace’ is working assiduously to shore up her legacy and the institution of Monarchy. Polls show they are winning the hearts and minds in a propaganda war, with the mass media complicit in its hyperbolic, adulatory, blanket coverage. Debates about the Monarchy are cancelled

Police texts in Kumanjayi Walker case another sordid example of systemic racism in Australia’s legal system
Robyn Newitt | The Conversation

The High Court’s disturbing ruling on preventive detention
Kieran Pender | The Saturday Paper
The High Court has upheld a state law that undermines a core guarantee of liberty and will disproportionately punish Indigenous offenders.

‘We made a country worth living in’: how Australia’s republicans can win in 5 years
Guy Rundle | Crikey
The republican movement needs to wage a cultural struggle. That means rebuilding a positive left historical tradition — and losing some friends.

Britain: New King won’t solve deep crisis
Martin Clarke | Green Left

# Methinks they protest too much

Crackdown on ‘offensive’ protests is progressivism and state power working in perfect union
Guy Rundle | Crikey
Discourses of offensiveness and trauma make state crackdowns possible. They’re now being used against anti-war messages. When will progressive thought leaders wake up?

As resistance grows to the fossil fuel regime, laws are springing up everywhere to suppress climate activists
Jeff Sparrow | The Guardian
The climate crisis accelerates. Anti-protest laws proliferate. These developments are not unrelated.

Queen’s critics met with media backlash
Jennifer Wilson | Independent Australia

# Misc

Swedish elections a ‘political earthquake’ 
Kjell Östberg | Green Left

Metro Trains – One Team?
B Bill | Vanguard
Metro management has sent out an email to all staff asking them to volunteer, yes you read that correctly, volunteer their time to act in a customer service role during the Spring Racing Carnival.

# Memory

‘He was deadly, a deadly man’: remembering the incredible life and work of Uncle Jack Charles
Julie Andrews | The Conversation
Uncle Jack Charles was born on the Cummeragunja Aboriginal Reserve in 1943 and was descended from the Victorian peoples of the Boon Wurrung, Dja Dja Wurrung, Woiwurrung and the Yorta Yorta. He spent his life retracing his ancestral heritage after being forcibly removed from his family.

Swimming in molasses – Elizabeth II leaves a mixed legacy in Australia — and not just for republicans
Frank Bongiorno | Inside Story

The other side of Elizabeth II’s reign: How to profit from plunder while disclaiming responsibility
Binoy Kampmark | Pearls and Irritations
Reactions to the death of Queen Elizabeth II from victims of atrocities during her reign were less than warm. Did the British Crown derive profits of plunder yet disclaim responsibility for colonisation, they asked? The Westminster shroud, in this regard, is thick indeed, a layer of forced exculpation.

With the death of Queen Elizabeth comes the death of a republican dream
Guy Rundle | Crikey
For republicans, the rise of King Charles III has come too early. But their failure is that of rationalism itself, in the face of unifying myth.

Labor approves removal of sacred rock art on the Burrup Peninsula
Jesse Noakes | The Saturday Paper
As Tanya Plibersek grants final approval for a fertiliser plant on the Burrup Peninsula, Woodside has quietly begun expansion of its enormous Pluto gas project. 

Royal adulation keeps minds in chains
Sam Wainwright | Green Left

Right royal parasite is dead
Tom Bramble | Red Flag

Down with all parasites!
Humphrey McQueen| Vanguard

In her ‘devotion to duty’ the Queen sacked an Australian PM described by Philip as a ‘socialist arsehole’ 
John Menadue | Pearls and Irritations

A Tribute To Jean-Luc Godard
Julian Wood |FilmInk

Barbara Ehrenreich Made Socialist Ideas Sound Like Common Sense
Peter Dreier | Jacobin
In announcing his mother’s death, Ben Ehrenreich tweeted: “She was never much for thoughts and prayers, but you can honor her memory by loving one another, and by fighting like hell.”

# Climate

La Niña, 3 years in a row: a climate scientist on what flood-weary Australians can expect this summer
Andrew King | The Conversation
We don’t yet know how La Niña may change as the planet continues to warm, but evidence suggests climate change may make La Niña (and its counterpart El Niño) events more frequent and intense.

Reserve Bank the best bet to save humanity from climate crisis
Alan Kohler | The New Daily
First, it’s the only government body that’s entirely independent of politics and the need to be popular, and it’s clear that political democracy is failing to deal with climate change, and second, the Reserve Bank can create money.

Will climate collapse do our heads in?
Mark Furlong | Arena
One third of Pakistan’s arable land is underwater. Last year, for the first time, wildfires gutted lands above the Arctic Circle. Right now, drought is afflicting much of the United States, Europe and Africa. Temperatures have exceeded historical maximums in, well, heaps of places. Even big cities are not inviolate: insurance companies are doing the sums on the impact a hurricane will have if it strikes New York in the coming decades.

# Capital vs Economy

Australians are spending hard, despite real wages falling. It’s a fragile situation
Greg Jericho | The Guardian
On the surface the 0.9% quarterly growth and 3.6% annual growth is very strong. But you can thank people drawing down on their savings to spend, despite wages going backwards in real terms, rather than any boom in production.

Now Sydney has two casinos run by companies unfit to hold a gaming licence
Charles Livingstone | The Conversation

‘I am hopeless now’: Australia’s $9.65 billion torture camps
Mike Seccombe | The Saturday Paper
As the Albanese government prepares to finalise a Nauru contract with an American prisons operator, the cost of the brutal enterprise has stretched into billions of dollars. 

Cap negative gearing and capital gains: how to patch Australia’s revenue hole
Benjamin Clark | Crikey
Treasurer Jim Chalmers has indicated Labor might pivot towards raising taxes. It’s a sensible move, especially if it targets Australia’s wealthiest.

There is no ‘magic wand’ for Australia’s healthcare system, but we desperately need a rethink
Ranjana Srivastava | The Guardian
Imagine an ecosystem that served us from birth to death with an emphasis on preventative and community care

Our New New Times: Labor’s Alternative To Capital Is Capital
Guy Rundle | Arena

# Labour

Industrial-strength labour reforms
Paul Bongiorno | The Saturday Paper
The spectacle may not be as dramatic as that moment in French history that saw the old order swept aside in bloody revolutionary fervour, but its significance for Australia could be just as profound.

Australia’s Unemployment System Is a Marketized, Bureaucratic Nightmare
Owen Bennett | Jacobin
Australia’s privatized employment services system doesn’t help people find work. Instead, thanks to reforms first introduced by the Labor Party, it punishes welfare recipients with a bureaucratic maze of “mutual obligations.”

How we turned helping the disadvantaged find jobs into the Hunger Games
Ross Gittins | SMHAge 
Workforce Australia locks people into an endless cycle of make-busy activities like Work for the Dole and poor-quality training courses. It reaches less than 10 per cent of employers, and offers them little assistance.

Where to after the Jobs and Skills Summit?
Sarah Hathaway | Green Left

Apple workers organise to fight for a fair enterprise agreement
Isaac Nellist | Green Left
Apple proposed a new EA that not only included a real wage cut, it would allow management to roster workers for 60 hours a week, without overtime.

Childcare workers strike for pay, conditions in ‘largest shutdown’ ever
Jim McIlroy | Green Left

Australia and New Zealand end daily COVID-19 reporting: The “let it rip” conspiracy against the population
Oscar Grenfell | World Socialist Web Site
The decision has no scientific or medical basis. It has been sharply condemned by principled epidemiologists in both countries as an attack on the populations’ right to know about the still unfolding medical emergency and the ability of public health experts to track it.

# Misc

Reformist strategy leads to defeat of Chile’s new constitution
Clara da Costa-Reidel, Tom Sullivan | Red Flag

Who controls your data online? Hint: it’s not you!
Manal al-Sharif | Michael West Media
Every day, living our busy lives, we are lulled into a false sense of security about our privacy. It happens almost every time we “agree to the terms and conditions”.