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Issue #1732      May 25, 2016


A spectre is haunting the Coalition and it is called Tony Abbott’s policies and attitudes. The leadership change-over in the Liberal Party was supposed to breathe new life into stalled unpopular policies. For a short while some people hoped that Mr Turnbull was the one capable of resolving the situation in a gentlemanly way. Changing deckchairs on a sinking capitalist ship is a popular game but it does not really work, does it? Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Peter Dutton took it upon himself to label potential migrants as being uneducated, unwilling to work and bludging on Medicare. They’ll be welfare customers, according to Dutton and at the same time they’ll be taking our jobs!?!? Statements like this coming from politicians are poison for a multicultural society like Australia.

Education in prisons is essential for breaking the cycle of poverty and crime and reducing re-offending. Until now in NSW, educational services have been provided by highly qualified, experienced publicly-funded teachers. In a shock move, the NSW Baird government has dismissed that teaching workforce with a plan to have clerks, who will not necessarily be required to have any teaching qualifications, take over the teaching of inmates. “Mike Baird is a fanatic when it comes to privatisation and attacking the public service,” said NSW Teachers’ Federation president Maurie Mulheron. “It’s all about shifting public dollars to private for-profit providers.” The Baird government has already gutted TAFE funding, meanwhile sending the dollars in the direction of private vocational education.

A CSIRO report found that Victoria’s so-called “flameproof houses” were more likely to burn down than older houses. Home-owners in bushfire-prone areas have been required to use flame-resistant materials since 2009. It added up to $200,000 to their cost. The report examined the fires in the coastal communities of Wye River and Separation Creek where 116 houses had been lost to bushfire. There were seven flameproof houses built with an added cost of between $5,000 and $200,000 and four of them burnt down. Of older houses built after 2003 but not of flameproof design, only three of 11 burned. The report highlighted a range of specific weaknesses in the design specifications of current regulatory standards. Among key flaws identified in the report is the policy that allows flameproofs to be built using materials that are often not flame resistant at all.

“It has only been a week and we are already seeing the influence of Baird’s handpicked administrator in the inner west. This can only be a sign of what’s to come in Baird’s undemocratic amalgamation agenda,” said Greens MP and local government spokesman David Shoebridge. He was commenting on the disappearance of critical WestConnex posts from Facebook pages. Richard Pearson is the new administrator of the merged inner west councils, Marrickville, Leichhardt and Ashfield and many critics of the giant WestConnex road project feel that he had been installed to help push the project through, despite local resistance.

Next article – Culture & Life – Not so rich after all

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