The Guardian • Issue #2019


  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2019

The proposal by the Albanese government for an Indigenous Voice in parliament would be a body which makes representations to parliament on matters that affect Indigenous peoples. But only if a referendum, Albanese says will take place in this term of parliament, gives it the thumbs up. Thomas Mayor is a Torres Strait Islander man and a signatory to the Uluru Statement from the Heart. He notes the significance of the Voice and the contradictions of its critics, with former Coalition governments claiming on the one hand that it would be a third chamber in parliament and on the other that it is “virtue signalling”; just words. “We should start working for a Yes vote now,” Mayor urges. “[Critics] say it won’t address issues such as domestic violence and incarceration rates. This is false. Domestic violence in our communities is not a matter of our DNA as Indigenous people. It is a matter of policy failures, prejudice and harmful legislation from parliaments who refuse to listen to us on how the issue can be addressed. Domestic violence is prevalent in communities where housing is crowded. Where poverty is entrenched. Where water is undrinkable. Where traumas continue to be inflicted. Indigenous incarceration rates are so high because we have justice systems that are skewed against our people. We know this. But we are merely three per cent of the population, we don’t have the means to hold parliament to account to address the root cause of these issues. Establishing a constitutionally guaranteed Voice is the most practical action we can take.”

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble. Wages for Australian workers will continue to be cut in real terms until June 2024, according to projections released by the Reserve Bank of Australia. The RBA also predicts that wage growth has barely picked up: only reaching 2.6 per cent for the year to the June quarter, up from 2.4 per cent in the 22nd March quarter, despite inflation surging ahead to 6.1 per cent and expected to reach 7.75 per cent by the end of the year. Workers will also be stung with domestic retail, gas and electricity prices expected to increase by ten to fifteen per cent over the second half of 2022 according to the RBA, on top of steep rises to mortgage repayments. Big business is passing the increased costs on to consumers, while corporate profits are at record highs: all of it a recipe of explosive ingredients.

PARASITE OF THE WEEK: Big oil. Shell, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, and BP posted global record profits according to half-yearly earnings, off the back of rising world energy prices. Half-yearly profits for all companies together had almost doubled to US$55.2 billion, up from US$28.7 billion for the same period last year. These companies have paid little or no tax in Australia. Workers employed by Shell on the Prelude offshore facility have been taking industrial action in pursuit of job security and career progression claims after eighteen months of fruitless negotiations.

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