“Sydney’s burning.” That might be a headline from any Australian media outlet today, given the fires consuming New South Wales (and other states). But it’s actually the title of Ian Turner’s classic account of the suppression by the Australian government of an international labour union, Industrial Workers of the World, in 1916. Turner explains how, in an Australia deeply divided by Billy Hughes’s plans for conscription, a series of suspicious blazes provided pretext for draconian repression, with 12 members of the antiwar IWW imprisoned for, among other offences, “feloniously and wickedly conspire[ing] to burn down and destroy buildings and shops in Sydney and elsewhere in the state”. The story’s one that resonates in a post-9/11 world. In the last decades, we’ve become accustomed to leaders hyping up supposed threats (most historians consider the charges against the IWW Twelve a crude frame-up) to national security to push … [Read more...] about Beware terrorists but don’t sweat the climate crisis – how blind can Morrison be?
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Malta’s prime minister, Joseph Muscat, is facing renewed pressure to quit immediately as EU leaders are urged to take a stand on the “desperate” situation in the country at a summit this week. Muscat, who is under fire over his role in the investigation into the murder of the journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, plans to attend a regular summit of EU leaders in Brussels on Thursday and Friday. The embattled leader has promised to stand down in January after his Labour party has elected a replacement, despite calls from protesters in Malta and MEPs that he should go sooner. Now, in an open letter to European Union leaders, a coalition of media and transparency groups have called on them to take a stand in the case. “Our organisations now call on European Union leaders to urge prime minister Muscat to guarantee that all investigations and legal proceedings will be conducted impartially, promptly and effectively, and without any involvement or influence at all from … [Read more...] about EU leaders ‘should put pressure on Malta’s PM to quit immediately’
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday received the two new leaders of the Social Democrats (SPD), who last week called into question their party's ruling coalition with Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU). The new SPD co-chairs, Saskia Esken and Norbert Walter-Borjans, were chosen by party members over more establishment candidates, signalling a desire to move the party more to the left. Esken and Walter-Borjans' criticism of the coalition had prompted fears of a possible government collapse and early elections. However, the pair tentatively walked back their comments after the party voted against a motion to quit the partnership at their national convention over the weekend. Instead they are opting for new talks with the CDU where they intend to press for reformslike a higher minimum wage and more robust climate change iniatives. They also want to overhaul the unemployment benefit system known as Hartz IV. "We were the party that introduced Hartz IV, we … [Read more...] about Merkel meets new SPD leaders amid coalition tensions
Finland's new Prime Minister Sanna Marin - the world's youngest head of government - made her international debut on Thursday at an EU summit in Brussels. The 34-year-old quickly made friends with French President Emmanuel Macron, 41, as the pair were photographed swapping jokes. She was also seen mingling with the likes of Germany's Angela Merkel, Romania's Klaus Iohannis, Denmark's Mette Frederiksen and Belgium's Sophie Wilmes in the lobby of the Europa building. The two-day summit will see leaders discuss climate change, the EU budget, Brexit, Russian sanctions and the euro zone. Marin said: 'The ambitious climate goals that we have to take - the new generations are expecting us to act and we have to fulfil the expectations of the people. I'm worried about this climate issue. 'We have to do more, we have to do it faster. It's about the future of our children. I am very much looking forward that we would find a common goal today.' Marin mixed with world … [Read more...] about Finland’s new 34-year-old PM makes her debut on the world stage: Sanna Marin quickly makes friends with Macron as she attends her first EU summit and calls for ‘ambitious climate goals for the future of our children’
An energy company seeks to develop an impoverished region. When ecologists raise concerns about the effects on a natural wonder, state politicians call them middle-class interlopers who care nothing for the rural economy. As environmentalists rally in the big cities, local workers march for their jobs. The conservatives insist the project must go ahead while deep divisions wrack the Labor party. That might be a description of the politics of Adani’s Carmichael coalmine, but it’s not. It’s a summary of the struggle over the Franklin Dam in the early 1980s – perhaps the most significant environmental protest in Australian history. Looking back at the Franklin controversy from 2019, one cannot help but be struck by how many of the arguments said to make the Carmichael mine uniquely problematic for environmentalists applied with equal or greater force to the Tasmanian Hydro Electric Commission’s scheme to dam the Gordon River. “If there’s one thing … [Read more...] about The environment vs jobs? We have been in this fight before