Wednesday 23 November 2022

Not a Russian Missile.


Last Monday, the ABC’s Media Watch did something surprising. Its presenter, Paul Barry, cast a critical eye on Aussie media coverage of the Ukrainian war. The event catching Barry’s attention was the missile that hit a Polish town, killing two farmers.


Unless you were comatose, you must have seen the veritable procession of “experts” coming out of the woodwork to pontificate on the latest Russian outrage.

It’s hard to pick a winner, but after much thought my vote for the most idiotic comment must go to Greg Sheridan, The Australian’s chief agenda-pusher foreign editor.

“It’s hard to imagine that anyone else fired the missile except the Russians”, said Sheridan. “Joe Biden said it didn’t seem to come from Russia, so presumably it was fired from Donbas or Crimea or perhaps from the sea. Russia fired 100 missiles on Ukraine in a day. No one else was firing missiles on Ukraine”.

Friday 11 November 2022

Between a Rock and a Hard Place.

I couldn’t suppress a smile when I saw this:


First, I despise that bloke. Second, I despise his fans (including the Aussie ones). To see the evil bastards look like the fools they are feels good.

Sunday 16 October 2022

Bits and Pieces.

I think we can give up hope this third consecutive La Niña will be any better than her two previous sisters.

On Thursday 6th Sydney broke the record for the rainiest year since data collection began in 1858: that day rainfall over Observatory Hill meteorological station totalled 2,206.8 mm. The previous record (2,194.0 mm in 1950) had stood for 72 years.


To give readers – particularly European ones – an idea how much rain that is: in the 278 days of the year from January 1st to October 6th 2,606.8 litres of water fell over every square metre around Observatory Hill (1,000 litres of distilled water weigh 1,000 kg: one tonne).

From October 6th to the end of the year there are 87 days.

Saturday 8 October 2022

Quotable Quotes: Zelensky and Biden.

A small nuclear explosion: only 23 kilotons. [A]

“But what is important – I once again appeal to the international community, as I did before February 24 – we need pre-emptive strikes, so that they [the Russians] will know what will happen to them if they use nukes, and not the other way around.
“Don’t wait for Russia’s nuclear strikes, and then say, ‘Oh, since you did this, take that from us!’ Reconsider the way you apply pressure. This is what NATO should do – reconsider the order in which it applies pressure [on Russia]” – Volodymir Zelensky (English translation, as reported here).

With that Zelensky was answering Michael Fullilove, executive director of the Lowy Institute, in Sydney on Thursday 6th. During the question and answer session following Zelensky’s speech Fullilove had asked: “Mr President, in your remarks you mentioned nuclear blackmail. Mr Putin told us the other day that he’s not bluffing. So may I ask you, do you believe that the likelihood of the use of Russian nuclear weapons against Ukraine has risen, and what more do you want NATO to do to deter Russia from using nuclear weapons?”

Wednesday 5 October 2022

Peddling Fake News.

Last week SBS journos – self-appointed guardians of journalistic truth – were wondering:


Alas, it was fake news. In fairness, they were not alone, and – as a matter of fact – did not fully commit to the rumours, as other news outlets did. A number of talking heads, accepted worldwide as experts on the matter, were much more sure that something was going on:


There’s a lot of Western experts and journos who lost the plot, which means the Western media is suffering from Putin-Xi Derangement Syndrome.

Tuesday 27 September 2022

Workers’ Mail: Proud to Protest.


In Australia we’ve grown used to be endlessly lectured on how lucky we are for living in a liberal democracy. It’s “government of the people, by the people, for the people” this; “rule of law” that. Aussie pollies go around the world in a crusade against foreign autocrats.

It sounds good, right?

Thursday 22 September 2022

Quotable Quotes: BOOM!

This is the context of that particular fragment of Vladimir Putin’s announcement:
They [Washington, London and Brussels] have even resorted to the [sic] nuclear blackmail. I am referring not only to the Western-encouraged shelling of the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant, which poses a threat of a nuclear disaster, but also to the statements made by some high-ranking representatives of the leading NATO countries on the possibility and admissibility of using weapons of mass destruction – nuclear weapons – against Russia.

I would like to remind those who make such statements regarding Russia that our country has different types of weapons as well, and some of them are more modern than the weapons NATO countries have. In the event of a threat to the territorial integrity of our country and to defend Russia and our people, we will certainly make use of all weapon systems available to us. This is not a bluff.

I think that reminder is needed because, watching the news this public holiday, I noticed nobody seem to have it in mind (I’m looking at you, Jeremy Fernandes and your guests at The Drum).

Sunday 18 September 2022

What’s Degrowth?


Let me begin by saying something degrowth is not. Degrowth is not the most frequent subject in the media.

A Google search returned no hits whatsoever for the string “degrowth de-growth abc” on the ABC written media (it did return one discussion on Radio National … back in 2014). With 26,800 hits, a similar search fared better at The Guardian (as a rule of thumb, I’d say that The Guardian, and certainly its Aussie franchise, seems to assign climate and the environment a higher editorial priority). That, however, is not much compared to the Green New Deal: the search ““green new deal” guardian” returned 16 times as many results.

Correspondingly, the overwhelming majority of those pushing for climate change action take for granted that some variant of green growth/GND is the only possible prescription for climate change.

That assumption is seldom disputed, in part because GNDers and Degrowthers debates are unusual (two exceptions: the brief Branko Milanovic versus Jason Hickel …. back in 2017 or Robert Pollin and Noam Chomsky, on the GND corner, against Hickel on the Degrowth in 2020).

So, what’s Degrowth, exactly?

Tuesday 13 September 2022

We’re on a Roll: three Niñas, One After the Other!


Since records began in 1900 Australia had only two triple La Niña events. Now we have three: the Bureau of Meteorology just declared the third La Niña. Like I said, we’re on a roll. Kate Doyle has the story.

Meteorological services overseas had declared the start of La Niña last August, but our BOM follows a slightly more conservative methodology and had refrained from following them. No more.

This third La Niña comes after two extremely rainy years (see above) and the ground is saturated, rivers and creeks and dams are full.

Monday 12 September 2022

A Tale of Two Lakes.

What you see in green in the left-most image below was Pakistan’s Lake Manchar (June 25th): the largest freshwater reservoir in that country. After catastrophic monsoon rains and with increased meltwater inflow from the Himalayas, the swollen lake has suffered breaches (accidental and deliberate), resulting in the two images to the right (August 28th and September 5th).


A more comprehensive view of the Indus Valley floods (in blue, waters)::

August 4th (source)

Fourteen days later.


By contrast, this was Lake Poyang (Jiangxi Province) on July 10th, fed by the Yangtze River:


This year’s high temperatures and scarce rains have reduced the Yangtze River, the world’s sixth by discharge, to a trickle. As a result this was Poyang on August 27th:

On average the Yangtze discharges some 30 thousand cubic metres of water per second. By comparison, the Rhine and Danube, also drying, discharge on average some 3 thousand and 7 thousand, respectively.

So far the average world temperature has increased by something like 1.1 - 1.2°C. If we were to stick to the commitments countries made at COP26 - a big if - we will be on our way to 2.4 - 2.6°C.

Just let that sink in.

Thursday 8 September 2022

The Bad and the Good Foreign Interference.

Australia was sidelined by the US. America completely disregarded the concerns of its supposed ally under the Anzus Treaty, Australia was treated with contempt … And the end result of this war was that Australia lost 41 soldiers killed, 241 wounded and over 500 who have since committed suicide, for the Taliban to be replaced with the Taliban” – Hugh Poate, whose son, 23-yo Robert Poate, was murdered in Afghanistan by an Afghan National army soldier in 2012. Our American “friends” let the murderer go without even warning their Australian vassals mates.

Foreign interference and, more broadly, influence is something that worries well-informed Australians. Well, to be precise, only some foreign interference worries Aussies. Apparently, we prefer to remain uninformed about some of it. You know, we don’t need to worry about foreign interference from our “friends”. You see, they love us and are benevolent, thus their interference is good. Australia and the US are “like-minded” nations, as has become fashionable to say.

Worried about agents of foreign influence? Just look at who owns Australia’s biggest companies

Most of Australia’s biggest companies are majority-owned by US investors.
Clinton Fernandes, UNSW Sydney

Saturday 20 August 2022

Quotable Quotes: Absurd.


Journalist: Mr. President, how worried are you about the situation in Taiwan?

Joe Biden: I’m not worried, but I’m concerned that they [the Chinese] are moving as much as they are. (August 8th)

Do they speak English in the US?

Sunday 14 August 2022

One-China Trickery, Bill Birtles? Whose Trickery?


What if I told you that your reading ability — coupled with your critical thinking and sense of decency — is critically important as we are being pushed into what may well end up being the Third World War?

It’s a big responsibility, isn’t it? You don’t have to accept the challenge, but if you do, read on.

Thursday 11 August 2022

A July of Extremes

That’s how hot North America, Europe, Africa and parts of Asia were in early July.

From the Earth Observatory release:
At the beginning of July 2022, NOAA’s monthly climate outlook favored temperatures well above average across much of the United States. The outlook proved prescient.
Around the globe in summer 2022, wave after wave of heat crested and broke. Heat waves, particularly in Europe and Asia, caused thousands of heat-related deaths. On July 19, the U.K. had its hottest day ever recorded as temperatures topped 104°F (40°C). In the U.S., the heat was pervasive and persistent as atmospheric high-pressure systems established stagnant heat domes, which placed more than 150 million people under heat warnings and advisories. Nearly every region of the continental U.S. experienced above-average temperatures. Several states saw record-breaking triple-digit highs, some for days on end. With the added impact of high humidity in many regions, the extreme heat threatened life and health. (The entire release is here)

It’s been a long, hot summer over there: in Spain and Portugal the first record-breaking heatwave happened in late spring.

This is a global view, from the World Meteorological Organisation:


“This kind of heatwave is the new normal” – Prof. Petteri Taalas, WMO Secretary-General.

But it’s not only the heath. Over Europe and parts of North America it’s been dry:


“No similar data in the last 230 years compares with the drought and heat we are experiencing this year. Then we have had storms … These episodes are growing in frequency and intensity, exactly as forecast by climate reports over the last 30 years. Why do we continue to wait to make this a priority?” – Luca Mercalli, president of the Italian Meteorological Society.



Mercalli is right. In Spain, for example, after a dry winter, dams are at 40% capacity: 20 percentage points less than the 10 last years’ average. But that’s the average for all reservoirs, for all uses. In those for human consumption the situation is worse: 35% left.

Hot, dry weather spells wildfires:


Wildfires in a dozen European countries have already burned over 600K hectares (Algeria and Tunisia not included), the second highest such figure ever recorded, according to the Joint Research Centre of the European Union.

To be sure, wildfires are common in southern Europe and around the Mediterranean. But this year Britain, Germany, Slovenia and the Czech Republic have also been visited by the flames.

Official fire seasons in southern Europe and the Mediterranean typically run from June to September. It’s still mid-August. So, they might face another month or so of wildfires.

But actual wildfire seasons have been getting longer.

And that’s not necessarily the worst. In some ways, in eastern Siberia it is worse:


By mid/late June wildfires in Russia had already affected an area 50% larger than the area affected in the whole of the European Union and Britain combined up to July.

Dry and hot weather also spells crop failure:


40% of Italy's agricultural output comes from the Po River Valley. It is going through its worse drought in more than 70 years. But the situation in other southern European countries, like Spain and Portugal and parts of southern France, if any better, is not much better.

Excessive rain, however, is not an unmitigated good either.

And, yes, July also saw rainfall records being broken. It was only mid-July when Sydney had already broken a 164-year-old record:


“So, to see more than that [i.e. the previous record] just in one half of the month is nothing short of extraordinary” – Weatherzone meteorologist Ben Domensino.

Over here we’re heading out of winter (an unusually cooler one, as you can see in the WMO map). Unexpected rainfall, however, might be far from over. This is how Australia looked like on Wednesday at about 0900 AEST:


By recent standards (2020-2022 ), that cloud cover does not look exceptional.

Further south a very different kind of record was also broken:


Okay, but what does that mean, exactly? Well, in plain English it means this:


According to the Copernicus Climate Change Service, last July Antarctic sea ice cover was 1.1 million km² below the 1991-2020 average for July: 7% under average. In fact, this July’s Antarctic ice cover was the lowest value registered since data collection started 44 years ago.

Is that much?

To give an idea what 1.1 million km² means: about the total area (i.e. the sum of all land and territorial seas a country claims as its own) of Colombia or Ethiopia and a little less than the total area of Alaska: some ten times the total area of Kentucky. Add the areas of the two largest European Union members, France and Spain. Think of South Australia. That’s about 1.1 million km².

Further, unusually reduced Antarctic sea ice cover was not just a July feature: sea ice cover has been unusually low since last February.

Nor is that phenomenon limited to Antarctica. Arctic ice cover was 4% below its July average.

That may be shocking, but it’s hardly surprising. Last March (it does sound like a long time ago, doesn’t it?) this was making headlines all over the planet:


 Let me try to highlight the good and the bad in that particular news:
  • The good news: to the extent that this is only polar sea ice cover, it doesn’t involve sea levels rising.
  • The bad news: whether sea level rises or not with that melting, less ice cover accelerates global heating. You see, ice is white. It reflects sunlight back into space.
The thing is that polar ice is not always sea ice. And, if you go back to the WMO map you can safely bet that not only sea ice melted: those figures say nothing about the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. Well, their ice melting does raise sea levels.

Additionally, to the best of my knowledge, we do not know how that flow of fresh water affects oceanic currents, like the Gulf Stream.

So far, the world’s average temperature has increased by a little over 1.1ºC. But our planet is already cooking.

This is not something hypothesided for a distant future. It’s happening now. The future is here. The record-breaking storms and droughts are here. Water consumption is being rationed or is about to be rationed. The unprecedented wildfires are happening now. Our rivers either run dry or overflow. Crops are already failing. The repair bills go into the billions figures. People are already losing their livelihoods. Already property cannot be insured. People must relocate, but can’t afford it or have nowhere else to go. The most desperate try to migrate, but doors are seldom open. They are the lucky ones: others are already either starving or dying of heath stroke, or drowning in floods and burning in wildfires. Health is being compromised for life. Rains cause mudslides, heath causes snow avalanches.

Even if we acted decisively now, it won’t get any better any time soon. The immediate goal is to keep things from getting worse, to steer the planet away from a worse future. Worse as in much, much worse.

But we are not acting decisively. Not really.

Instead, we are busy with other “priorities”. Like the kind of things national security “experts” like to talk about: we need to get ready to fight an absurd, self-destructive, unnecessary direct war with Choinah while fighting an absurd, self-destructive, unnecessary proxy war with Russia.

Those disasters we are already seeing are not matters of national security – ask those “experts”.

I suppose their madness, idiocy, ignorance, shortsightedness, irresponsibility are also, somehow, Pew-teen’s fault.

Wednesday 3 August 2022

The Inmates do Run the Asylum (Updated).

Maybe my GP is right. I might be worrying too much. I shouldn’t follow the news so closely.


Judge by yourself.

Wednesday 27 July 2022

Climate Change Bill: Much Ado About Nothing.


Yesterday was the first sitting day of the 47th Australian Parliament. In the lead up the usual suspects opinionators were hyperventilating in public, as they busily urged the Greens in the Senate – and David Pocock, I suppose – to approve the so-called Climate Change Bill 2022.

They were not alone. Labor environmental activists had been shaking their fists at the Greens before. Won’t somebody please think of the children!

Such dramatic urgency seemed a bit strange – to me. I mean, why a Bill that was virtually unknown to the public – even its precise title was uncertain, for Christ’s sake! – could be deemed so vital? Did they know something I didn’t?

Monday 25 July 2022

Labor and Climate Change: Déjà Vu … all Over Again?

In 2007 the Australian Labor Party, under Kevin Rudd, inflicted a painful defeat on the COALition. From 60 MPs the ALP had before the federal election, their Lower House representation swelled to 83 (more than enough to pass legislation). And 22 of those new MPs were replacing defeated COALition MPs, whose House contingent was reduced to 65.

To make things worse for the COALition, even John Howard, until then PM, lost his safe seat of Bennelong and “moderate” Malcolm Turnbull, who soon was chosen federal Opposition Leader, was facing an extreme Right insurgency, led by Tony Abbott and Nick Minchin.

In the Senate, things were only slightly less favourable for Rudd, the new Labor PM:

Why the difference in results? Because in Australia, normally only half the Senate seats are contested each election. So, perhaps Labor could have done much better in the Senate, but only half its seats were in dispute. (It would have taken a double dissolution for all Parliament seats to be contested).

Wednesday 20 July 2022

Anthony Albanese’s Self-Imposed Constraints.

Given the news, it’s hard for an environmentally-conscious socialist worker to focus on a single topic.

Think about it. Should I focus on the catastrophic drought, heat wave and/or wildfires afflicting Europe, north Africa and Asia? What about the megadrought that left Lake Mead dry? Should I focus on it, instead?


Or, rather, should I report on the unprecedented rainfall – and unusual snowfall – in southeastern Australia?


Some parts, registered four major flooding events since March:

Monday 18 July 2022

The English Revolution is Being Televised (Updated).


Rejoice, largely white and male, generally straight, often old, and invariably educated, upwardly mobile and relatively affluent progressive, identitarian and Liberal-Leftish intellectuals from English speaking rich nations! The revolution is happening in your lifetime!

Saturday 16 July 2022

Worker’s Mail: a Friendly Reminder.

Clare O’Brien, writing for Working Life, the ACTU newsletter, remind us that we must check our payslips carefully:
As we ring in a new financial year, we welcome a very well-deserved pay increase for minimum wage workers. As of 1 July, those on minimum wage should expect a 5.2 per cent pay rise while those on awards will receive either a 4.2 per cent increase or an extra $40 per week (whichever of the two is highest).

Also coming into effect on 1 July is the removal of the $450 threshold for super contributions. Are you starting to receive super for the first time? It’s important you make the right choice for you about which super fund your employer starts contributing to. Here’s a good place to start your research.
Australian union members fought long and hard for these much-needed changes that Australian workers have truly earned!


Tuesday 12 July 2022

Sleepwalking to Armageddon?


New York City Emergency Management is a department within the Government of New York City. It is responsible for helping “New Yorkers before, during, and after emergencies through preparedness, education, and response.”

The opening paragraph of their press release:
July 11, 2022 — New York City Emergency Management Department today launched a new public service announcement (PSA) that focuses on nuclear preparedness. While the likelihood of a nuclear weapon incident occurring in/near New York City is very low, it is important New Yorkers know the steps to stay safe. The new PSA encourages New Yorkers to take key, simple steps in the event of such an incident.

Their PSA:


Friday 8 July 2022

Proof Conclusive.

Boris Johnson finally resigned as UK PM, after his own ministers started resigning, in protest for Johnson’s constant scandals and lies.

The reaction in the UK?


I suppose the irony was as lost on British journos as it was lost on Keith Starmer: Sir Keith (Labour Party leader) is calling for a regime change … in the UK.

Friday 1 July 2022

Quotable Quotes.

“I don’t know how they want to get undressed, above or below the waist, but I think it would be a disgusting sight in any case”, Volodya Pew-teen, as quoted by AP.

I’m just a low-income, sort-of white, ageing, male, semi-educated Aussie worker: a pleb. To rub shoulders with such VIPs is not one of my many privileges, so I have no direct, personal knowledge on those matters and it’s impossible for me to say either way.

Tuesday 14 June 2022

Hoisted with Our Own Petard (Updated).


There’s little need for words: Western economic sanctions on Russky gas and oil. Fuel prices go up. Price of everything follows (“Putin’s price hike”). Fed lifts interest rates. RBA follows.

Next … recession?

Wednesday 8 June 2022

Bits and Pieces: The Missing Average and Suppressed Memories.

As I struggle with some newly discovered health problems, my attention tends to drift to different things. These are two.

The Missing Average and the two Australias.

This is a recent temperature anomaly map produced by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, reproduced today by the ABC, with Kate Doyle’s customarily excellent comments:

One part of Australia (the largest one) exceeds it, the other falls short of it, but pretty much nowhere average temperatures for this time of the year are found. The thick black line shows the border between the two (the exception is the corridor along both sides of the borderline).

Monday 30 May 2022

Anthony Albanese: Conflict Fatigue? Collaboration? Consensus?

(source info up to 20:00 Monday 30th)

Ten days since the federal elections, the precise composition of the 47th Parliament is not yet certain: too close to call, two seats remain in doubt.

However, the Australian Labor Party did form a majority government after securing 76 seats in the 151-seat House of Representatives. Last week its federal Leader, Anthony Albanese, was sworn as Prime Minister.

The COALition suffered a devastating defeat: 17 seats lost, as far as I can tell, all of them Liberal Party of Australia so-called “moderates”: Josh Fraudenberg, Jason Falinsky and Tim Wilson, more prominently. The combined Liberal/National lower house fraction shrank to 57.

The Australian Greens gained three new seats. Six teal independents (all of them more ambitious than Labor on climate change) plus a former Liberal non-teal allegedly independent joined the three already seating independents.

Thursday 19 May 2022

The Left in These Elections (Updated).


Well, as far as the politicians are concerned the die was cast. Election day is tomorrow.

As regular readers may be aware, I don’t have much faith in the much vaunted “liberal democracy”. Still and all, that’s what we have. So, it’s up to us, the people to make the best decision possible given what’s available. We better not screw it.

So what’s available to readers of a Left-wing persuasion who are also concerned with climate change? In a way, the choice is simple.

Sunday 15 May 2022

Is Labor’s Climate Change Plan Guided by Science?

Just as I was finishing the previous post, federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese fronted a presser from Fitzroy Island (Friday 13th). In a major break with what we had observed during this campaign, he announced a number of measures supposedly meant to deal with climate change, plus a $220 million program to save endangered native species.

The main announcement, however, was a “Reef 2050 Plan” to save the Great Barrier Reef, by means of improving water quality and eradicating crown-of-thorns starfish.

That’s all good and well. As things are, the Great Barrier Reef is already in serious danger.

90%+ of reefs surveyed affected by coral bleaching in 2022. Source.

However, Labor’s adoption of Minister for Environment Sussan Ley’s habit of lobbying before UNESCO to keep the GBR heritage status, in spite of scientific considerations is troublesome. Sorry, Albo, no amount of lobbying will fix what we see in that map.

Friday 13 May 2022

Climate Change: Who Promises What?

In this election campaign the COALition has set the debating agenda. And they have done their best to bury climate change.

Permanently on the defensive, the Australian Labor Party has done little to change that. An attempt by Labor’s Penny Wong (considering climate change implications to Australia and our Pacific neighbours’ national securities) was rather embarrassing (not because she wasn’t right on her criticism to the COALitiion, but because after her criticism an eventual Labor government had little more to offer). You really should see “Postcards from the frontlines of climate change”, by the ABC’s Asia Pacific Newsroom.

This may have been a blessing in disguise. Scientists have more relevant things to say.

Wednesday 11 May 2022


The Tailor of Folk Suits. [A]

Productivity isn’t everything, but in the long run it is almost everything. A country’s ability to improve its standard of living over time depends almost entirely on its ability to raise its output per worker. – Paul Krugman.
It’s an election campaign and pollies are not debating productivity. Imagine that.

Well, they aren’t debating many things. For example, last year, by this time, all the talk was COVID. Today? Not a peep. More importantly, climate change is at best an afterthought.
But it’s productivity that the economically-minded Very Serious People, like Laura Tingle, have in mind as the most important thing ever:
The good news is that growth and employment are strong. The bad news is inflation and interest rates are rising and are going to keep rising and wages are only just starting to pick up. That brings us back to one of those issues we just aren’t talking about in this election.
Which is? Cut to Danielle Wood, CEO of the Grattan Institute:
If we’re serious about getting real wages growth for the longer term, we really need to be talking about productivity and that is actually something that’s been missing from this election campaign.

Sunday 8 May 2022

VE Day: Germanophobia.

Marshal Zhukov reading the German Instrument of Surrender
in Berlin, Germany on March 8, 1945. Also seen Arthur
Tedder, Marshal of the Royal Air Force. [A]

As a late baby-boomer, I grew up among people who experienced WWII first hand. We were their children.

My youth’s old-timers carried with them bad, bad memories. Rancour towards Germans wasn’t unusual, even among those who were never directly affected. It wasn’t unusual either, for us kids to hear from our elders that “the only good German is a dead German”.

Forgiveness, I guess, was a lot easier for us, kids.

Back then that rancour had always, invariably, angered me. No matter how many bad guys, or how bad they were – I would reply – there were good Germans too, surely? Blanket condemnations are inherently unjust. Those good Germans deserved not only to be spared but acknowledged.

Thursday 5 May 2022

#ClimateStrike May 6 – Sydney.

The SS4C kids are calling a strike this Friday 6. In Sydney strikers and supporters will meet at Town Hall at 12:00.

These are their demands:

  1. Net zero by 2030 which means no new coal, oil or gas projects.
  2. 100% renewable energy generation and exports by 2030.
  3. Fund a just transition and job creation for all fossil fuel workers and their communities.

Their website offers more info. You can also donate.

This strike, in particular, could be crucial, because the elections are two weeks away (the strike is COVID-safe: bring face mask/hand sanitiser and stay at home if unwell).


Monday 2 May 2022

May Day, May Day! Wages Down! Wages Down!


In the last 23 years nominal wages growth in Australia peaked in the second half of 2008 (4.3%). Since then, with partial and short-lived recoveries, the general tendency has been to a fall. We seem to be in the midst of one such recovery: from a low of 1.4% in the second half of 2020 to 2.3% by the end of 2021. When will this recovery, very partial as it is, stop or how much ground will it regain remains to be seen.

Although not ideal, in the low-inflation environment prevalent in Australia for much of the time since September 2013 (when the incumbent COALition took power), federal policy-makers found little political pressure to lift wages: wage-earners may not have felt financially buoyant, but on average they could keep pace with the cost of living.