Who's Pushing Foreign Influence in Australia? - PAUL MALONE

This article was first published at John Menadue - Pearls and Irritations

by Paul Malone, 26 March 2020 

In seeking to target foreign interference in Australia, the Federal Government has two countries in its sights, but it’s not just the Russians and Chinese who play the interference game.

Chevron is a major US energy company operating Western Australia’s Gorgon and Wheatstone LNG projects and Australia’s largest onshore oilfield on Barrow Island and managing a one-sixth interest in the North West Shelf project.

It’s also Australia’s sixth largest emitter of greenhouse gases, dumping 13 million tonnes a year, according to the latest available report from the Clean Energy Regulator.

And in polluting our atmosphere it’s also breaching undertakings it gave governments in order to get approval for the giant Gorgon LNG operation.

The problem is that Gorgon gas is 14 per cent CO2. To get approval for the project Chevron promised new technology which would see the CO2 injected into the earth to be stored in a deep reservoir. But on 18 September last year the Western Australia Environment Protection Agency reported that no carbon dioxide had been reinjected up to December 2017.

No prosecution has followed. How did Chevron get away with such a breach?

Good Lobbying, good government contacts, a bit of influence here, a bit of pressure there.

Read more: Who's Pushing Foreign Influence in Australia? - PAUL MALONE

Parent Category: Spirit Content

50 Years in Jail for Whistleblowing on the ADF

David McBride is the Australian military lawyer who blew the whistle on war crimes committed by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan. He leaked documents and information to the ABC, which published the story in what has come to be called The Afghan Files. The leaking of this information led to raids on ABC offices by Australian Federal Police. Most recently, an investigation by ABC's Four Corners program uncovered footage of what appeared to be Australian soldiers murdering unarmed civilians, adding further weight to the claims made by McBride. He is now facing charges that could carry a sentence of 50 years in prison for revealing the truth of what Australian troops are doing in Afghanistan. The Australian people have a right to know the truth and the brave stand by David McBride should be applauded and defended. 

We publish below an appeal and fundraiser by David McBride to help raise funds to fight this important legal battle.   

My name is David McBride. I am facing 50 years in prison for blowing the whistle on the Australian Defence Force's unethical, harmful and highly politicised leadership. As I continue to fight these unjust criminal charges, I am asking for your support to access expert legal representation.  

For the past 19 years, Australian troops have been fighting a war in Afghanistan. After all this time, there still seems to be no end in sight. In 2011 and 2013, I served in Afghanistan as a military lawyer to the Royal Australian Regiment and Australian Special Forces respectively. When I joined the Australian Defence Force, I swore an oath to fight for Australian values.

Over my two deployments, I became increasingly concerned that the war was dictated by politics rather than the best interests of Australians and Australian soldiers. I saw the government putting increased pressure on Australian soldiers, knowing that this pressure could risk their lives. I saw people in leadership avoiding tough decisions because their political careers were more important than people’s lives.

Read more: 50 Years in Jail for Whistleblowing on the ADF

Parent Category: Spirit Content

$750, a cultural high, and a system in crisis

This is an edited version of an article first published in Vanguard on 13 March.

Since then, multiple failures in communication and preparations for Covid-19 have seen experts shredding the government’s credibility. On Sunday 14 March, the federal chief medical officer even stated it was okay to shake hands, contrary to all expert advice.

South Australia is leading in its decade long preparations for such a crisis, while there are so few kits available in NSW, staff at pop up clinics are copping threats and abuse for refusals to test. The human meaning of the shortage of Intensive Care Units and ventilators is the grief a woman on TV on March 15, like many elderly Italian people, just diagnosed and refused treatment after her husband died.

The media focus on supermarket shortages ignores this underlying reality. Capitalist boards were already having virtual meetings while schools, TAFES, construction sites and other workplaces brought together concentrations of workers.

Demands are growing for governments to provide ongoing support for casual workers, small businesses, including the hard-hit arts’ sector. But corporations must be forced to look after their workers too! And banks to offer debt repayment holidays. Some of this may happen in the coming days. Governments want to hand over our money to corporations. It’s time to nationalise them under workers’ control. Qantas workers don’t need the boss and his board! They have the expertise to ensure essential maintenance and run the show when the Covid-19 crisis ends.

by Louisa Lawson

Two nights back Scott Morrison excelled himself. Was he channelling U.S. President and B grade actor, Ronald Reagan’s homely TV addresses, or perhaps a cat smiling after a banquet of small native animals? Utterly unconvincing as a human being and leader. He didn’t even choke when he said scientists are part of the Covid-19 response. But his approval rating went up.

Here’s a PM who ignored pleas to lift Newstart to people so poor they have to choose between food and medicine, feeding their kids or themselves. Now he flings them $750 with an order to spend it now. First capitalism tramples them, then says, “Be patriotic! You can save the economy.” And nothing to come afterwards. Maybe they’ll buy a tent, to have it confiscated by the police. Job done!

The media will pick over the $17.6 billion bones of the stimulus package. Whether it temporarily holds back deep recession or total collapse, for this writer, that $750 sums it up.

So does the $8.8 billion spent by the Reserve Bank to prop up the stock market the day after. Yes folks, that’s taxpayer money buying stocks. The contrast couldn’t be clearer.

Read more: $750, a cultural high, and a system in crisis

Parent Category: Spirit Content

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The Spirit of Eureka Committee was established in the lead up to the 150th anniversary of the Eureka Stockade in 2004, to give a strong and united voice to the current struggles of Australia’s working people.

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The Eureka rebellion laid the foundations for Australia’s continuing social, industrial and political struggles. It was advanced for its time and represents an important fighting tradition that continues to inspire our fight today.


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