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Issue #1754      October 26, 2016

Editorial

Towards a new Australian reality

Three interconnected and interdependent developments illustrate the contradictions driving the current growing economic and political crises. The unstinting support by the two major parties for the current US-led war on Syria and its wider conflict agenda; the unquestioning commitment to the US war/spy bases on Australian soil along with the build-up of US military forces in Australia’s north; the support of both Labor and Liberal for the offshore detention and abuse of asylum seekers.

It is a measure of both parties’ opportunism that these anti-people policies they hold in common are built on the bodies of innocent men, women and children.

This is also reflected in sermons to pay homage to and “farewell the troops” at every opportunity by both these servants of Australia’s ruling powers.

Laying in wait behind the flag-waving patriotism and jingoistic rhetoric is the reality of Australia’s growing economic crisis and the people’s increasing hardship, the result of the policies of both Liberal and Labor governments. That is why neither is offering any comprehensive solutions to begin overcoming the problems besetting Australia’s working people.

It is also a major reason for both parties to seize on war with calls to rally together in the name of the “war against terrorism”. But they both know that their promotion of the war will not stop the slide into economic crisis.

A compelling factor is their mutual defence of the two-party system. The big corporations – the real ruling class – know that the policies of both are little different. They both support war, both support privatisation and deregulation, both have acted to eliminate public ownership, both support corporate globalisation. Each has restricted trade union rights and worsened conditions, and have failed to extend recognition to Australia’s First People despite all the many promises.

When they call for people to “rally together” they mean behind one or the other of them in implementing these policies (Tony Abbott’s “team Australia”).

This shoring-up of the two party system includes the promotion of “strong leadership”, which is a product of the public relations machine whose job it is to create illusions through the mass media.

So we have the attempted transformation of Malcolm Turnbull from a small “l” liberal to a prime minister in a Liberal-National Coalition, deeply divided by fascist-minded reaction, who in turn replaced an extremely unpopular Tony Abbott as head of a government rife with corruption, beset with broken promises and a disastrous economic and social agenda.

This is the reality faced by Australians who every day must deal with the growing economic burden foisted on them; the drive to crush the trade union movement; the choking of the public education system; the undermining of public health and its universal provider, Medicare, the ongoing abuse in violation of international law of those seeking asylum. And there is more of the same and worse for Indigenous Australians, rendering even “sorry” cynical.

These policies have resulted in obscene profits for the big corporations, the increased exploitation of workers and the handing over to the private sector of hundreds of millions of dollars from the pockets of ordinary Australians (there is no “mutual obligation” in the government’s corporate welfare system).

The “leadership” of the two major parties has in reality meant the giving up of Australia’s independence and sovereignty to the transnational corporations while kowtowing to a warmongering US leadership.

The way to real change is to get off the path of “free” market policies and on to a road towards a socially responsible, planned economy where the rights and needs of the people take precedence.

A key element of such a course is the restoration of the public provision of services – education, health, telecommunications, social security, the building of a stronger public sector.

Public ownership creates jobs and provides job security; it is more accountable, more inclusive and democratic. From it springs the sovereignty and independence of Australia together with friendly relations with other countries.

These things are not on the immediate agenda in Australia. Nonetheless, a step away from the backward and dangerous policies of the Liberal/Labor duopoly is the building of a left-progressive alliance; a step towards a new Australian reality.

Next article – Editorial – Background to plunder

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