I was a teenage socialist

Diane Fieldes Every time I hear Midnight Oil’s chorus – “Oh, the power and the passion. Oh, the temper of the time” – I am transported to the past. Not to 1982, when the song was released, but to the heady days of the early 1970s, when I first encountered socialist politics. An idea that something momen...CONTINUE READING

‘Independent’ my arse

Diane Fieldes By voting for the anti-union Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), Nick Xenophon and the other cross bench detritus showed us just what they are made of. The Senate voted by 36 votes to 33 to pass the bill. The ABC described the deal that allowed the government to reintro...CONTINUE READING

Turnbull now as bad as the worst anti-refugee Liberals

Diane Fieldes There’s an awful déjà vu about the words of successive Australian governments justifying decades of inhuman policies towards asylum seekers: “There are no policy options available in terms of border protection that are not tough, which cannot be described as harsh … But the critical thing...CONTINUE READING

Hanson-Young another casualty of moderation

Diane Fieldes The policy that most clearly differentiates the Greens from the Labor and Liberal consensus is their more humane approach to refugees. So Richard Di Natale’s decision in late August to remove Sarah Hanson-Young from the portfolio, against her strident and public objection, is significant....CONTINUE READING

No surprises in abuse of Indigenous children

Diane Fieldes The big headline on the front page of the Koori Mail in September 2015 – “Children gassed” – should have been a dead giveaway. Indigenous media such as the Koori Mail , NITV, CAAMA and Land Rights News were reporting on the horrors routinely perpetrated in the Don Dale youth detention cent...CONTINUE READING

Politics doesn’t have to be like this

Diane Fieldes Although the informal vote was lower than in the last federal election, around 5 percent of voters still took the opportunity to draw dicks instead of numbers on their ballot papers, or to add extra boxes so they could vote for the choice between alien overlords Kang and Kodos, made famous...CONTINUE READING

Social and ethnic cleansing in Sydney

Diane Fieldes The inner Sydney suburb of Waterloo is in line to be gentrified in a big way. Under the cover of building a new train station there, the state government plans to demolish 2,000 public housing units in two 29-storey tower blocks, Turanga and Matavai, four other high-rise towers and other l...CONTINUE READING

Nothing to cheer in rise of independents

Diane Fieldes A recent Newspoll indicated that 15 percent of voters plan to support independent candidates or a micro-party in the election – the highest level of support for such candidates during an election campaign in the poll’s 31-year history. With the alternation of Liberal and Labor governments...CONTINUE READING

Of course young people are disengaged

Diane Fieldes There is a problem with Australian democracy. It’s probably you – especially if you’re young. By every possible means – emails from unions, the Greens and ALP, stalls staffed by erstwhile student activists on campus, Waleed Aly’s impassioned plea on The Project – the call to enrol to vote...CONTINUE READING