Lindt siege report calls for new reactionary measures

Diane Fieldes More than two years after the Lindt Cafe siege, the NSW coroner has handed down 45 recommendations for sweeping changes in how police should respond to future terrorism events. Unsurprisingly, in today’s climate of normalised Islamophobia, they are aimed first and foremost at Muslims. The...CONTINUE READING

Constitutional change: symbolism won’t cut it

Diane Fieldes If one thing is clear from the “Uluru Statement From the Heart” issued after a large Indigenous conference in late May, it is that mere symbolic constitutional recognition of their existence will not satisfy Indigenous people. The Uluru Statement reflects, in some measure, their desire for...CONTINUE READING

Constructing the ‘undeserving poor’

Diane Fieldes This year’s federal budget trotted out a new round of attacks on the unemployed, most notably the trialling of drug-testing for people on the dole. Emphasising the moral inadequacy of the unemployed, Social Services minister Christian Porter said the trial would “ensure taxpayers’ money is...CONTINUE READING

Millers Point still won’t surrender

Diane Fieldes A crowd of trade unionists, local residents and other activists gathered outside 32 High Street, Millers Point, this morning determined to stop the NSW sheriff from forcibly evicting Peter Muller from public housing. Three years into the fight, the government has finally moved to eviction,...CONTINUE READING

The discreet charm of Mike Pence

Diane Fieldes According to the world media, US vice president Mike Pence has been on a “charm offensive” in Australia. In reality, Pence is a right-wing weirdo, who could be dubbed charming only by contrast with Donald Trump, and because of the sycophancy of the media. This shtick of not being as bad as...CONTINUE READING

Betrayal and resistance at the Block

Diane Fieldes At a big public meeting on 9 March, Aboriginal people, many of them former residents of the Block in Redfern – the heart of Aboriginal Sydney for many decades – accused the Aboriginal Housing Company (AHC) of once again selling out the community. Instead of listening politely, they demande...CONTINUE READING

How racism works in Australia

Diane Fieldes “Is Australia racist?” A good question, and also the title of the first show in SBS’s “Face Up to Racism” week at the end of February. The answer is a resounding yes. In addition to the original anti-Aboriginal racism, Australian racism has at various times also brutalised, impoverished an...CONTINUE READING

Australian politicians in the service of fascism

Diane Fieldes Just in case the Liberal cabinet’s endorsement of president Trump wasn’t clear enough, the PM’s office has suspended an administrative staffer over a three-month-old Facebook post of a “Tuck Frump” T-shirt. In doing so, Turnbull is acting out a proud Australian tradition of backing the rac...CONTINUE READING

Tackling inequality the Davos way

Diane Fieldes There’s something surreal about the facts revealed in Oxfam’s latest inequality report. Eight men having the same combined wealth as 3.6 billion people is hard to get your head around. While some media outlets such as the Independent in the UK have referred to this as “the gap between the...CONTINUE READING