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

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