Greens dispute shows that politics should have primacy over process

Diane Fieldes The most recent conflict over NSW senator Lee Rhiannon’s temporary exclusion from the party room shows that differences within the Greens are being increasingly fought on the much more conservative terrain of constitutionality and process, rather than the political differences between the...CONTINUE READING

The ABC should be held to account for lies that justified NT intervention

Diane Fieldes Ten years ago, the Howard government, with the support of the Labor opposition, sent the military to occupy 73 Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory, an act so racist that the parliament had to suspend the Racial Discrimination Act to do it. The NT Intervention’s proclaimed just...CONTINUE READING

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