No emissions reduction target, but $444 million for corporate greenwashing

James Plested The Liberal leadership spill has drawn attention away from what should rank among the biggest scandals in the history of Australian politics: the government’s gift of almost half a billion dollars to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation (GBRF), an organisation whose barely concealed role is t...CONTINUE READING

Gangsters for capitalism: Downer, Woodside and ‘Witness K’

James Plested It says everything you need to know about the connection between big business, politics and national security. In 2004, then foreign minister Alexander Downer presided over an Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) operation to install listening devices in the offices of the governm...CONTINUE READING

US establishment rattled by socialist’s primary win

James Plested The victory of socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the Democratic Party primary in New York’s 14th Congressional District on 26 June has put the US political establishment in a spin. It is one of the biggest political upsets in recent US history. Her opponent was Joe Crowley, a 10-term c...CONTINUE READING

The $600 billion multinational tax scam

James Plested The big picture is easy to see. The world’s richest few are expanding their fortunes at the cost of the vast majority. The combined wealth of the world’s 2,754 billionaires increased by US$1.8 trillion – or 24 percent – in 2017, to US$9.2 trillion. The richest 1 percent now own as much as...CONTINUE READING

Climate change an ‘existential risk’, but Australia continues to do nothing

James Plested It seems like a win. There appear to be some parliamentary representatives without their heads buried firmly in the sand on climate change. That members of the Senate’s Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee – a mix of Coalition, Labor, Green and independent senators – wou...CONTINUE READING

Police massacre environment protesters in Tamil Nadu

James Plested On 22 May, 13 people in the city of Thoothukudi in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu were massacred by police on the 100th day of continuous protest against the expansion of the giant Sterlite copper smelter. Sterlite is a subsidiary of Vedanta Resources, a multinational with operati...CONTINUE READING

Daniel Andrews is no left winger

James Plested Going by the coverage in the Murdoch press, you’d think Victoria under Daniel “Red Dan” Andrews is socialism in one state. On the left too, Andrews is regarded as an outlier among recent Labor leaders. In a 2016 Guardian article, Gay Alcorn claimed, “Daniel Andrews’ government is unashamed...CONTINUE READING

Australia’s recycling crisis bites, but there’s an easy fix

James Plested Australia’s recycling system is on the brink of collapse. Around the country, recyclers are holding giant stockpiles of paper, cardboard and plastic collected from kerbsides. Much of this is destined for landfill. The immediate cause of the crisis was China’s decision to ban imports of 24...CONTINUE READING

BP slip-up says it all about big business and the environment

James Plested It’s like something from satirical website the Onion or Australia’s Betoota Advocate. In a draft 2016 environment plan, slated for submission to the National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority as part of its bid to begin oil drilling in the Great Australian Bi...CONTINUE READING