Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Abortion rights and a corporate bonfire

Louisa L                           21 August, 2019

The hard right is using the Reproductive Healthcare Reform Bill to undermine MPs who don’t fall in line with their authoritarian, patriarchal model. They are particularly targeting NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

They represent a rising section of the ruling class which believes their interests are now best served by suppression of those who rebel against aspects of capitalism.

They still use deception to rally their troops and influence the people.

They’ve had another win, with the bill now delayed till the middle of September.

This gives more time for their supporters to fan a bonfire of lies and distortions to immolate Premier Berejiklian and Liberal Party “moderates”. Anti-abortion protests are set to grow.

Opposition to the bill is likely to assist the far right of the Coalition to engineer a coup against Ms Berejiklian.

The ever-ethical Barnaby Joyce weighs in with robo-calls against the bill.

But it’s about more than abortion.

Poster girl

The premier is set to take the blame for the growing debacle of uninhabitable buildings from the unrestrained construction boom in NSW.

ABC publicity described its Four Corners program ‘Cracking Up’ like this, “From shoddy workmanship to lax laws, Australia's apartment building crisis is leaving owners out of pocket and, in some cases, homeless. Industry insiders reveal a litany of failures that could leave defects for years to come.”

Airing on Monday, August 19 it was all that and more. Not only will increasing numbers of buyers be left with massive bills but taxpayers look likely to be landed with a huge bill. A backlash is growing.

Berejiklian has been the poster girl of the construction boom. The NSW government allowed giant corporations unfettered access to profit with the most minimal oversight. Now Berejiklian will be the scapegoat for an increasing outcry.

But there’s more still. On February 9 this year Independent Australia concluded a powerful six part series, ‘The Unspoken Crimes of the ASX’ by Benjamin John Pauley. 

The final article looked at hostile company takeovers and stock market manipulation in the construction sector.

“A stranglehold over government and society”

Pauley begins with this, “The big infrastructure companies who are tendering for and winning the main infrastructure projects in Australia have a stranglehold over government and society.”

He says “governments are at the mercy” of these “mostly foreign-owned corporations”. 

“Share price manipulation…is the key” giving them the “ability to take over Australian companies at a reduced price”, he writes.

He focuses on Spanish Grupo ACS’s takeovers of a number of companies including Leighton Holdings to form CIMIC.

This is where the woes of a state government reliant on foreign construction monopolies begin.

Pauley gives two examples of major NSW infrastructure projects in which CIMIC is involved.

First is the M5 motorway extension where the company is claiming $690 million more than the NSW Government offered to cover design and construction changes.

Then this: “In May 2018, it was revealed that the NSW Government had to compensate the operators of the $8.3 billion Northwest Metro project’s Skytrain … between $400 and $500 million over delays due to cracked spans during the construction by Italian contractors Salini Impreglio.”

Next Pauley cites Spanish company, Acciona, taking “legal action against NSW’s transport agency.” The agency “accused the Spanish company of launching a $1.1 billion lawsuit against the state because the contractor is liable to pay ‘substantial sums’ in damages for the project running late.”

“If governments try to hold them to account they are likely to get sued,” Pauley says.

Lendlease ditches contract

Meanwhile the ABC’s Nick Dole reported that Lend Lease is in dispute with the government after demolishing the Sydney Football Stadium and walking away from the $729 million rebuilding contract.

The controversial demolition began just before the State Election, when Sports Minister Stuart Ayers stated "Lendlease will adjust to any planning conditions that are required." Hmm. Apparently not.

Like the cat with the cream, Lend Lease is purring, "Building social infrastructure in partnership with Government is a source of pride for Lendlease and we look forward to supporting future projects."

Meanwhile NSW Coalition MPs are up a very smelly creek without a paddle, trying to push each other in.

There’s no doubting the twisted fervour of many anti-abortion activists. We can expect their protests to grow as lies take hold among the people. 

But Coalition MPs are using the furore to try and save their own skins.

Channelling Sydney’s 1808 Rum Rebellion by rising capitalists, they are likely to depose Gladys, although it may be some time yet.

Yep, Corporate Colony NSW is open for business. Amen. But expect resistance.

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