Tuesday, June 28, 2022

British arms manufacturer announces new initiative to engage with school kids

From this (above) to this (below)

 Written by: Nick G. on 29 June 2022

The South Australian-based subsidiary of British arms manufacturer BAE Systems has just announced a new program aimed at Australian schoolchildren.

It is the latest in a series of engagements with schools that go back over two decades.

The new program, Beacon, is described as a STEM outreach program aimed at Years 4-6 children and will initially involve 15 primary schools in SA, WA and NSW.

What is BAE Systems?

BAE Systems was formed in 1999 following the merger of aircraft and munitions manufacturer British Aerospace with several other European companies in competition with US arms manufacturers.

It is the largest arms manufacturer in Europe, and ranked the seventh-largest in the world based on applicable 2021 revenues.  In 2017, 98% of BAE Systems' total sales were military related.

In 2001, it merged with French and Italian missile manufacturers to create MBDA, which thus became the world's second largest missile manufacturer. Through MBDA, BAE Systems is indirectly involved in the production of nuclear weapons for the French, and is also the UK's only nuclear submarine manufacturer and thus produces a key element of the United Kingdom's nuclear weapons capability.

BAE Systems Australia is the largest arms contractor with the Australian government.

Involvement with schools

Arms manufacturers seek involvement with schools for several reasons. This is true of their operations in a number of countries, and not just Australia.

Their favoured method of operation is to offer resources to struggling schools in socially-deprived areas. The resources promise to involve students in solving “real world” problems and are often welcomed by teachers keen to find new ways of making education interesting and relevant. Whilst the connection of these companies to the manufacture of weapons to maim and kill people is not at the forefront of the resources, the involvement with schools as a donor or mentor helps to establish their broader social licence.  It is a PR exercise designed to prevent community opposition to the presence of their research and manufacturing facilities.

BAE Systems first became involved when its forerunner, British Aerospace took over Australian company AWA Defence Industries in April 1996. AWA had just established an “industry partnership” with the working class Salisbury High School in SA to the tune of $10,000 through which its personnel would be “working with the school to help shape the direction for education and training for students to match industry expectations and needs.”  

Salisbury High also had a relationship with Tenix Defence for some years and through this won a Prime Ministers Award for Excellence in Business Community Partnerships in 2006.  In 2008, Tenix was also taken over by BAE Systems. In selling its partnership to the students at Salisbury High, BAE reps choose not to detail the murderous application of their hundreds of products and services, which see daily use in terrorizing people throughout the world struggling to be free of imperialist domination and control.  Rather, it benignly states that it “brings students into the real-world, high-tech field of engineering, (and) exposes them to ‘market economy’ constraints such as deadlines and budgets.”  

In Australia, BAE sponsors The Smith Family's STEM education program for underprivileged children. 

It sponsors the FIRST Robotics Competition, an annual event that “helps inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers and innovators. A large-scale robotics competition, it brings together secondary school students and mentors from across Australia to build robots, to precise specifications, that perform in a competitive environment against teams from all over the world.”

BAE also sponsors the FIRST LEGO League, which is the junior version of the Robotics Competition. It uses LEGO MINDSTORM robotics kits “to introduce upper primary students to real-world engineering challenges, in which they research and identify a problem, develop a solution for that problem, and share their solution with their community.” BAE has been sponsoring the competition and event since 2010 by “providing robotics kits to schools, mentoring the students and acting as judges, volunteers and the major sponsor for the final event.” 

BAE sponsors the Concept2Creation program which introduces a “product life cycle” approach to STEM education, “where secondary students work with industry mentors to take a product from concept, through research and development, production and quality assurance, to final creation and marketing. BAE Systems also provides sponsorship, mentoring support and helps to judge the Wetlands Environmental Management (WEM) Challenge of C2C, where secondary school teams design, manufacture and test a vehicle that can obtain multiple water samples from a wetlands environment.” 

In themselves, such projects have educational value – our concern is that they are the carrot on the stick of enticing young Australians into an uncritical relationship with multinational merchants of death.   

Beacon, but not lighting the way forward

Beacon is being offered as a five-day intensive camp or a 10-week program. It is currently advertising its program to teachers and schools. 

BAE Systems Australia CEO Ben Hudson justified the project, saying “At a time when the number of STEM students across Australia is falling, industry needs to step up to inspire more students to remain in STEM subjects so they might consider an exciting career solving some of the world’s biggest challenges. Our goal with this program is to promote diversity and inclusion in STEM on a national scale, to keep students engaged in their education and raise awareness of future career opportunities.”

Under the heading “Sign up your school for our new STEM outreach program”, one ad takes you to this BAE page with a list of questions “you might be looking for the answers to” such as “What is a wearable cockpit?” and “How do ‘stealth’ planes avoid radar detection?”.  There is also a link to teacher resources that include activities based around popular children’s stories. For example, an activity based on Hansel and Gretel encourages students to design a parachute or similar object and land it on a target area inside the witch’s house in order to help Hansel and Gretel escape.  The activity pages are colourful and branded with the BAE Systems name. 

Another ad is headed “Calling all Primary School STEM Teachers!” It takes teachers to the same BAE page.

What can be done?

Some branches of the AEU have policies that seek to prevent arms manufacturers having these sorts of relationships with schools. But with schools strapped for cash and resources, it cannot be left to education workers alone to take decisions arising from the ethics of the involvement of arms manufacturers in schools.

Parents and communities should also demand that there be no mentoring or preparation of students below the age of adulthood, 18 years, in military-related careers or careers in industries working for or profiteering from the military.

If there is to be greater corporate funding for socially equitable education, then it should only be through increased taxation on overseas-owned and local monopolies, and not by their direct sponsorship of curriculum-related matters.

There should be greater funding for career paths into employment that supports a sustainable future.

BAE Systems is not alone in trying to win favour through school partnerships.  Other major arms manufacturers that have ongoing programs with schools include Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman.

To use a metaphor that these companies would understand, it is up to us to stop them slipping beneath the radar and getting away with winning social acceptance of war industries.


Stand now to end the NT Intervention


Written by: Lindy Nolan on 28 June 2022

On 23 June 2007, the military invaded First Peoples’ communities, launching the Northern Territory Intervention.  A land grab, it was designed to divide and disempower First Peoples. 

The full force of the capitalist state – its army, police, prisons, courts and laws – came down on them. The lies, humiliations and violence remain hidden from most not on the front lines.

On Saturday 18 June, nationwide protests demanded the Intervention’s end and that police guns immediately be removed from remote communities and townships. 

After the acquittal of NT Police Constable Zachary Rolfe, who shot and killed young Kumanjayi Walker in remote Yuendumu, Warlpiri led the protests

Just months before revered Warlpiri Elder Jakamarra Nelson died last year, he said the $7 million police centre was the only building to come to Yuendumu via the Intervention, a direct line from invasion to Intervention to the death of Kumanjayi.

In Mparntwe Alice Springs, Warlpiri Elder Ned Jampijinpa Hargraves was thanked for his enormous contribution to the struggle. He made clear ending deaths in custody applied to everyone, black and white. 

Elder Valerie Napaljarri Martin warned that in this “so-called Australia” it could happen “to any young people … to any community.”

Speaking at the Sydney protest, east coast Aboriginal woman Taressa Mongta made clear the Intervention has increased oppression countrywide, "Whether it be our children or our women or our men, all the worst is thought of us, you know, and the worst punishments are dished out to us." 

Warlpiri call for “karrinjarla muwajarri, a police ceasefire. Indefinitely.”

Their demands take direct aim at the capitalist state forces including defunding NT police. Warlpiri say only they must exercise governance and authority in their community. 

Their statement says, “We do not want any more reports or inquiries that are not acted on. We already hold the answers and strategies we need. We do not want any more consultations with governments who do not listen to us. We demand our self determination, our rightful decision making authority, and our resources to be restored to us.” 

Under the Intervention, they state, “We have suffered compulsory acquisition of township lands, prohibition on consideration of our customary law, attacks on the permit system, loss of our community council, imposition of government managers, widespread unemployment, control of our incomes, increased police numbers and extreme powers that drive police harassment and violence.”

Labor’s ‘Stronger Futures’ legislation extended the Intervention until July this year. Warlpiri demand it and to all its discriminatory powers and laws end, restoration of community control, and funding be “re-directed into our expert community services” with solutions “designed and implemented from the grassroots up.”

Ongoing assault
Warlpiri say, “The kardiya court system has failed us. It has not given us justice. Its processes have caused us harm and created more injustice.”

In Mparntwe, Arrernte Elder Peltherre Chris Tomlins called for restoration of “the principles of engagement”. This military term is a clear reference to the 234-year undeclared war on First Peoples. 

statement from Yolngu Elder and NT parliamentarian Yingiya Mark Guyula highlights damage and despair the Intervention creates, “from the ongoing assault of our culture and identity”. 

Arrernte Elder Kumalie Riley described this heartache and demanded change, “Australia does not recognise or consult with us at all. We are always under the thumb” of whitefella laws. 

“We are not terrorists. … What about listening to our laws? What about giving us the power to control our People ourselves?”

It is no small thing, the Warlpiri fight back after Rolfe’s acquittal. Their strength comes from Country, its Law and Culture that imbue them with knowledge of who they are, and what they must do.  

Ending colonisation, our unfinished task
Yingiya Mark Guyula writes, “Liberal and Labor Governments have both contributed to the ruthless enforcement of the Intervention policies” to dehumanise and degrade First Peoples. He also finds hope in “a new government”.

Anthony Albanese announced the hated Basics’ Card will be non-compulsory. It took fifteen years of people’s struggle to achieve this. The ALP administration also intends to reverse the Coalition’s deliberate exclusion from electoral rolls of First Peoples in remote communities and elsewhere.  (Koori Mail 15/6/22)
These reforms are important, but leave a brutal colonialist system intact. 

On behalf of corporate gas and resource bandits, Labor supports fracking and exploitation on First Peoples’ lands across the NT and elsewhere. Theft and suppression are what the Intervention was for. The overwhelmingly foreign-owned inheritors of invasion, will try to use the Intervention’s machinery, and its extensions interstate, to pave their way to massive tax-free profits. 

But the time is right to expose them. Their manufactured energy crisis and gas price gouging, their naked greed, are on peoples’ lips far and wide. 

For First Peoples’ allies, it’s time to join the dots and spread the word. They are the enemies of all our peoples.


Thursday, June 23, 2022

Report exposes gas monopo-lies

Written by: John S on 24 June 2022 

Australians are victims of a massive fraudulent gas heist.

Gas prices are rising; gas is in short supply locally while massive amounts are exported. Gas multinationals are making huge, rapidly-increasing profits which are sent overseas, and these companies pay almost no Australian tax.

Australian Tax Office data bases revealed that the 5 biggest gas companies paid no tax in the past 7 years. Shell, for example has not paid tax since 2015.

The big 3 Queensland gas operators have paid no tax since 2015, except for Santos which made one payment of A$3 million.

Chevron told investors that it expected to never pay tax on its giant Gorgon gas project in WA.

Australia supposedly levies a 40% tax on gas and oil profits, but it is only collecting A$2.4b this year, the same as in 2005, and mainly on oil profits.

Taxes are based on profits discounted for past losses. Companies game the system by increasing costs and losses.

Chevron was found by the Federal Court to have evaded tax through a deliberate ploy. Its US parent company borrowed money at 2% and then lent that money to its Australian subsidiary at 9%. All Chevron profits left the country. Despite the court decision, Chevron has still paid no tax.

Across the big gas multinationals, loans from parent companies have more than doubled in the past 4 years (from $52b to $107b), ie loans to themselves.

They have paid no tax on revenue of $103b 

The oil and gas companies do have to pay royalties, which represent payment to the owners (ie the states) for extracting the resources that the states own. However, the rates are ridiculously low.

Five years ago, Treasury predicted that Australia expected to receive $800million in royalties for 100 million cubic metres of gas. Qatar predicted $26.6 billion for the same amount of gas.

These rorted profits go almost completely overseas.

Of the 10 largest gas projects, 3 are 100% foreign owned, and the other 7 are over 90% foreign-owned.

Only 4.3% of the gas extraction companies is Australian-owned.

Clearly, only nationalisation of the whole industry will enable the earnings to remain in Australia for our benefit, and enable its orderly phasing out in the necessary transition to renewable energy.

Further reading: See the Australia Institute’s full report, Foreign Investment in Australia: Australian big business is not Australian at all.

Who was behind the computer hacking of the Australian-Chinese community?


Written by: (Contributed) on 24 June 2022

The mass hacking of a website used by Chinese-Australians within days of the recent federal election, may indicate continuing suspicion of overseas Chinese communities by the US and its agents of influence. 

Other related matters have a firm bearing upon the problem: they carry all the hallmarks of an organised conspiracy aimed at intelligence-gathering amongst Australia's largest ethnic minority who are an increasingly upwardly socially mobile group gaining considerable political influence

In early June the breaking of a major scandal about the hacking of tens of thousands of Chinese-Australians’ mobile phones has raised serious considerations about data security. In the early hours of 4 June, between 1am and 8am AEST, Australia's largest Chinese language platforms Media Today and their app Australia Today, were hacked, 'sparking concerns about possible data breaches'. (1)

Founded over a decade ago, Media Today has provided business news, advertising, third party payment facilities, logistics and moving, travel information and other items of interest for Chinese-Australians. It has been noted that the media platform is largely supported by those from mainland China backgrounds. (2)

The hacking has raised two serious considerations: firstly, the present US-led regional Cold War, which has been largely directed toward China; secondly, recent studies which have revealed more than half Australians are not comfortable sharing their personal data with others in fear of 'the way their data is collected and shared on-line', which makes hacking a necessary option for those wanting to gather and use personal data. (3)  

The former consideration has raised serious issues. Multi-cultural Affairs Minister Andrew Giles, for example, has recently announced the new ALP federal government in Canberra will be introducing legislation restricting anti-Chinese discrimination due to 'the increased racism during the COVID-19 pandemic and … some of the strident language used by foreign policy hawks'. (4) He has also stated the new ALP administration would 'unveil a national anti-racism strategy in this term of parliament'. (5) There appears to be a sense of urgency driven by the widespread nature of the problem and the continued allegation that many Chinese-Australians are spies and cannot be trusted.

Data security has also become a major matter of concern for most Australians; from February, 2021, to March 2022, for example, Australia had the highest rate of app threats per device anywhere in the world. (6) It has been noted, furthermore, that 'nine out of ten people had no security software on their mobiles, making them an easy target … that mobile phone in your hand today … holds a treasure trove of information'. (7)

Returning to the Media Today hacking in early June, a number of matters arise which point the finger toward an organised conspiracy. It was clearly not a random hacking. The official media release from Media Today noted the cyber attack 'originated from IP addresses in the US, Canada and Hong Kong and was executed against the platform's registration system, attempting to use SMS verification codes to obtain user passwords and steal their accounts'. (8) It was also noted that 110,000 users will receive verification codes following the attackers making twenty million attempts to reset user passwords. (9)

The systematic nature of the hacking has revealed a common pattern which included recognition that most Australian SMS verification codes were composed of six digits; due to the large number of attempts made by the hacker it was 'possible to guess the correct verification code and thus steal the account', with relative ease. (10)

It is, however, the timing of the hacking which has thrown light on motives: there are 1.2 million Chinese-Australians, and they have tended to orientate toward business and higher-level professions, making them an influential ethnic minority. Studies by Media Today prior to the recent federal election in May, however, found that more than seventy per cent of the ethnic group had chosen to vote for the ALP and not the usual Liberal Party. (11)

Statements made by the Morrison coalition government that Labor 'was soft on national security', and, from Peter Dutton 'warning that Australia needed to prepare for war', together with allegations accusing deputy Labour leader Richard Marles of being a 'Manchurian Candidate', appear to have polarised opinion not only across the general electorate but inside the Chinese community, many of whom have families on the mainland. (12)  

In fact, the voting patterns of Chinese-Australians proved instrumental for the Liberal-coalition government of Scott Morrison experiencing dramatic defeat, with huge swings against them in some of their traditional strongholds. Seats including Chisholm, Kooyong, Bennelong and Reid were readily identified as seats lost by the Morrison government due to the large number of Chinese-Australians voting against them. (13)   

Those responsible for the hacking of the Media Today website and Australia Today app would appear to have been on an intelligence-gathering mission to mine data on Chinese-Australians. Following the federal election results there are few doubts why. Further information has also emerged about the problem of 'phishing', where Chinese-Australians have received numerous anonymous mobile phone calls following the hacking. (14)

The hacking reveals that the recent Australian federal election results have shaken those supporting US domination of Australia and US regional Cold War diplomatic positions toward China even despite Labor’s professions of support for the “US alliance” and AUKUS. It also reveals that the Chinese-Australian ethnic minority has become openly influential inside the political arena.

The location of the IP addresses identified as responsible for the hacking, however, are perhaps the most important factor for consideration, as they are incriminating: the US and Canada are both major players inside the elite intelligence-sharing Five Eyes, with direct links into the heartlands of Australian defence and security provision; Hong Kong is a major area of US-led foreign policy focus with their regional Cold War diplomatic position toward China. The trail of all three IP addresses would tend to lead to US involvement with the criminal hacking of the Chinese language Media Today platform and their Australia Today app.

Under such circumstances, an independent foreign policy for Australia is a sensible option!

1.     Cyber attack on Chinese platform, Australian, 9 June 2022.
2.     Ibid.
3.     Most Australians wary of sharing data, Australian, 2 June 2022.
4.     China people and party 'distinct', Australian, 17 June 2022.
5.     Ibid.
6.     We're world's worst for malicious app downloads, Australian, 16 June 2022.
7.     Ibid.
8.     Australian, op.cit., 9 June 2022.
9.     Ibid.
10.   Ibid.
11.   Ibid.
12.   Australian, op.cit., 17 June 2022.
13.   Australian, op.cit., 9 june 2022.
14.   Ibid.

Sunday, June 19, 2022

Bring Assange Home!

Written by: Nick G. on 20 June 2022

In less than a fortnight’s time, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange will be extradited from Belmarsh Prison in England to the United States.

There he will face charges that together could result in a 175-year prison sentence.

Chelsea Manning, the US Army Intelligence analyst who provided Wikileaks with confidential files, was sentenced in 2010, but had her sentence commuted in 2017. She is a free citizen, while Assange, has effectively been a prisoner since taking refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in 2012.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is reported to have sympathised with Assange, yet the government he leads has not demanded Assange’s release.

It has merely communicated that Assange “is entitled to due process, humane and fair treatment”, none of which he has so far experienced, and stated that his “case has dragged on for too long and that it should be brought to a close”. 

“Bringing it to a close” simply means hurrying up the US prosecution, not withdrawing and ending it.

Our Party has supported Assange since he first faced charges.  In 2012, we wrote:


Julian Assange and Wikileaks have performed a huge service to the people of the world by providing a platform for the publication of information that our rulers want kept from us.

Information released to date substantiates US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, the existence of death squads and corruption in Kenya, of crony capitalism and speculative manipulation behind the financial collapse of Iceland and of unethical behaviour on the part of Sarah Palin.

Closer to home, Kevin Rudd has been outed as a cheerleader for the use of force by the US against China. In his March 24, 2009 advice to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the then Prime Minister called for a readiness to “deploy force” unless China “integrated itself effectively into the international community”. This is tantamount to declaring that China’s diplomatic pursuit of its own national interests, particularly if they challenge US global leadership, is the action of a rogue state that must be dealt with militarily.

Agents of imperialism

Wikileaks has revealed the existence of senior Labor politicians who report to the US embassy on matters that they are not even prepared to share with the Australian public. It is a master-servant relationship that stinks to high Heaven.

Julia Gillard’s condemnation of Assange represents the sacrificing of yet another Australian civilian to the interests of the US imperialists. 

We remain of the view that Assange has performed a huge service to the people of the world, and that if anyone should be in the dock, then it should be the US imperialist warmongers and assassins and those who collaborate with them.

Prime Minister Albanese, please immediately convey to US President Biden that Australia wants all charges against Assange dropped, the extradition proceedings to be cancelled, and Assange returned immediately to Australia as a free citizen.


Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Dealers in Death

 (Above: a computer-generated image purporting to show a serving member of the ADF at the "Museum of Arrogant Hubris")

Written by: Fred Kelly on 15 June 2022

The ADF is a force used to defend the overseas interests of the big bourgeoisie, largely as the lap dogs of American imperialism (e.g. injection of troops into Afghanistan, Vietnam, Korea), using incredible amounts of violence and force to subdue resistance against the hegemony of American capitalism. 

We all know that the ADF and other capitalist militaries, by nature of their ventures, require, at best, the desensitisation of murder and at worst, the glorification of murder. The symbology that has come out of the rank-and-file mirrors this indoctrination and has become part of military culture. (See also our comment on this in the context of the Brereton Report into Australian war crimes in Afghanistan.)

Recently the ADF has banned the display of "death" related iconography within its ranks. The following statement was made by Lieutenant General Angus Campbell: 

"The use of what could be termed ‘death’ symbology/iconography: for example, the pirate Skull and Crossbones (maritime outlaws and murders), the Phantom or Punisher symbols (vigilantes), Spartans (extreme militarism) or the Grim Reaper (Bringer of Death) – implicitly encourage the inculcation of an arrogant hubris. Commanders must take immediate action to remove such symbology/iconography from all formal and informal use within the Army."

The banning has faced considerable backlash from military personnel with the main argument being that the symbols are morale boosters and exemplify comradery for the troops. A small online publication called "Contact" owned and operated by a "proud Australian veteran" started an online "museum" called the "Museum of Arrogant Hubris" (referencing Campbell’s quote above), where troops and veterans can submit the iconography previously used by them and their squads, platoon, companies etc. 

Some examples include "Exhibit 2", submitted by a Mr. Eliot, who says this was posted outside his tent in Vietnam, 1970, painted by someone in his section. It is incredibly obvious how inappropriate this is, especially considering the context of Vietnam. The text at the bottom relaying "RAPE LOOT + BURN", almost like a slogan, and the racist depiction of a Vietnamese person, is shown on the image. If this is supposed to be funny, it is completely lost on me and I'm sure that is the case for the Vietnamese people.

Exhibit 6, a t-shirt design that was worn by a mortar platoon before the ban. The image depicts a grim reaper with the bottom text "Dealers in Death". 

While the banning of this imagery is a good thing, it is a symptom of a military made in defence of profits and will not fix the issue of growing right wing/fascist culture in Australia. Only socialism can do this. 

As a member of Generation Z, I can safely say the ADF does not protect the interests of Australian workers or the future generations, it protects the interest of capital, regardless of human casualty, as is shown by the glorification of murder by its members.

SA unions force government backdown


Written by: Nick G. on 14 June 2022

A rally called by the Maritime Union in South Australia for today was cancelled when the Malinauskas Labor government withdrew legislation to amend the Return to Work Act. 

The legislation aimed to save employers having to pay higher insurance premiums for coverage of injured workers by depriving workers of an entitlement fought for and won in the SA Supreme Court.

That entitlement was granted to a truck driver, Shane Summerfield, whose initial injuries were complicated over time but who faced having to lodge individual claims for each new problem. This would have made it harder for him to meet what is called the “Whole Person Injury” (WPI) threshold on which workers’ compensation payments are made.

The new State government, elected last March, wanted to sacrifice workers’ entitlements by changing the law to establish “business-friendly” credentials.  It argued that without reducing workers’ entitlements to a fair workers’ compo outcome, SA employers would have had to pay the highest premiums in the country. Thus, the Constitutional stupidity of “State’s rights” and State rivalries were allowed to drive a race-to-the-bottom at the expense of workers.
The details of the “compromise” between the government, employers and unions include:
allowing the Summerfield principle to stand, protecting the right to combine injuries during WPI assessments 
no increase to the WPI for psychological injuries, but
increasing the seriously injured threshold from 30% to 35%, which is itself a loss of entitlement to an injured worker.
An SA Unions statement said, “The first hurdle has been cleared, but there's still work to be done.”
Unions are not entirely happy with the compromise, but the campaign, such as it was, had two positive features.
Firstly, it united the right and left factions within the SA union movement. Malinauskas is a former head of the right-wing Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Union (SDA), but the SDA was one of the first and the loudest to condemn the government’s proposed legislation, as was its factional stablemate, the Transport Workers Union. 
The more progressive unions affiliated to SA Unions worked together with the right-wing to threaten a campaign of opposition to the Labor government.
The second point was that the nascent campaign showed very clearly that workers have their own independent agenda, and will fight for their own interests and demands regardless of which Party holds office. No-one fell on the old weak knee of not wanting to embarrass a Labor government.
The SA Unions statement said, “We're a united Union Movement in South Australia, and one thing is clear, we'll continue standing up for injured workers, no matter who's in government.”


Friday, June 10, 2022

Heed international call for vigilance in challenging times

Written by: Nick G. on 11 June 2022

An international coordinating centre for revolutionary organisations to which our Party is affiliated, has called on organisations to review their methods of operation in today’s challenging times.

The International Coordination of Revolutionary parties and Organisations (ICOR) has 60 affiliates in 47 countries spread across Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the Americas. Some are parties, some are workers’ and union organisations, and all have Marxism-Leninism as their guiding ideology. 

The organisational principles of these parties and organisations vary from those, like our own Party, that seek to protect their members from state surveillance, and intimidation and harassment by reactionaries, with a relatively small group of public or semi-public spokespersons, to those that are completely open and above ground. 

The forms of the bourgeois state under which they operate also vary. Some are bourgeois democracies, like Australia, and some are autocracies and open dictatorships. The parliamentary democracies continually give rise to illusions based on the freedom to organise and to freely express one’s views. If left unchallenged by a thorough grasp of the nature of the state and its repressive and coercive role in the class struggle, those illusions coalesce into the ideology of revisionism according to which there is no need for the revolutionary essence of Marxism to be defended and applied.

The ICOR statement is put in the context of the intensifying rivalry and confrontation between the imperialist powers and says that “Revolutionary parties and organizations must be vigilant and prepared for a stronger confrontation with the bourgeoisie.” To that end, it adds: “The persistence and resilience of the revolutionary work is the fundamental base for class struggle. Revolutionary parties and organizations have to use organizational means and structures which guarantee the continuation of effective revolutionary work and secure communication within the organization.”

Does our Party have those “organisational means and structures”? In large part, our organisational principles, described as the “iceberg principle”, can be said to have guaranteed our “continuation of effective revolutionary work and secure communication within the organisation” throughout the 58 years of our existence since the founding conference in 1964.

The ICOR statement is a timely reminder of the importance of continuing to apply the “iceberg principle”.

The ICOR statement goes on to warn that:

In the face of the aggravating conditions of class struggle, the bourgeois states will increase all forms of repression including attack on democratic rights, imprisonments and murders of revolutionary leaders and activists. Mass movements will face all forms of state repression. Revolutionary organizations will face more and more bans and state terror. 

Counter-revolutionary measures such as surveillance of revolutionaries and their work, especially through the Internet and telecommunications, travel restrictions for international meetings and coordination will challenge our daily work. We must be prepared and defend our political freedoms, organize cross-border solidarity actions, organize solidarity with prisoners and protect our revolutionary values.

“All forms of repression” can be taken to mean both state-sanctioned legislation that restricts and punishes the exercise of long-held democratic rights, and the use of street thugs and right-wing extremist social media and other means of harassment and intimidation. 

These are the two sides of the coin of fascism. For the bourgeoisie, it is a question of which to use and when. So, they are sometimes seen in conflict with each other, like a snake biting its own tail. Thus, ASIO warns of right-wing and neo- Nazi influence, while the social media platforms of these groups promote the need for extra-parliamentary violent action and the need for an authoritarian control over the mass of the people.

More must be done to build people’s awareness of the danger of fascism, both in the sense of legislative attacks on our right to organise and struggle, and in the sense of standing up to agents of intimidation and refusing to be cowed by them. The responsibility for this must be taken up firmly by the working class and its union organisations, for they have been the bourgeoisie’s continual focus of attack, and their loss of rights have been the most keenly felt.

The ICOR statement concludes with the observation that “Raising consciousness of revolutionaries and also the masses for secure work is our duty. It will be an important challenge for us to change our past habits and prepare our mind and mode of work according to the current necessities. And the most important is to continuously organize new revolutionaries, to refill and strengthen the revolutionary ranks and to keep a high morale against any challenges.”

We must indeed raise our consciousness, remain vigilant and conduct our mass work securely and without putting information into the hands of the state that will increase our future vulnerability.

Times change. The federal elections and the switch from the conservatives of the Coalition to the social democrats of the Labor Party may convince some that the immediate need to guard democratic freedoms has passed. That is not our view, but people will not be convinced by declarations to that effect by the Communists. Their own experiences, analysed and explained in appropriate ways by Communists, will be the basis on which they move more closely to our political and ideological position.

The ICOR advice is timely and of value to our organisation. We have a set of organisational principles that protect our members, and we have members who strive to apply the mass line in their work with the people. But we need to maintain our vigilance about the intentions of the bourgeoisie, and we need to keep studying so that our grasp of Marxism-Leninism and the works of Mao Zedong is heightened and refreshed, and our practice is improved.


Monday, June 6, 2022

New Resources Minister backs Kimba nuke dump


(Above: a 2018 rally against nuclear dump proposals in Adelaide SA)

Written by: Nick G. on 6 June 2022

The ALP’s new Resources Minister Madeline King has wasted no time in showing her support for the proposed nuclear waste dump at Napandee, near Kimba on Eyre Peninsula.

In response to an appeal to herself and PM Albanese from the disenfranchised and ignored Barngarla traditional owners, King has today stated that the nuclear waste dump was “a step forward” in the management of nuclear waste.


Napandee was one of three sites proposed by the former Coalition government for the storage of intermediate and low-level nuclear waste. Two, including Napandee, were at Kimba, whilst a third was at Wallerberdina in the Flinders Ranges.  

The operation of any of the three sites in SA was illegal under SA law.

Under state legislation introduced by the Olsen Liberals and strengthened by Rann Labor, it is illegal to operate a nuclear waste facility in SA or to import or transport nuclear waste in SA.

The legislation is quite clear and states:

8—Prohibition against construction or operation of nuclear waste storage facility. A person must not construct or operate a nuclear waste storage facility. Maximum penalty: In the case of a natural person—$500 000 or imprisonment for 10 years. In the case of a body corporate—$5 000 000.

 9—Prohibition against importation or transportation of nuclear waste for delivery to nuclear waste storage facility. A person must not— (a) bring nuclear waste into the State; or (b) transport nuclear waste within the State, for delivery to a nuclear waste storage facility in the State. Maximum penalty: In the case of a natural person—$500 000 or imprisonment for 10 years. In the case of a body corporate—$5 000 000.

This legislation came about largely through the actions of the Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta (the Anangu women of Coober Pedy) who led a campaign against a 1998 Howard Government proposal for a nuclear waste dump in SA.

In 2004, following Howard’s conceding defeat on the issue, three of those women, Eileen Kampakuta Brown, Ivy Makinti Stewart and Angelina Wonga issued a statement that began: “People said that you can’t win against the Government. Just a few women. We just kept talking and telling them to get their ears out of their pockets and listen. We never said we were going to give up. Government has big money to buy their way out but we never gave up…money doesn’t win.”

In 2016, SA Labor Premier Jay Weatherill set up a Royal Commission into SA’s nuclear energy future which included a proposal for a dump for high level overseas nuclear waste. Massive protests were held and a “citizen’s jury” effectively knocked all talk of nuclear waste dumps on the head.

The resurrected SA site proposals were met with further protests. The Adnyamathanha peoples led opposition to the Wallaberdina site and were successful in winning the vote in a community consultation of people in the Flinders Ranges.

The initial Kimba sites were rejected by former Minister Josh Frydenberg in 2016 due to a lack of broad community support; however in 2017 his replacement Matt Canavan revived the proposal and accepted Napandee as the site for the dump.

(Above: Kimba dump protest)

Barngarla Pushed Aside

Approval for the Kimba site required broad community support through a community consultation. In preparation for a local vote, millions of dollars of federal funds were poured into Kimba for “social and economic development” during the consultation process. Community facilities were upgraded, footpaths and gutters put in, and the town generally given a face lift. 

No definition of “broad community support” exists in legislation, but Canavan mentioned a figure of “around 65%”.  Kimba Council defined those eligible to vote as ratepayers living within a prescribed area and excluded the Barngarla native title holders on the grounds that they lived in other towns on Eyra Peninsula.

The Barngarla appealed to the Federal Court which upheld the Council’s decision on the grounds that the Barngarla would be “too difficult to identify”. A vote was held, resulting in a 61.5% vote for the dump with a majority of 70 in favour. 

The Barngarla commissioned the Australian Election Company to poll people identified as Barngarla by the Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation and identified 209 eligible voters. There were no votes for the dump, and 89 against it.

Had those 89 Barngarla votes been included in the Kimba Council “consultation”, the outcome would have been a “no” vote carried by a small majority. 

Labor Opposition facilitates Napandee declaration

In Opposition, Labor had the opportunity to block the declaration of the Kimba site. However, Madeline King did a deal with the Coalition in June 2019 that allowed new Resource Minister Keith Pitt to declare Napandee as the site for the dump. Under the original federal legislation, an aggrieved party to the declaration had no right of judicial appeal.  King negotiated to provide the appeal right and withdrew Labor opposition to the declaration despite saying that Labor would not pass the bill unless traditional owners were comfortable with it.

They clearly were not, and neither did they have the resources to properly fund a judicial appeal, although that process has now begun in the Federal Court.

Who is Madeline King?

Madeline King is a right-wing Labor politician with close ties to the mining industry and pro-US lobbyists.

She is a commercial lawyer who immediately prior to entering parliament was the chief operating officer of the Perth USAsia Centre, a think tank based at the University of Western Australia.

King was a ministerial adviser to federal Labor MP Gary Gray from 2011 to 2012. Gray had been National Secretary of the ALP from 1993 to 2000, but resigned to take up a position with fossil fuel giant Woodside Petroleum. As its Director of Corporate Affairs, he was an executive at the time when, in 2004, Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer ordered the bugging of the East Timorese government during negotiations aimed at depriving the island nation of desperately needed revenue from underwater gas deposits. Gray was part of the Woodside negotiating team. 

In 2007, Gray contested the WA seat of Brand and became part of Rudd’s Labor team. He retired in 2016 to take up a position with Mineral Resources, but was appointed Australian Ambassador to Ireland by Scott Morrison in 2020 in what some people have said was a move to prevent him having to testify in the case against Bernard Collaery and possibly incriminating Downer under cross-examination. 

King’s employment as advisor to Gray has made her no stranger to the interplay between the corporate world and the benefits that accrue to Labor politicians who do their bidding.

No need for a Kimba dump

Opponents of the Kimba dump point out that much of the low-level waste (some of which needs to be stored for up to 300 years) is already safely stored at Woomera in SA.  Some of it is stored at facilities at which it is produced. Medical nuclear waste accounts for only around 1% of the total and is short-lived and decays quite safely at the hospitals and treatment centres at which it is generated.

Intermediate level waste is generated at Lucas Heights in Sydney. Its decay time is far longer and needs to be kept from contact with humans for 10,000 years. A 2020 federal parliament inquiry confirmed that ANSTO, the operator of Lucas heights, has the ability to manage its waste onsite for “decades to come”. Ultimately, it will need to be stored in an underground repository. The government says this will take decades while the federal nuclear regulator says it could take a century to identify and construct.

If intermediate level waste is transported the 1700 kilometres from Lucas Heights to Kimba, it will be stored there as a temporary measure, in drums above the ground, pending its removal at some future stage to a permanent underground facility.

It therefore makes no sense to move these drums of intermediate level waste across the continent when there is storage capacity at Lucas Heights. Kimba is a temporary solution to a non-problem.

The issue of nuclear waste storage is one that must be referred to nation-wide community consultation. It is not a matter to be placed on the shoulders of this or that “remote” community to decided. We are all involved and we should all decide.

SA Unions made their position clear on March 15 when they unanimously supported a motion standing with the traditional owners.  SA Unions Secretary Dale Beasley said “South Australian unions are completely united in their support of the Barngarla Traditional Owners and their opposition to the proposed nuclear waste site at Kimba”.

Let’s make this year’s Hiroshima Day (August 6) a day for concerted action against nuclear energy, nuclear waste dumps and nuclear-powered submarines. 

Let’s keep alive the spirit of the Kupa Piti Kungka Tjuta.