NUMBER 8 AUTUMN / WINTER 2002

EDITORIAL: Federal Labor led the charge for privatisation of government business enterprises in the 80s. Are state and territory Labor governments now going to lead the charge to Public Private Partnerships in social infrastructure, even though this will add 40 per cent to the cost of construction and maintenance of public assets such as schools and hospitals?

 JOHN LEGGE says the New Right has paralysed the Left by changing the objectives of politics from justice to rights. Equality is impossible without redistribution and redistribution is impossible without some limitation on property rights.

DAVID HAYWARD reports on an Australia-wide survey conducted by the Institute of Social Research at Swinburne University which reinforces earlier surveys showing very little support for privatisation, despite twenty years of promotion by both major political parties.

JOHN QUIGGIN reviews the history of private infrastructure provision in the UK and Australia. He says the claim that this can avoid the creation of additional public debt is a delusion often leading to a reduction in the net worth of the public sector.

JIM JOSE says the history of the past twenty years bears out the observation that lack of political will explains rising unemployment. Post WW11 full employment entailed such significant adjustment in the institutions and practices of capitalism that it was unlikely capitalists would be able to tolerate full employment for long.

PAUL MEES describes how City Link's operator, Transurban, was able to keep multi-million dollar tax breaks after ten separate hearings in the AAT, the Federal Court and the High Court – hearings which never got around to dealing with the substantive issue because in the end the citizen who litigated the issue was found not to have standing, even though the amenity of his house was affected by the construction of the road.

ANN MORROW shows the difficulties facing independent candidates in federal elections by reference to the 2001 experience of government schools advocate, Kristin Stegley, who ran against then Education Minister, David Kemp, in the seat of Goldstein.

JENNIFER CURTIN discusses the history of the split in NZ Labour leading to the Labour/Alliance government and – despite the lack of success there – suggests that this may be what is required by parties of the Left to capture core and new constituencies.

DEREK WOOLNER argues that the Coalition’s slavish attachment to ANZUS creates the danger of ignoring Australia’s long-term regional interests, which are not the same as US global interests – especially as defined by the Bush Administration.

ALICE DE JONGE describes how over the last two years the Coalition has constructed a legislative anti-asylum seeker fortress where asylum seekers will be either deported immediately or detained, mostly in Australian-financed Pacific Island camps.

TIM LINDSEY explains why Indonesia is the preferred route for 85 per cent of the asylum seekers attempting to come to Australia by boat and why the Indonesian Government can’t be expected to do much to stop the traffic, being far more concerned about their own estimated 1.2 million internal refugees.

LESLEY McCULLOCH investigates Aceh’s struggle for independence and describes how the military has a vested interest in prolonging the conflict, as it profits from plundering local resources and selling protection to local business.

DAVE CORLETT says because the old racism – based on notions of biological superiority – is no longer scientifically tenable, it has been replaced by a new form of xenophobic exclusion based on cultural difference.

IAN MANNING reviews a book about the future of the Welfare State and JAMES GRIFFIN discusses Ray Whitrod's autobiography.  

JOHN WHITELEGG looks at the way various European cities have addressed the challenge of creating a healthy, efficient public transport system and the social, environmental and health costs of failure.

CATHERINE BLAKERS examines the power of words in political discourse.


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