archive: April 2022

28 April 2022

Bernard Keane: ”The Greens, meanwhile, have demonstrated there’s at least one party taking the climate emergency seriously, unveiling a policy to end coal-fired power by 2030 and ban coal exports by then, ending new fossil fuel projects, and guaranteeing jobs for workers affected by decarbonisation.  Oddly enough, the Greens’ plan is the closest we’ve seen from a prominent party to the plan put forward by the international lobby group for fossil fuels, the International Energy Agency, to reach genuine net zero (i.e. nothing like Morrison’s farcical ‘net zero by magic’ policy) by 2050, which includes phasing out unabated coal emissions in developed countries by 2030. It’s a demonstration of the extraordinary extent of state capture in Australia that the major parties being profoundly outside the global consensus on the need for urgent climate action attracts little if any media scrutiny. Though, of course, much of the media is itself an arm of the fossil fuel industry, so don’t expect to hear much about the Greens’ plan.”

Tim Dunlop: ”Our existence is mediated more than we like to admit, to an extent we generally don’t notice. To help us control the information that saturates our every waking moment, we rely on mental shortcuts, heuristics, and everyone from advertisers to politicians lean into these shortcuts… In politics, this is why easily demonstrable falsehoods persist: that the Coalition are better economic managers; that working class means men in factories and high-vis vests; that deficits are always bad… It is easier to regurgitate received wisdom than to pick it apart. It is more agreeable to maintain our prejudices than see past them. … When we talk about the power of the media, then, this is how we should be thinking about it: not that a single article or newsclip is going to sway people one way or another, but that the media helps create an overall environment that boxes us into certain ways of thinking. The box is never completely airtight, and other institutions build their own boxes, but the media — broadly understood — helps maintain strict perimeters around our thinking about almost everything. That is the nature of its power… and so it will always remain a key progressive goal to hold the media to account and provide alternative outlets. Put it another way: we happily talk about the importance of ‘soft power’ in the projection of our interests in foreign policy, but we are just as susceptible to it at home, and the media remain the primary tool for the dissemination of that power.”

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20 April 2022

First: “Scott Morrison is defending his record on protecting manufacturing jobs after a factory he visited conceded within 24 hours it is sacking Australian workers and outsourcing work overseas. Mr Morrison on Tuesday visited a Rheem Australia facility in Parramatta, spruiking an election commitment to create 1.3 million jobs within five years. But Rheem later confirmed there would be job losses at the same factory, after a restructure to shift some operations to the company’s Vietnam site.”

And then: “The industrial relations watchdog will investigate claims Perth shipbuilder Austal paid 30 Filipino workers as little as $9 an hour. The company has been accused of exploiting the workers just months after being awarded a $350 million defence contract by the Morrison government. … ETU WA secretary Peter Carter … said the extension of their visas in May also coincided with Austal laying off 30 WA workers, sparking concerns the company may have been seeking to slash its wages bills.” The Fair Work Ombudsman investigated the ETU’s claims and agreed that underpayments had occurred, issuing compliance notices against Austal. But that didn’t stop Morrison using Austal for a campaign photo op.

There seems to be a bit of a pattern forming…