Economy and Taxation

Democratise the media, democratise big tech

The Facebook ban on Australian media sites is a demonstration of the power of the tech giants and a compelling illustration of why they need to be brought under democratic control.

The wages share of national income has fallen to below 50% for the first time since 1959

Graph: Paul Oboohov based on Australian Bureau of Statistics data.

The squeeze on workers far predates the COVID-19 pandemic. In today’s dollars more than $4 trillion has shifted from workers’ pockets to corporate profits.

Facebook’s “Zucker” punch on February 18, disabling large sections of Facebook in protest at the federal government’s News Media Bargaining Code (NMBC), which led to amendments and the bill becoming law on February 25, reveals the enormous power of the media corporations.

It also shows how far we are from public interest journalism.

There is a big lie at the heart of Frydenberg’s budget speech. The rich don’t need more public largesse; if they wanted to create more jobs they already have more than enough money to do this.

A budget for billionaire climate criminals

The federal government delivered another budget for the billionaire class that runs Australia and is hell-bent on putting their profits ahead of the climate emergency.

Some of the policies we are proposing that no other party is actively campaigning on include: land rights; net zero emissions within 10 years, bringing strategic monopolised sectors of the economy into democratic public ownership, restricting residential rent increases to the consumer price index, 30,000 new public housing dwellings in four years and; sustainable transport solutions as a better alternative to both Roe 8 and building an Outer Harbour.

Albanese rushed to support the Coalition’s plan to give billions in more tax-cuts-and-subsidies for its business mates — to be funded by a historic increase in public debt to nearly $1 trillion.

Our lives are worth more than their profits

As Australia’s billionaires increased their wealth by 34% since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, while the wages share of national income dropped to a historic low, a billionaire tax is a modest proposal!

The end of the JobKeeper program on March 28 means that up to 500,000 jobs are at risk, according to Small Business Australia (SBA). Government estimates are that 150,000 jobs could go.

The passing of the Greens-initiated motion for a Green New Deal (GND) in Victoria in the Legislative Council on November 11 is a significant step forward.

The Labor party’s stage-managed policy conference was a clear demonstration that leader Anthony Albanese plans to continue the party’s “small target” strategy, offering working people very little in a pandemic recession and climate emergency.