The Guardian 23 November, 2005

Dingo bytes

The crimes against humanity committed by the Howard Government continue to pile up, one upon the other. Howard is now trying to bury that fact he sent Australia to the illegal war in Iraq based on a lie, instead trying to tie it to terrorism. "If anybody believes that by pulling out of Iraq tomorrow we would dramatically and markedly reduce the terror threat, they donít understand the minds of terrorists", said Howard last week as revelations that his ally the Bush administration had used illegal phosphorus munitions during the destruction of the city of Falluja. White phosphorus ignites in the air at about 30 degrees and is almost impossible to extinguish, causing vicious and fatal injuries to victims, burning flesh to the bone.

Amid the ballyhoo about the funding of terrorist organisations, organised crime ó that virulent offshoot of capitalism ó is having a field day, infiltrating leading British banks (and Australian banks no doubt) to commit large scale fraud. In the financial sector fraud in Britain costs around A$33 million a year with another $60 million in dirty money being laundered through financial institutions. Itís the system, corrupt and rotten to the core.

The National Union of Workers has announced a dramatic increase in membership since the introduction of the Howard Governmentís anti-union laws. The unionís Victorian branch said 1,000 extra members had joined it in the past six months alone. In the past two and a half year there has been an increase of 15 percent, from 28,000 to 32,500. And this year the state branch has had a 100 percent increase in membership inquiries. "Every time the Howard Government makes a major announcement regarding industrial relations our phones ring off the hook", said State Secretary Martin Pakula.

Young people living in age care facilities and their families are being urged to tell their stories to a national committee looking into the problem. The National Alliance for Young People in Nursing Homes says there are 6,500 young Australians living in nursing homes across Australia, some as young as nine years old. The committee has been commissioned by the Coalition of Australian Governments. "Young people donít belong in nursing homes but they are put there because there is nowhere else for them to go", said Alliance spokesperson Dr Bronwyn Morkham, an indictment of a system that fails to care for its most vulnerable members.

CAPITALIST HOG(S) OF THE WEEK: are the parasite CEOs of Australiaís major corporations. CEO salary packages to the biggest 300 sharemarket-listed companies increased by 16 percent during 2005. Noted ACTU Secretary Greg Combet, "A lot of these businesspeople are the same people who have been in Canberra encouraging the Government to toughen up its WorkChoices legislation to take away workersí rights." So, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

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