Australia Played a Key Role in Chile’s 1973 Coup. Chilean Exiles Are Demanding an Apology.

Carole Concha Bell

Chilean president Salvador Allende attends a press conference in the Government House in Santiago, Chile, in 1973. His government was overthrown by a violent right-wing coup months later. (Bettmann / Getty Images)

In an open letter to Australia’s minister for foreign affairs, Marise Payne, a group of campaigners representing the Chilean exile community and victims of the Augusto Pinochet regime have condemned Australia’s role in Chile’s violent military coup, which overthrew democratically elected socialist president Salvador Allende on September 11, 1973.

Newly declassified files, released to Canberra academic and intelligence analyst Clinton Fernandes, detail how the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) requested assistance from the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) during the Allende administration in undermining the president’s authority and sabotaging Chile’s socialist project.

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DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN IN AUSTRALIA 

Why do women get paid less than men? Hours and commuting provide clues

Jordy Meekes

The Conversation | March 06, 2021

That Australian women earn less than Australian men is well-known. The latest calculation put the gap – the extent to which the average female full-time wage is less than the average male full-time wage – at 13.4%.

Women are also less likely to be employed than men, about 14% less likely, in part because women give birth to and are more likely to care for children.Read More »

HUMAN HISTORY

Australia’s Oldest Known Rock Art is a 17,000-Year-Old Kangaroo

Alison George

New Scientist | February 22, 2021

rock art
A colour-enhanced image of the ancient kangaroo artwork | Damien Finch

A life size kangaroo painted in red ochre around 17,300 years ago is Australia’s oldest known rock art. This indicates that the earliest style of rock art in Australia focused on animals, similar to the early cave art found in Indonesia and Europe.

Thousands of rock art sites are found all over Australia, with the Kimberley region of Western Australia containing a particularly rich record. But dating the images is challenging as the minerals and organic material needed to determine when the art was created are hard to find.Read More »

BOURGEOISIE POLITICS 

Tax and Politics: Major Australian Firms pay more in Political Donations than Taxes

A Journal of People report

tax and politics

Some of Australia’s largest corporations paid tax of 10 percent or less of their profit in 2018-2019, but made political contributions that are much more substantial. 

The corporate tax rate in Australia is 30 percent. However, deductions available to companies reveal a legal loophole allowing companies to pay much less.

According to latest data by the Australian Taxation Office, the country’s corporate giants, including energy enterprise Chevron Australia Holdings and car parks operator Wilson Parking Australia 1992, paid little or no tax in the last financial year despite declaring a profit of AU$900 million (about US$656 million) and AU$2.76 million (about US$2.1 million) respectively.Read More »

CHINA-AUSTRALIA RELATION

An All-Out Trade War with China would Cost Australia 6% Of GDP

Rod Tyers and Yixiao Zhou

The Conversation | November 30, 2020

China accounts for more than a third of export dollars earned by Australia.

The figures, for the 12 months to October, cover the period of coronavirus disruptions and disputes over trade.

They apply to physical exports rather than harder to measure services, and are dominated by record high Chinese takings of Australian iron ore.

But they mightn’t last.Read More »

CHESS

The Queens(land) gambit: a brief history of chess in Australia

David Smerdon and Graeme Gardiner

The Conversation | November 18, 2020

A scene from The Queen's Gambit.
Fischer’s famous match is emulated in the final episode of The Queen’s Gambit, in which the American Harmon plays her own Soviet nemesis in Russia. PHIL BRAY/NETFLIX

The new Netflix miniseries The Queen’s Gambit has received rave reviews around the world. Surprisingly for a chess-themed show, it received a warm reception by the global chess community, which is usually highly critical of portrayals of tournament chess in film.

The experiences of star character Beth Harmon loosely correlate to those of Bobby Fischer, a US chess prodigy and arguably the most talented player in history. Fischer rose to fame in the 1950s, becoming the youngest ever US Champion at age 14 and breaking the record for the youngest international grandmaster one year later.Read More »

SOCIAL MEDIA 

Facebook will Stop Australians from Posting News

Casey Tonkin

INFORMATIONAGE | September 01, 2020

Soon you won’t be able to share news articles on Facebook. Source: Shutterstock
 

Facebook said Australian users will no longer be able to post news stories on its platforms in protest of proposed media bargaining legislation.

“Assuming this draft code becomes law, we will reluctantly stop allowing publishers and people in Australia from sharing local and international news on Facebook and Instagram,” Managing Director of Facebook Australia and New Zealand, Will Easton, said in a statement.

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HISTORY OF WORKERS MOVEMENT

The Australian Green Bans: When Construction Workers Went on Strike for the Environment

Steve Morse

LABOR NOTES | July 28, 2020

Black and white photo of men marching with a banner: "SUPPORT BLF GREEN BANS"
The “Green Bans” were the first environmental strikes by workers. Almost a half-century later, they remain the largest and best example.

Imagine a building trades union that broke new ground in the 1970s in its support for environmentalism, community preservation, and women, and in its opposition to racism, even as it fought hard for all its members. Imagine a union that determined what got built, based on community interests rather than profit and greed.

From 1971 to 1974, the New South Wales Builders Labourers’ Federation (NSWBLF) conducted 53 strikes. The strikers’ demands were to preserve parkland and green space, to protect the country’s architectural heritage, and to protect working-class and other neighborhoods from destruction.

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IMPERIALISM

Australia & the Working of the American Imperial Hand

Tony Kevin

It is hard to explain Australia to foreigners: a complicated former British colonial society that likes to think of itself as simple and honest, and sometimes persuades others that this may be true. The Australia of the “Dustyesky Russian Choir” that recently became a brief sensation on Russia’s mainstream Channel One is a reassuring image: one in which some Russians might still sentimentally like to believe.

Yet there is a darker side. An Australian Rip Van Winkle who had gone to sleep in, say, 1990 and woke up today would not recognize his country, whose elites have become more greedy, more corrupt, more indifferent to old-fashioned notions of a shared national interest.

The dominant influence has been the American ideological and military colonization of Australia, which can be traced back to the CIA-engineered regime change operation in 1975 that removed the nationally independent, socially progressive government of Gough Whitlam. [Read John Pilger’s trenchant obituary of Whitlam.]Read More »

COVID-19 PANDEMIC IN AUSTRALIA

‘No One Would Even Know if I had Died in My Room’: Coronavirus Leaves International Students in Dire Straits

       Alan Morris, Catherine Hastings, Emma Mitchell, Gaby Ramia, Shaun Wilson

The Conversation | August 13, 2020

Many international students in private rental housing in Sydney and Melbourne were struggling before COVID-19 hit. Our surveys of these students before and during the pandemic show it has made their already precarious situations much worse.

Of those with paid work when the pandemic began, six in ten lost their jobs. Many were struggling to pay rent and tuition fees.

Our new report is based on two surveys* of several thousand students. To track financial distress, we developed eight indicators from Australian Bureau of Statistics measures for the first survey in late 2019. We used these again for the second survey in mid-2020. The responses are shown below.Read More »