Australian Labor Party helps disintegrating government impose repressive laws


Australian Labor Party helps disintegrating government impose repressive laws

Mike Head

1 December 2018

During the current final two-week parliamentary session for 2018, Australia’s Labor Party opposition is sending clear signals to the ruling class of its readiness to form a repressive government under conditions of economic downturn, mounting popular discontent and a US-led drive for war against China.

Labor is working hand-in-glove with the visibly disintegrating Liberal-National Coalition government to push through a series of draconian laws, including to cut off welfare benefits for new immigrants and to hand sweeping new powers to the military-intelligence-police apparatus.

Wracked by a worsening right-wing-driven factional split, Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government barely survived a House of Representatives procedural motion on Thursday that could have triggered a no-confidence vote. Four independents abstained, and some MPs were absent, giving the government a 68 to 66 margin.

Reduced to a minority government through by-election defeats and defections, the Coalition is desperately manoeuvring to retain office until a general election, which must be called by May 18. It has virtually shut down parliament, which will sit for just 10 days next year before a re-scheduled early federal budget on April 2.

On Thursday, Labor won revealing praise from Senator Pauline Hanson, who heads the far-right, anti-immigrant One Nation party. She hailed it for giving the government the votes needed to pass a bill to make new immigrants wait four years—double the current period—before being eligible for unemployment benefits. Designed to slash $1.3 billion off welfare spending over four years, the bill is a foretaste of the austerity and immigrant-demonising…

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