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New Times Survey


THE CORPORATE STATE

by Betty Luks

The Housing Trust has for many years provided low rental housing for the needier within the state of South Australia. Many a young widow with children, has raised them in a "Trust' home; many a low wage earner lived his life in reasonable comfort with his family in a 'Trust' home. But the Housing Trust now finds itself in financial difficulties, Advertiser, 10/5/04.
Here is a semi-government authority, set up in the 1960s to house low-income earners, now 'cannibalising' itself by selling off the houses - which the original loans (from the Commonwealth Government) were used to build. One would have thought that after forty years the Housing Trust would have been more viable. What gives?

IT'S THE MONEY - Some details:
We are informed by the article it will take the Housing Trust another 38 years to pay off its $700 million debt to the Commonwealth for loans it took out in the 1960s. The Public Service Association has called on the State Government to press for the debt to be waived, pointing to a waiting list of 26,000 persons wanting public housing, but a spokesman for Kay Patterson, federal Family and Community Services Minister, said the Commonwealth had no intention of waiving the debt.
While the amount of the original loan and the interest terms were not stated, the debt will not be fully repaid until 2042.
What we do know is that as at 30th June 2003, the debt was still $705.2 million.
This is almost 60 per cent more than the Trust's annual budget of $445 million.
This year's repayment of $43.5 million, of which $31.3 million is interest, compares with the Commonwealth's housing grant to SA in 2002-2003 of $47.5 million. Which means in this instance, the Commonwealth gives with one hand and takes away with the other!

According to the figures, the Trust, for this financial year, paid only $12.2 million off the balance of the $705.2 million debt.
The repayment represented almost half the $91.5 million earmarked for maintenance of the properties. Which means the necessary maintenance of the properties won't be carried out.
The trust has already reduced its property numbers from about 65,000 in 1993 to 47,480 this year.
More than 600 Trust homes were sold last financial year … only 37 per cent of which were sold to Trust tenants. The homes are clearly not going to the people who need them the most.

South Australia's Council for Social Services claims that if the Federal Government doesn't change its policy position then the Housing Trust will continue to lose about 1100 houses per annum. One aspect, obvious to those with eyes to 'see' is that as Trust homes were built 30-40 years ago, and most towns and cities having 'grown around the Trust estates', means these homes are now occupying prime real estate positions. You can be sure the real estate developers have their beady, greedy eyes on the land!
It looks like the long-term plans are for the Housing Trust is to be 'privatised' - gradually.

The Programme begins:
Jeremy Lee, who has continually warned us what is happening to this nation, published in 1995 "Local Government, Amalgamation, Regionalisation & the Hilmer Report" where the programme was spelt out. It was a programme that came with the arrival of the Whitlam Federal Government in 1972, and the plans for its completion were anticipated somewhere before the end of the century.

The programme included:
· A large reduction of the number of Local Authorities in Australia by amalgamation:
· The formation of REDOs (Regional Economic Development Organisations) made up in part of the amalgamated Authorities, with a mixture of elected councillors permanent government commissioners and nominees from various industry and social organisations, including trade unions in policy implementation under central direction;
· The replacement of the existing States with the proposed REDOs, through the redirection of funds from the financial monopoly the Federal Government has acquired;
· The replacement of the Crown, with its reserve powers, by a republic;
· The Introduction of a National Competition Policy, as set out in the Hilmer Report; and
· The Integration of the Australian economy into a global model in which the World Trade Organisation - the operative arm of the GATT - is the principal decision-maker about productive, trade and workplace practices in Australia.

Professor George Monbiot of Keele University has exposed what happened in the UK as a result of 'new' Labor's policies - you know Mark Latham talks of Blair's Third Way. Prof. Monbiot's efforts will assist us to look past the 'smoke and smother' in this country, and work out the details of how they are going about it here. We list a few instances.

The Corporate Takeover of Government
· The Labour Party has continued the central project bequeathed by their 'conservative' predecessors - essentially there is no difference between the policies of the main parties.
· Labour repeals daily any wholesome Act established against the rich and provides more piercing Statutes daily to chain up and restrain the poor.
· Large numbers of houses have been built, ostensibly to solve the housing crisis, but are sold abroad as speculative investments.
· As a result, prices for houses have risen astronomically and local people simply cannot afford them.
· The Labour Government has removed some of the few remaining safeguards designed to ensure that development responds to public need rather than just corporate greed.
· Planning policies are even more hostile to the environment and ordinary peoples' lives.
· The government repeatedly refuses to remove the financial incentives which favour the rich buying two houses while the poor have none.
· At the same time they are insisting they don't want underused housing brought back into circulation in order to reduce the pressure on 'greenfield's' sites.
· British Labour's 1998 "Green Business Evening", hosted by their Environment Minister was sponsored by the big quarrying company Aggregate Industries.
· As a result of Aggregate's lobbying, an election-promised tax on them 'to encourage recycling' was delayed three years and when finally paid was not enough to clean up the damage caused by the quarrying carried out.
But what of the Corporate takeover of Education?
What is happening in the field of Education in the U.K. is alarming.
Most ideas being imposed on the people have been tested in the USA first. Schooling in the USA is widely traded on the stock market and worth around $650bn.
The most widespread way of making money out of education is the use of schools as an advertising medium. Education is now looked upon as a 'commodity'. Children are easily swayed by advertising and in school they are a captive audience. "The kids we're reaching," observed one marketing executive "are consumers in training'.
The 'shape' of things to come
In 1998 the British government launched what it called 'a partnership between businesses, parents, schools and Local Education Authorities. Education Action Zones (EAZs) are clusters of schools whose standards are lower than they should be, which apply to the government for special treatment. If selected, their management is handed over to an 'action forum', on which all the 'partners' are represented. EAZs are not allowed to form unless businesses are involved.
As a result - some examples:-
The London Borough of Lambeth's Education Action Zone is run not by the local authority but by the oil company Shell.
The EAZ in Wythenshawe, Manchester is run by Manchester Airport which encountered furious local and national resistance when it built a second runway through the region's most striking landscapes.
The weapons manufacturer British Aerospace helps to run zones in Hull, Plymouth and Teesside.
In return for their financial contributions, the munificent companies can reap both public relations benefits - as their good works become known to parents and teachers - and potential recruits, as they can guide educational policies better to meet their employment needs.
Note: Parents must ask themselves: what is the purpose of an education system? What do they want for their children from an education system?
Would there be much difference between the finished 'product' of a Communist education system than that of a Corporate/Fascist education system? I think not.


Douglas Credit and the A.L.P.

For those who still hold a secret hope the Labor Party is misinformed and all we need to do is explain to them the advantages of a financial system that would serve all the people, the following excerpt from "The Great Depression in Australia" provides an interesting view.
Douglas Credit and the A.L.P. by Baiba Berzins:
"Some movements, whose reform programmes advocated the correction of specific grievances, used populist (populist, i.e., an advocate of democratic principles) rhetoric in order to explain what they saw as a temporary crisis. Other movements used populist rhetoric together with reform programmes of wider scope and a vision of a future differing in important respects, from the present. This article is concerned with the relations between two movements of the latter type: the Douglas Credit movement and the Australian Labor Party.
Populist opposition to established political parties and other highly structured organisations makes it seemingly paradoxical that populism should find a stronghold in sections of the A.L.P. This is a consequence of the party's origins, and its diverse nature, for it sees itself in various roles: as a trade union party, a working class party, and as the party of the Australian people. Its ideology has contained many elements but in general the Labor Party's analysis of society, as contained in its programmes and rhetoric, has tended along populist rather than class-oriented lines. At the same time the A.L.P. is conscious of, and zealously defensive about, its position among Australian political parties, and hence distrustful of any organisation which can be considered a threat to it… In the 1930s, the A.L.P. broke with the Douglas Credit movement not because of ideological reasons, but because of the organisational threat which the movement eventually posed to the party…"
In other words, the party came before the policies: they had confused the 'means' with the 'ends'.
© Published by the Australian League of Rights, P.O. Box 27 Happy Valley, SA 5159