Securing Economic Rights: the time has come

It is frequently claimed that Australians live in one of the world’s best democracies. Yet in the last 30 years, we have seen a demise of power held by the people of Australia. The post war era in the West has focused on preserving and advocating for civil and political rights such as voting rights, freedom of assembly and expression. Yet, economic rights such as those relating to full and meaningful work (not labour), economic security and distribution have been eroded at best, and neglected at worst.

Economic rights are about access to resources and capabilities that promote security and dignity. They are not to be confused with private property rights nor as welfare to work strategies. The neglect of economic rights in the post war era has meant that the freedom of all Australians has been radically undermined. We now need to focus on economic rights as a means not just to restore democracy, but also as a way of fighting poverty, inequality and climate change. Continue reading →

It’s the culture, stupid!

Culture is a wonderful word, isn’t it? It’s one of those words which means different things to different people and in different contexts, from opera to the microbes that turn milk into yoghurt.

For our purposes, the relevant definition from the Oxford English Dictionary is “[t]he ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society”. American artistic activist Arlene Goldbard defines it more poetically as “the fabric of signs and symbols, customs and ceremonies, habitations, institutions, and much more that characterize and enable a specific human community to form and sustain itself.” Continue reading →