Australia’s Rental Crisis Worsens

An annual report from an Australian Charity focussed on housing affordability is making alarming claims about housing insecurty in Australia, especially for those dependent on welfare. The Anglicare Rental Affordability Snapshot is taken annually, using real estate listings from a single weekend to give a picture of what the housing market looks like to the most vulnerable in society, including those on the aged pension and unemployment benefits. The report, in line with Australian norms,  defines affordable housing as costing less than 30% of household income. It found, among other things, that the number of houses affordable to a single person on Newstart (the Australian unemployment benefit) to be only 2, down from 3 the year before and 21 the year before. It notes that neither of these dwellings is in a major metropolitan area, and that the poor and unemployed have been essentially priced out of the major cities.

The report goes on to say that data from the Department of Social Services shows “there are nearly half a million Australians on government income support who pay more than 30 percent of their income in rent.”, and calls for action to address housing affordability and raise the amount of various government welfare payments.

See all the research for this story by clicking the box below:

Written in Stone: The Sydney Ducks

See Cassie findlay put our new research tool to work, capturing her research work on this history blog.

Cassie Findlay

The short piece below is a test of the Beta release of Write in Stone, a new tool for capturing and sharing research. To view the full Writeline for this story, or to rate the research, click on the widget. Feedback (on the tool, not my dodgy writing) is welcome! Email me at cassie (at)

The Sydney Ducks

440px-SanFrancisco1851a ‘Sydney Town’, looking north to Telegraph Hill, 1851.

It was only after I had been living in San Francisco for almost two years that I discovered the Sydney Ducks. From memory, it was in an Uber on the way to a trust in journalism event with Austin Mackell that I found out about them. At first, I didn’t believe such an excellent story could possibly be true. Not only was there a gang ex-colonials from Sydney that had roamed around in what is now lower Telegraph Hill but that they were truly…

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What I’m up to now – Building a research transparency app

I’ve basically stopped writing journalism for the time being. My last piece was an impassioned cry for progressives not to assume a Clinton victory, and to therefore hold their noses and vote for the lesser evil. We were in a situation where the parties are no longer converging on a neoliberal consensus but polarising faster than ever, especially in the right, which is in serious danger of being taken over by its most hateful and dangerous impulses.

By now there’s no joy left in telling people I told them so on this point. Just as there isn’t in regards to Egypt, or Libya. I even deleted my twitter account. I long ago decided I wanted to more than simply spew article after article into the internet’s gaping maw, with little or no reaction coming back.

So I’ve been involved over the years in attempts to upgrade journalism standards and methodology. The latest incarnation of this effort is called Stone and it is the worlds first research transparency system. Further explanations and early use cases will soon be added to our website.


You can also follow our progress on Twitter and Facebook.

Remembering the Ghouta massacre

Leila's blog

CM1cqBFWsAApCXxTwo years ago the Syrian regime dropped Sarin gas on multiple locations across the eastern and western Ghouta, an agricultural, industrial and residential district on the outskirts of Damascus. It was the deadliest use of chemical weapons since the Iran-Iraq war, the greatest single poisoning of civilians since Saddam Hussain’s slaughter of the Kurds at Halabja. More than 1,400 people choked to death in the attack – so many because people were sheltering from the artillery barrage in their basements, the worst place to be, where the gas sank and thickened.

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JAN25 piece on ImportantCool


Some of you may have noticed that this blog has been very quiet recently.

If you actually pay that much attention to my work, you may also have noticed I’ve been busy, along with a bunch of others, founding – a transparent worker owned news outlet that will, inevitably, take over the Internets.

Today IC is featuring my piece marking the fourth anniversary of the 25 January 2011, entitled What Went Wrong With Egypt’s Revolution.

Here’s a sample:

Despite the best efforts of the Western-facing Egyptian intelligentsia – alongside the Anglophone commentators with whom they overlap and intermingle incestuously – to obfuscate what happened and blame Egypt’s first elected government for its own demise, there is very little ambiguity as to what went wrong.

Inexplicably bewildered by predictable Islamist success at the ballot box, secularists rushed back into the waiting arms of the security state. They sought and found authoritarian protection from the electoral success of the Islamists, whose conservative populism successfully mustered feelings of national and religious pride behind a project of economic and socially centrist nation-building.

Secularists held mass protests demanding the removal of President Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate who won the first democratic presidential election in Egypt’s history. In doing so they greatly aided the efforts of the deep state to create a sense of crisis that allowed the armed forces to step in, arrest Morsi and his government, murder their supporters en masse in the streets, shut down all sympathetic media and generally re-assert near-totalitarian control; public, religious and civic institutions were transformed into eviscerated mouthpieces for a mafia-style military government lead by a sociopathic man-child.

Please check out the rest, follow ImportantCool on Twitter and Facebook, and become a patron, which will give you a say in how this new media outlet evolves. There really is a great community forming around this project. Come and see.

Will be making a more long term decision about what to do with this blog later.


[PHOTOS] Egyptians Defy Military Regime And Show Solidarity With Gaza



Despite Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s close collaboration with the Israeli Occupation Forces and siege of Gaza, Egyptians have staged solidarity actions across the country against Israeli aggression.

The actions have mostly been ignored by both the Egyptian and Western media, with some inside Cairo incitinghatred against Palestinians and political figures declaring “Israel is not the enemy.

[ESP] [FOTOGRAFÍAS] Egipcios desafían al régimen militar y muestran solidaridad con Gaza

A pesar de la estrecha colaboración Abdel Fattah el-Sisi con las Fuerzas Israelíes de Ocupación y asedio de Gaza, los egipcios han organizado acciones de solidaridad en todo el país contra la agresión israelí.
Las acciones en su mayoría han sido ignoradas por ambos, tanto por los medios de comunicación egipcios como los occidentales, con algunos dentro Cairo incitando al odio contra los palestinos y figuras políticas declarando “Israel no es el enemigo.”

[IT] [Foto] Egiziani Sfidano Il…

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Noam Chomsky on Egypt’s Coup

Below is a short email interview I conducted with Noam Chomsky regarding the coup in Egypt.

Q. Are you pleased or upset by the events in Egypt over the last month or so?

 A. Upset

How have these events changed the outlook for Egyptian democracy and the Arab Spring generally?

A setback, in my opinion, though many of the gains remain.

How would you characterise the relationship between the US, Israeli and Egyptian military/intelligence communities?

As far as I know, nothing significant has changed.  The US provides Egypt with substantial military aid, in the hope and expectation of having influence over its actions.  We have no detailed information about intelligence relations but they are doubtless close.  The Israel-Egypt security arrangements seem not to have changed materially.

How would you compare this to the relationship between the Muslim Brotherhood and any allies they have in Washington?

The Obama administration was mildly supportive of the MB government, which maintained the neoliberal programs that the US favors and the existing security arrangements, but the MB does not have close allies in Washington.

Do you see the events as a coup?


What actions specifically, if any, do you think Mohammad Morsi or the brotherhood took which justify the intervention by the military?

There have been “bills of particulars” offered by June 30th supporters, of varying credibility in my opinion. But I’ve seen nothing to justify calling in the military to overthrow the elected government, however flawed the elections or objectionable the post-election policies, and I expect that the faith now often expressed in the benign intentions of the military will prove severely misplaced.