Australia

MELBOURNE — About 200 people marched against the NT intervention and for equal pay and jobs with justice for Aboriginal workers on March 4. The rally was organised by the Melbourne Anti-Intervention Collective. It demanded an end to the exploitation of Aboriginal workers in the Northern Territory.  The intervention, which quarantines the welfare payments of targeted people,  has meant that Aboriginal people are in effect working for rations cards while living in extreme poverty.
ASIO has delayed the release of 900 refugees from immigration detention because it had not carried out security checks, a Senate estimate hearing on February 24 revealed.   Refugees can be held indefinitely after their visa approval until checks on their background, family networks and “risk” level are complete.   Lateline said on March 1 that it took an average of 66 days to process one person. But some refugees have been held for 12 months or longer.  
The underlying issue of racism in Australia has been a pervasive feature of national political life ever since the invasion of the First Fleet in 1788. It was used as an ideological justification for the dispossession of indigenous Australians. In 1975, the Racial Discrimination Act was implemented in order to enable all Australians, regardless of their racial and cultural background, to enjoy equal rights and to prohibit discriminative behaviour based on racial hatred.
One hundred people, including many from the Latin American community, ex-ALP members, members of the Greens, plus members of Newcastle, Wollongong, and several Sydney branches of Socialist Alliance, helped launch the SA’s campaign in the NSW state election on February 26 at St Lukes Hall in Enmore. Hosted by lead SA Legislative Council candidates Peter Boyle and Jess Moore, the night featured music, theatre, political speeches and more. The night was also about people-powered culture, with performances from the Freedom Fighters and Newcastle-based band GRCO.
Picture this: you drive past armed guards at the gate; then park your car next to a four-metre-high fence topped with electric wire. As you enter the building you’re searched, your phone is confiscated, your details are noted, then you pass through metal detectors and are tagged with ultraviolet pens. Once inside you find small children playing, and their families and friends, who have broken no laws. Surveillance cameras are ever-present and guards patrol the grounds.
The statement below was released by the Socialist Alliance on March 6. * * * The carbon price framework recently agreed to by the ALP and the Greens is a step in the wrong direction. This is not because, as the Coalition says, the economy — read the profits of big business — cannot afford to cut emissions. It’s because the framework will be counterproductive to real action on climate change. The highest prices now being discussed will simply stimulate a mass rollout of gas, extending Australia's commitment to fossil fuels at the expense of renewable energy.
The casual observer might easily conclude that there are just two clear sides in the parliamentary debate over the Labor/Greens carbon price deal. But there is a lot more to the debate than this. Clearly the Greens are in favour, and appear to have won over PM Julia Gillard’s government to an interim carbon tax. On the other hand, opposition leader Tony Abbott has promised a Tea Party-style uprising against it. Abbott will push to rouse a fascistic “people’s” movement to try to bury the deal.
The secretaries of eight NSW unions have signed a letter to the NSW Greens urging them to “commit to an upper house preference swap with Labor” at the upcoming NSW state election. The unions represented include the Communications Electrical Plumbing (Telecommunications and Services Branch), the Construction Forestry Mining Energy union (Energy and Construction divisions), the Maritime Union of Australia national office, the Fire Brigade Employees Union, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, the Australian Services Union and the Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers’ Union.
To win socialism — a society democratically owned and run by and for the majority of people — we have to get rid of the capitalist system that stands in our way. But who is going to do this? The capitalists aren’t going to give up their privileges. It's those who are exploited and oppressed by the system that have an interest in changing it. Capitalism can't permanently satisfy the needs of the majority — the working class, farmers, women, ethnic and racial minorities and so on.
In December last year, Kojonup organic grain farmer Steve Marsh found genetically modified (GM) canola plants from a neighbouring farm had contaminated 293 hectares — 63% — of his property. The farm in Western Australia’s Great Southern region is Australia’s first known case of GM canola contamination. Marsh has had his organic certification revoked as a result. The Monsanto Round-Up Ready Canola was being grown on a neighbouring farm after a moratorium on growing GM crops was lifted a year ago by the WA Liberal government.

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