Australia

People in Australia are being urged to pressure the federal parliament to pass a resolution calling on the Japanese government to apologise and provide compensation to the “comfort women” of World War Two.
The dumping or resignation of half a dozen ministers from the NSW Labor government over the last fortnight — brought on by internal warfare over the cabinet’s refusal to scrap its electricity privatisation plan — has still not convinced the new premier and ALP power-brokers to drop the plan altogether.
Less than a week after declaring that “the soap opera is over” in New South Wales politics, new Premier Nathan Rees had to sack his police minister of three days, Matt Brown, for allegedly drunkenly “mounting the chest” of Wollongong MP Noreen Hay in a “dirty dancing” party in Parliament House during the June budget session of parliament.
Women seeking a termination of their pregnancy during the second trimester, and beyond, may be denied access to Medicare funding if Tasmanian Senator Guy Barnett is successful in his bid to axe funding for abortions after the 14th week of pregnancy. Currently, women seeking an abortion are covered under the Medicare scheme up until 26 weeks of pregnancy.
The Stop the Eastern Terminal Substation (SETS) Action Group, in the Perth Hills area, is an outstanding example of what can be achieved by community-based action groups.
“There needs to be action in this country. People like yourselves can make it happen”, Palm Island Aboriginal leader Lex Wotton, who is facing a jail sentence of 10 years, told a public meeting at the Queensland University of Technology on September 10.
Bruno, a supporter of Green Left Weekly, said to me last week that the political situation today reminded him of a famous quote from a story about a Sicilian prince at the time Italy’s feudal principalities were being challenged by Giuseppe Garibaldi’s “Redshirts”:
Nothing is beyond big business in its unscrupulous drive for profits.
After a boring, month-long state election campaign, Western Australian politics suddenly burst into life immediately after the September 6 poll, in which Labor won more seats than the Liberals but neither major party won a clear majority.
Public discussion during Newcastle’s council election campaign has shifted to the left.

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