Australia

When, in 1774, the British essayist Samuel Johnson wrote in the famous words “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel” the context was an aggressive British colonial expansionist push and associated wars with its European colonial competitors.

Climate scientists and other observers often refer to various regions, such as the Arctic, low-lying islands, the Andes, and Bangladesh, inhabited by Indigenous and peasant peoples as the canaries in the bird cage when it comes to the adverse impacts of anthropogenic climate change. But Australia is shaping up as one the canaries, writes Hans Baer.

Fenian Fear
By Peter Murphy
Galeforce Promotions Publication, 2018
178pp.

“Not of sound mind when I committed me crime, some said. Others…. I'd orchestrated the whole damm thing. On reflection, I do ask meself… Was I morally or legally responsible for what I had done? You see, I never set out to harm anyone, but simply to remind the British empire dat as an Irishman...I wasn't about to stand idle and watch as me fellow countrymen were being hanged for defending their own country.”

Activists joined in a global day of action against war in Iran, initiated in the United States by United National Antiwar Coalition. One hundred people took part in Sydney on January 25.

The protest took place on the eve of the mobilisations to mark the beginning of the colonial dispossession of First Nation’s peoples.

Elders from the Gweagal-Bidjigal community on the southern side of Sydney near Botany Bay have called for people to join a convergence protesting the Coalition government’s “celebrations” to mark 250 years since Australia was colonised.

Mudoch University’s decision on January 13 to drop its lawsuit against Associate Professor Gerd Schröder-Turk is a partial victory for him, academic freedoms and whistle blowing.

A survey released on the eve of the World Economic Forum has found that just 18% of people believe capitalism is working for them.

Unsurprisingly, the poll, conducted by public relations firm Edelman, also found that trust in capitalist institutions remains higher among "wealthier, more educated, and frequent consumers of news” than the mass population.

According to the report, "distrust is being driven by a growing sense of inequity and unfairness in the system".

The residents’ battle to save the trees in the historic Gandolfo Gardens is far from over, despite the Herald Sun’s claim that it “has ended”.

The latest fire emergency in four states has rammed home the meaning of the words “catastrophic climate change” in the minds of most people in Australia. Most now realise that this is a climate emergency and our society should mobilise all its resources to address it.

Looking out my office window in early January, the smoke haze blanketing Melbourne CBD blocked all sight of the city. It made visibility on the roads a problem and venturing outside a dangerous activity.

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