Bob Gould was a veteran of the labour left in Australia. He died on May 22, at the age of 74, of injuries suffered after a fall in his well-known bookshop, Gould's Book Arcade, in Newtown, Sydney. He had been unwell for some time, but his accidental death was untimely. Gould was a member of the early Australian Trotskyist group active in the 1950s and 1960s, along with Nick Origlass and others, who fought for socialist politics within the Australian Labor Party and against the Stalinism of the Communist Party of Australia.
The crowd at Harry Black’s funeral, on May 23, filled the South Chapel in Rookwood Garden Cemetery, the overflow room and the upstairs gallery. Family, comrades, wharfies, seafarers and even a few old fellow soldiers from World War II were there to say goodbye. It was a fitting reflection on the life of a treasured comrade. Harry was born in Rylstone, NSW, the son of a butcher in a small rural town, said Jim Donovan, the president of the Retired Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) Members, in his eulogy at the funeral.
Many people have heard of the mess the government & Lend Lease are up to at Barangaroo, but little has yet to be made public on a similar development for the Gosford Waterfront Landing. The General Manager of the Central Coast Regional Development Corporation Brett Phillips says the “CCRDC is indicating high end uses for the site along the lines of commercial office space, high end tourism and business related facilities and performing arts”.
Thirty people marched from the Stirling Gardens to parliament house on May 17 to protest the state governments plans to remove homeless people from the city centre for three days during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). Protesters were angry about the fact that $9 million dollars had been earmarked for the refurbishment of Frasers Restaurant in Kings Park for a CHOGM leaders social function. In addition, tens of millions of dollars have been allocated to refurbish ministerial offices. Meanwhile, 55,000 people are on the Homeswest waiting list for public housing.
The Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) and the Socialist Alliance issued the joint statement below on May 19. * * The Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) and the Socialist Alliance in Australia denounce the recent agreement made between the governments of Malaysia and Australia, whereby Australia will send 800 asylum seekers who have been detained by Australian authorities to Malaysia in exchange for 4000 refugees currently in Malaysia.
Our society is heading in the wrong direction. According to a new “Australia’s Electricity Generation Mix 1960-2009” report commissioned by Environment Victoria, the proportion of Australia’s electricity generated by renewable energy has fallen from 19% in 1960 to 7% in 2008. Because Australia today generates 10 times the amount of electricity as it did in 1960, coal-fired electricity generation has increased by more than 1200%.
The activity of British-based transnational conglomerate Serco in Australia has remained relatively unknown since it began taking government contracts in 1990. That is until the refugees locked up in its detention centres — under a $756 million government contract — started speaking out. Horrific suicides, hunger strikes, self-harm, riotous protests, burning buildings and under-trained staff have finally put Serco in the headlines.
Right wing media commentator Andrew Bolt launched his new interview show The Bolt Report on Channel 10 on May 8 with a classic display of the use of phony statistics. Interviewing Afghan refugee Riz Wakil, Bolt claimed that a five-year long survey of Afghan migrants showed “something like 94% are on Centrelink benefits, only 9% actually are employed”.
NEWCASTLE — Four activists from Newcastle climate action group Rising Tide scaled the roof of climate change minister Greg Combet's office on May 16. They attached solar panels to the roof and unfurled a banner that read: “Make polluters pay, fund renewable energy.” Rising Tide spokesperson Naomi Hogan said: “We have put these solar panels up on Minister Combet’s office to highlight the potential of renewable energy to power the nation.
The Illawarra community plans to take action on May 29 to press their case for a moratorium on coal seam gas mining in the area. A mass human sign to spell the words “Stop Coal Seam Gas!” is organised at 11am that day on Austinmer beach, north of Wollongong. The organiser, Stop CSG Illawarra, is confident of a large turnout. The group’s regular organising meetings have attracted 100 or more people. The group has letterboxed 30,000 leaflets publicising the event and outlining the dangers of coal seam gas.