Australia

The people of the Melbourne suburbs of Altona and Seaholme have begun a community revolt against train cuts to their area. The first public meeting on the issue attracted 250 people on March 3. A second meeting attracted 500 on March 29. The March 29 meeting set up the Altona Loop Action Group. The group held a protest outside the office of public transport minister Terry Mulder on April 12.
The activists of the Still Fierce collective are angry, proud and determined to make change happen. The group is organising a protest outside the federal parliament in Canberra on May 11. It will be Australia’s first rally for the rights of intersex, sex and/or gender diverse (ISGD) people. On its website, Still Fierce says ISGD “includes people who may be intersex, transexed, transsexual, transgender, genderqueer, androgynous, without sex and/or gender identity, and people with sex and gender culturally specific differences”.
About three hundred and forty climate activists, from more than 100 community climate action groups, attended Australia's Climate Action Summit in Melbourne from April 9-11. Some of the key topics discussed were: a carbon price; fossil fuels such as coal, gas and coal seam gas; working with unions; building a people's power movement; renewable energy campaigns and; bridging the gap between science and politics.
Aboriginal rights and queer groups protested outside Glebe Coroner's Court in Sydney to demand an end to black deaths in custody and a new inquiry into the death of transgender Aboriginal woman Veronnica (Paris) Baxter on the 20th anniversary of the Royal Commission into Black Deaths in Custody, April 15. Indigenous Social Justice Association spokesperson Ray Jackson said: "There is one Aboriginal death in custody per month in Australia. The 339 recommendations of the Commission have not been properly implemented by the states — and so the deaths have not stopped."
About 200 people protested outside Victorian government offices on April 11 against a proposed new gas-fired power station in Victoria. Five protesters locked themselves to a stepladder inside the building. The company HRL is planning to build its power station in Victoria, and the state and federal governments have committed $150 million towards it. The rally came at the end of the National Grassroots Climate Summit in Melbourne. The protest called for funding to be put toward renewable energy instead.
Sydney's Marrickville council is coming under increasing pressure to overturn a resolution it passed in December in support of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. NSW Liberal Premier Barry O’Farrell has threatened to use his powers under the Local Government Act to sack the council unless the resolution is overturned.
In the past few weeks, Rupert Murdoch’s News Ltd media have attacked Jewish-Australian journalist and author Antony Loewenstein over a March 30 article he wrote for the independent online news service New Matilda. The story examined to what degree the NSW Greens’ stance on Israel cost them lower house seats in the recent state election.
“Of the 339 recommendations of the royal commission into black deaths in custody handed down in 1991, the first people to receive funding were the police and prisons,” Murri community leader Sam Watson told an April 15 rally to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the commission. “The big bucks went to the cops and the jails. Aboriginal legal services and other Indigenous organisations only got the crumbs. Instead of decreasing the rate of incarceration of Aboriginal people, that rate has increased over the past 20 years in Australia." The rally and march attracted about 100 protesters.
Steel manufacturer BlueScope is exaggerating the impact of a carbon price said the April 9 Sydney Morning Herald. “Last month BlueScope said a carbon price of $25 a tonne would wipe $300 million to $400 million off its bottom line but analysts at Deutsche Bank quickly pointed out that ignored compensation," SMH journalist Paddy Manning said. “Based on BlueScope's 2009-10 emissions of 12.2 million tonnes, they calculated the company's carbon liability in 2012-13 would be about $30.5 million, or 7.4% of its forecasts for the company's net profit after tax."
Opposition to the Brighton bypass bridge over the Jordan River in southern Tasmania escalated after the April 12 decision by the Tasmanian heritage minister Brian Wightman to give final approval for works to proceed. The bridge will destroy kutalayna, a site of 42,000 years of Aboriginal occupation. On April 14, protesters entered the site and stopped the works. On April 15, 21 people were arrested after protesters scaled the fence and entered the site in waves, stopping the work on several occasions.

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