Australia

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.
For more than a week, Rupert Murdoch’s The Australian has been on the warpath against green and left “extremists”. It began by attacking the NSW Greens for supporting the global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israeli apartheid. The Greens are organised in independent parties in each state, but the Murdoch flagship demanded that Australian Greens leader Bob Brown bring its most left-wing branch into line.
I read an article by Greg Sheridan on multiculturalism in the April 2 Weekend Australian and there are a few points that need to be said. First of all, Sheridan says he sees no future to multiculturalism. He says it is a failure and that it doesn't work in Australia. Well, I believe that we live in a world where borders are less important than ever before.
Transport Workers Union national secretary, Tony Sheldon, has condemned Qantas’s training of overseas strikebreakers after the company’s chief executive, Alan Joyce, admitted to the practice in media reports. Sheldon said in an April 5 media release: “They really need to come clean on who they are training, who is doing the training and why it has to be done in secret in another country? Why are they hiding it around the other side of the world?
While Palestinian, Israeli and international non-violent protesters who march against Israel’s policies in the Occupied Territories are literally showered in sewage, beaten, arbitrarily arrested and sometimes killed by Israeli forces, the battle against non-violent resistance has taken its own ugly form in Australia.
One hundred and thirty people packed out a room in the Crowne Plaza hotel to hear traditional owners and nuclear experts call for the closure of the Ranger uranium mine in the world heritage-listed Kakadu national park. Yvonne Margarula condemned the mine for its presence on land that is sacred to her people — the Mirrar people. “The promises never last,” she said. “But the problems always do.”
A poll by Roy Morgan Research several days into the Fukushima nuclear crisis found that 61% of Australians oppose the development of nuclear power in Australia, nearly double the 34% who support it. The growth in support for nuclear power over the past five years has been totally erased — and then some. There was undoubtedly growing support for nuclear power until Fukushima, but the issue had been the subject of a great deal of hype and spin.
Love Andrew Bolt or loathe him, you’ve got to admit the right-wing Herald Sun columnist and radio shock jock is a master of the ambush interview. Add in Liberal Party leader Tony Abbott’s slipperiness with any kind of truth — scientific, political or otherwise — and you have a media product so toxic it deserves to be trucked off for incineration by people in respirator suits. Unfortunately, that’s the product that was all over the talkback airwaves and parliamentary reports for several days at the end of March.
Locals from Lake Tyers, a small Aboriginal community in East Gippsland, set up a roadblock leading into their township on March 8. The action was to protest against a Victorian government-imposed administrator and call for a return to democracy in their community. The only exceptions allowed through the blockade were health service employees and school buses.
Despite crisis levels of overcrowding, many urban Aboriginal communities have been denied federal funding for new housing. On March 18, ABC online said town camps around Darwin were not allocated any of the $1.5 billion in upgrades planned for Aboriginal communities.

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