One thousand farmers from across Victoria descended on Melbourne on June 3 to protest the state governments North South Pipeline plan, which will bring 75 billion litres of water each year from the Goulburn River across the Great Dividing Range to Sugarloaf Reservoir. The pipeline is due to be completed by 2010.
On June 5, I joined a suburban World Environment Day campaigning stall organised by Resistance, a socialist youth group in Australia.
On June 2, while announcing the withdrawal of 550 Australian combat troops from Iraq, PM Kevin Rudd told parliament that all the arguments justifying the troop deployment in the first place were lies. This vindicates the anti-war movement’s position since the 2003 invasion.
The June 5 South Australian Labor government budget has been praised as outstanding by business groups and the corporate media. The budget reduces business taxes and funds extensive infrastructure development.
One of the less noticed consequences of the ALPs pre-election promise to take a meat axe to the federal public service has been the impact of the cuts being made to cultural institutions.
The Victorian state governments TAFE reform blueprint Securing our Future Economic Prosperity: Discussion Paper on Skills Reform, released in April, pitches for higher course fees and a Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS)-style payment system spread over a few years. Currently, TAFE students pay their course fees up front.
On June 2, the West Australian reported that WA Premier Alan Carpenter had called for a nationwide suspension of approvals for foods containing genetically modified (GM) crops until more health research was carried out. Carpenter said the national food regulator, Food Standards Australia New Zealand should not approve any more food for human consumption until independent scientific trials were conducted to better determine the safety of GM foods.
NSW Treasurer Michael Costa’s third budget, on June 3, included massive handouts to big business and a nasty backhander to workers.
Like many others, I cut my activist teeth during the Franklin River campaign of the early 1980s. Like thousands of others, I joined the blockades in south west Tasmania and, like hundreds of others, was arrested for my troubles and spent a week in Risdon Jail.
A new group of climate activists resolved on May 31 to campaign against the construction of a massive electricity substation in state forest in the Hackett’s Gully area. The Hills Climate Action Group was holding its first business meeting after forming at a May 17 public forum.