Australia

The intention of zero tolerance is to reduce harm by reducing drug taking. But the reality is that zero tolerance does not work and that people will continue to use drugs. 

The federal Attorney General’s case against a defendant dubbed “Witness K” began in the ACT Magistrates Court on September 12. Media reports say Witness K is a serving Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS) officer. 

We don’t need to pray for rain, as Prime Minister Scott Morrison has suggested, we need to take serious climate action now, was the blunt message farmers delivered to federal parliament on September 10. 

The farmers said the drought gripping NSW and Queensland had to be a wake-up call for politicians to take climate change seriously.

They also raised concerns that the Coalition government is attempting to stymie the development of wind power, which provides income for farmers and rural communities when agricultural income falls.

An indefinite strike by 1600 Alcoa workers in Western Australia that began on August 8 has entered a new stage with the start of a Fair Work Commission (FWC) hearing in which the company is seeking to terminate the existing enterprise agreement. If the company's move is successful, workers at the multi-billion dollar company’s aluminium refineries and bauxite mines would be forced onto an inferior agreement that offers no job security and a possible wage cut of up to 50%.

Call of the Reed Warbler: A New Agriculture, A New Earth
By Charles Massy
University of Queensland Press, 2017
592, paperback

In Call of the Reed Warbler: A New Agriculture, A New Earth, Monaro farmer Charles Massy has written an excellent book on agricultural change to restore the environment.

Massy talks about his transformation from a land degrader to a land regenerator, and the inspiration he received from dozens of other Australian farmers who have done the same.

2028
By Ken Saunders
Allen & Unwin, 2018
$29.99

This satirical novel is set in Australia’s near future and revolves around an accident-prone Liberal Prime Minister running a hopeless election campaign.  

The setting is near enough to be uncomfortably recognisable but allows Ken Saunders to stretch out today’s neo-liberal realities to the point of absurdity. 

Australian artists are joining the more than 140 international artists in the call for a boycott of Eurovision 2019 if it goes ahead in Israel next May, says BDS Australia.

Inspired by the conscientious artists who refused to perform in apartheid South Africa in the 1980s, Palestinian artists and cultural groups have called for non-violent pressure in the form of boycotts on Israel until it complies with its obligations under international law.

An estimated 7000 childcare workers took industrial action by walking off the job around Australia on September 5 to demand equal pay.

Comedian and radio personality Wendy Harmer tweeted recently about a dinner experience she had: “Had my Liberal-voting friends over last night who are adamant the Govt. should nationalise the banks — same position as espoused by Green Left Weekly. Weren't best pleased when I pointed this out. Fun debate :)” 

It’s no surprise people are drawing this conclusion, as more revelations from the banking royal commission show just how much the banks have screwed over customers in the name of profits.

On September 13, Micah Weekes, once a coal miner and now an anti-coal activist stopped a coal train heading into the world’s largest coal port in Newcastle.

A former scaffolder from the Central Coast, Weekes worked in the coal industry for nearly 10 years. He said he was taking action because of the coal industry’s toxic impact on people’s health.

“You don’t have to work in the industry to get sick from this. My kids are going to get sick. It’s already happening. People in my community have reoccurring respiratory illnesses, cancers and tumours.”

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