Australia

Sometimes the most powerful protests are those made in silence by brave individuals deciding to take a stand.

The WestConnex privatisation “involves arguably the biggest misuse of public funds for corporate gain in Australian history”, Sydney University transport analyst Chris Standen wrote on September 3.

Standen was commenting on the August 31 announcement by the New South Wales Coalition government that it was selling off 51% of the controversial WestConnex tollway complex to a Transurban-led consortium for $9.3 billion.

Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi made an impassioned plea for the big powers in the region to stop bullying small Pacific Island nations just days before the 49th Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) was held in Nauru over September 3-6.

“Crystalline silica is the new asbestos, but Australians are simply not aware of the dangers involved in working with such a common substance as compressed stone,” Victorian Trades Hall Council (VTHC) secretary Luke Hilikari said at the release of the new silica dust standard in late August.

There has been a significant rise in the number of workers suffering silicosis and lung cancers caused by inhaling silica particles while manufacturing, cutting and installing compressed stone benchtops.

Banned from entering Australia by the federal government, former United States intelligence analyst turned whistleblower Chelsea Manning instead delivered her message of hope to audiences in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane via video link.

The Australian immigration department denied Manning a visa on the basis of failing “the character test”, citing as grounds the time she spent in jail for leaking documents that exposed US war crimes in Iraq.

Environment consultancy and advocacy group Coast and Country has released damning evidence that suggests Adani acted illegally by undertaking pre-emptive work at its proposed mine site in Queensland’s Galilee Basin. 

For the final chapter in his book, Real Talk: Aboriginal Rappers Talk About Their Music And Country, Green Left Weekly's Mat Ward drives two hours south of Sydney to talk to Dobby. To find out why it's the final chapter, read on...

 

South Australia’s Liberal government gave final approval for Leigh Creek Energy to begin a three-month trial of an underground coal gasification (UCG) process, despite UCG technology being banned in other states due to its devastating impacts on the environment.

An indefinite strike by 1600 workers at Alcoa in Western Australia is set to enter its second month, after a company offer was voted down by 80% of the workforce. Alcoa’s proposed enterprise agreement would mean workers would lose job security and, in some cases, up to 50% of their pay.

After decades of successfully avoiding responsibility for the consequences of its glyphosate herbicide, Monsanto has been ordered to pay US$39 million to cancer sufferer Dewayne Johnson by a San Francisco court, writes Alan Broughton.

Monsanto was also fined $250 million. This is the first of about 8000 such cases pending in the United States. Shareholders in Bayer, the huge German chemical company that purchased Monsanto in June for $60 billion, lost 10 billion euros as a consequence.

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