Australia

The West Papua Freedom Flotilla released this statement on September 25. *** Six West Papuans have fled across the border to Australia after being hunted by Indonesian authorities for taking part in a ceremonial handover of sacred water and ashes from Australian Aboriginal elders. They have been detained by Australian immigration after reaching Boigu Island in Australia on September 24.
The infamous front page of Rupert Murdoch's Daily Telegraph on August 5, screaming “KICK THIS MOB OUT” in reference to Kevin Rudd's Labor government, reminded many of the role the media play in politics.
NSW parliament narrowly voted down a September 17 motion to discipline Liberal MLC Peter Phelps over comments he made in parliament defending General Augusto Pinochet’s violent military coup against Chile’s president Salvador Allende in 1973. Members of the Chilean community have vowed to continue the campaign to hold Phelps to account for his outrageous comments. On September 11, 40 years to the day of the coup, Phelps praised Pinochet as “a reluctant hero, a morally courageous man” and said he supported a military coup that deposed a democratically elected government. ***
About 1000 protesters marched through the streets of Melbourne on September 21, in opposition to the Coalition government’s attacks on refugees. It was the first refugee rights rally since the election of Prime Minister Tony Abbott. The rally heard from several speakers, including Bishop Philip Huggins, from the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne, Ingrid Stitt from the Australian Services Union, Janet Rice, newly elected Greens Senator for Victoria, and Karen Jones from the Refugee Action Collective.
Large stop-work rallies were held across Western Australia on September 19 to fight the Liberal state government’s education cuts. About 15,000 people attended the rally in Perth and another 5000 attended stop-work meetings across regional WA, including 2000 in Bunbury, 500 in Albany, 520 in Pinjarra and 200 in Port Hedland. Even small schools in the remote north-west of the state took part. A total of 62 schools were shut down for the morning.
The death of a young man from a suspected drug overdose at a dance music festival in Sydney on September 14 showed not just how inadequate prohibition is at dealing with drugs, but how it also unnecessarily risks lives. Defqon.1 is an annual music festival featuring hardstyle electronic dance music. It takes place in the Netherlands and Australia at different times each year. Each festival has its own anthem or theme song; the anthem for this year's Australian festival was “Scrap the System”.
A media campaign began this month to discredit the findings of the fifth major report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), due to be released on September 27. The Australian published a front page story on September 16 headlined: “We got it wrong on warming, says IPCC”.
Liberal PM Tony Abbott can't abolish the truth, but he is trying. Whether it is his new government's attempt to keep refugee boat arrivals secret or the abolition of the Climate Commission, Abbott has moved quickly to keep the public in the dark. Former Climate Commissioner Tim Flannery warned after the commission was disbanded: "As global action on climate change deepens, propaganda aimed at misinforming the public about climate change, and so blunting any action, increases."

Sam Wainwright and Margarita Windisch stood for the Socialist Alliance in the federal election in the seat of Fremantle in Western Australia and Wills in Victoria, respectively. Green Left Weekly spoke to them about their campaigns. *** What were some of the highlights of your election campaign?

It has been 30 years since the death in custody of 16-year-old Yindjibarndi youth John Pat after he was assaulted by five off-duty police officers in Roebourne, Western Australia. John Pat’s murder, and the subsequent acquittal of the five police, started the movement against black deaths in custody. That movement was built from the anger of ordinary people when, again and again, someone died or was murdered in custody, leaving their distraught relatives struggling to find answers.
Members of Sydney's Chilean community and supporters protested outside New South Wales Parliament on September 16 to demand Premier Barry O'Farrel sack Liberal MP Peter Phelps.
"Over the past 20 years since the Oslo Accords were signed, we have seen the continued reduction of Palestinian sovereignty over their legitimate territory,” Richard Falk told a forum at Sydney University on September 19. “Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and elsewhere are consigned to a permanent never-never land. The oppression of the Palestinians by Israel over the past decades is one of the most unspeakable denials of human rights in the world today.” Falk is the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights, and a leading legal academic from the US.