Australia

The University of Western Sydney Student Association (UWSSA) has launched a new campaign for better quality education, with speak-outs, information stalls and open forums that are drawing many students into action.

On August 21, deputy PM Julia Gillard announced that the federal government would change how student services at universities are funded. However, there appears to be no intention to abolish the Voluntary Student Unionism (VSU) laws introduced by the former Howard government.

Students from Melbourne’s Collingwood College protested on August 21 in defence of a student who was threatened with suspension for wearing a "Free Tibet" T-shirt.

Among the crowd of some 2000 protesters in front of South Australia’s Parliament House on August 1, eco-activists in jeans and windcheaters mingled with people in Akubra hats and Driza-Bone jackets. Mentions of Labor Party Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, federal water minister Penny Wong and South Australian Premier Mike Rann drew sustained jeers.

On August 7, the Western Australian ALP government called an early election for September 6.

Are our national parks in need of a facelift to attract the tourist dollar? Should our wild places be better at catering for those wanting some luxury and pampering?

On September 9, the Victorian parliament will start debating the Abortion Law Reform Bill 2008. The bill will make abortions up to 24 weeks of gestation lawful.

On August 28, federal environment minister Peter Garrett announced the expansion of the Beverley uranium mine, situated in South Australia’s far north-east.

On August 27, outside a "Defence White Paper community consultation", Stop the War Coalition held a protest. Inside, peace activists made up about 40% of an audience of about 100.

David Spratt co-wrote Climate Code Red: The Case for Emergency Action with Philip Sutton. The book has been recently published and a review can be read in GLW #764. Spratt spoke to Green Left Weekly’s Ben Courtice about the need to move beyond “business as usual” immediately if we’re to avert climate catastrophe.

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