Australia

The Greens were the major beneficiaries of the swing to the left in many councils across NSW at the September 13 elections, probably taking their representation to more than 70 for the first time. Independents and other progressive tickets, including the Socialist Alliance, also made gains.

Max Phillips, a newly elected Greens councillor in Marrickville and the Greens’ campaign coordinator for the September 13 NSW local government elections, puts the swing to the Greens down to the state Labor government’s implosion.

This article is based on a speech to a rally against Gunns’ proposed pulp mill, in Launceston on August 23. It was delivered by Stef Gebbi and Gabby Forward on behalf of Students Against the Pulp Mill.

People in Australia are being urged to pressure the federal parliament to pass a resolution calling on the Japanese government to apologise and provide compensation to the “comfort women” of World War Two.

The dumping or resignation of half a dozen ministers from the NSW Labor government over the last fortnight — brought on by internal warfare over the cabinet’s refusal to scrap its electricity privatisation plan — has still not convinced the new premier and ALP power-brokers to drop the plan altogether.

Less than a week after declaring that “the soap opera is over” in New South Wales politics, new Premier Nathan Rees had to sack his police minister of three days, Matt Brown, for allegedly drunkenly “mounting the chest” of Wollongong MP Noreen Hay in a “dirty dancing” party in Parliament House during the June budget session of parliament.

Thirty people gathered at the Governor of Hindmarsh Hotel for the second Politics in the Pub hosted by the Socialist Alliance on September 11. The topic — “Can we solve the water crisis?” — was addressed by Peter Laffan, chair of the Save our Gulf Coalition, and Bernie Laidlaw of the Socialist Alliance.

Women seeking a termination of their pregnancy during the second trimester, and beyond, may be denied access to Medicare funding if Tasmanian Senator Guy Barnett is successful in his bid to axe funding for abortions after the 14th week of pregnancy. Currently, women seeking an abortion are covered under the Medicare scheme up until 26 weeks of pregnancy.

The Stop the Eastern Terminal Substation (SETS) Action Group, in the Perth Hills area, is an outstanding example of what can be achieved by community-based action groups.

“There needs to be action in this country. People like yourselves can make it happen”, Palm Island Aboriginal leader Lex Wotton, who is facing a jail sentence of 10 years, told a public meeting at the Queensland University of Technology on September 10.

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