Australia

As the world watched the Egyptian people overthrow the hated dictator Hosni Mubarak earlier this year, there would have been many who asked themselves: Could it happen in my country too? Some did more than wonder, they took to the streets and tried to “walk like an Egyptian” and a wave of people’s power began to sweep the Arab world. But this wave of revolt didn’t stop there. There were powerful reverberations in Spain, Israel, Malaysia and even in the United States, the world’s richest country.
Workers in the Department of Immigration and Citizenship have won pay rises of about 11% over three years. Management initially offered only 9%, but conceded bigger rises following a 65% “no” vote to the offer in a staff ballot. Members of the Community and Public Sector Union had threatened industrial action over the issue. By contrast, Australian Taxation Office (ATO) management has so far refused to go beyond its original offer of 9% over three years.
More than 500 people gathered in Melbourne over September 30 to October 3 to take part in four days of stimulating talks and discussion at the second Climate Change Social Change conference. The conference, which featured five plenary sessions, 39 workshops and more than 90 speakers, was organised by Green Left Weekly, Socialist Alliance and Resistance.
NSW education minister Adrian Piccol has announced a process of “community consultation on the reform of TAFE and the vocational education and training sector in NSW”. The NSW Liberal government plans to repeat its Victorian counterpart’s attacks on public education and further privatise vocational education. The government plans to encourage private colleges and universities to undercut TAFE providers. It will offer a publicly-funded student voucher system to achieve this.
As part of its attacks on the NSW public sector, the O’Farrell Liberal government will begin charging parents up to $40 a day for each child they send to the once-free public preschools run by the Department of Education and Community Services (DEC). The fees will be introduced next year to the 100 DEC preschools across NSW. These preschools were established to improve the educational opportunities for students in poor socio-economic areas, including communities that may be isolated, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Dr Aunty Ruby Langford Ginibi, one of Australia’s foremost Aboriginal authors, passed away on October 2 in a Sydney nursing home. Through her numerous books, short stories, poetry, interviews and public appearances and her commitment to “edu-ma-cating” non-Aboriginal people about Indigenous peoples’ circumstances and struggle, she made a distinctive and substantial contribution to Australian history and literature. Her books were studied in high schools and universities in Australia and internationally.
Hazara asylum seekers inside Darwin detention centre released the statement below to explain the aims of their recent protest. * * * We the Hazara Afghan asylum seekers held a peaceful protest in Darwin detention centre with number of 100 asylum seekers on September 24. We strongly condemn the act of target killings of Hazaras in Pakistan and Afghanistan and we pass our condolences to those grieved families.
Australia, at least for me, is a paradox. As Dorothy McKellar famously wrote, “I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains, of rugged mountain ranges and droughts and flooding rains”. The extremes in our landscape and our weather seem to have been etched into our national psyche as well, which is something I’ve never quite understood.
Mining company ECI International has “submitted a surrender request” to the state government for its coal and gas exploration licence covering 500 square kilometers — including the town of Colac and a large region of the Otway Ranges — said the October 7 Colac Herald. This is the second coal exploration venture in the area that has withdrawn after Mantle Mining pulled out of its project in the Deans Marsh area. The withdrawal occurs less than two weeks after 100 residents packed a hall at Forrest, in the Otway Ranges, to organise opposition to the project.
More than 29 Hazaras traveling on a bus near Quetta, Pakistan, were separated from other passengers and executed by Islamic fundamentalists on September 20. This was the third time Hazaras have been attacked in a month. After hearing the news, more than 400 Hazara asylum seekers in Curtin detention centre protested the killings near the centre’s administration building on September 21. The protest was to alert the immigration department of the situation Hazaras face in Pakistan.

Pages

Subscribe to Australia