Australia

Federal Labor MP Anna Burke captured the Gillard government’s increasingly right-wing refugee policy when she said plans to reopen the Manus Island detention centre in Papua New Guinea would be “going back to something we said we wouldn’t do, which is the Pacific solution”. Burke told ABC news on August 15 she had raised concerns in caucus about an overseas detention centre as well as the “Malaysia solution”, which faces a legal challenge in the High Court and could also be subject to a parliamentary inquiry.
The following message was received by Indymedia from within Curtin Detention Centre with a request that it posted on the site. Please circulate this cry for help and solidarity amongst your networks. * * *
Australian Marriage Equality released the statement below on August 16. * * * Christian leaders join campaign for equality. A national opinion poll has found a majority of Australian Christians believe same-sex couples should be allowed to marry and several mainstream Christian ministers have spoken out in favour of the reform.
Putty valley residents organising against coal seam gas mining in their community, about 150 kilometres northwest of Sydney, released the statement below on August 15. It first appeared on the Putty Gasbag blog. * * * About 50 people were at a protest against coal seam gas on a private property on Putty Road on Sunday August 14. The ABC chopper landed in the paddock to the cheers of the placard-waving crowd.
A group of about 50 protesters chanted “No coal seam gas! No fracking way!” outside the Queensland Gas Conference at the Brisbane Convention Centre on August 17. The rally, which coincided with “People's Day” at the Ekka (the Brisbane Exhibition Show Day), was organised by the Stop CSG Brisbane Committee. It indicated the strong public opposition to the threat the expanding coal seam gas industry poses to land, water and the environment.
Video footage and photos of the unfurling of the giant "Enough Is Enough: Stop Coal & Gas Expansion" banner by two activists who abseiled down the front of the hotel where mining company executives were meeting to plan the wholesale exploitation of NSW even at the cost of communities and the environment. This was the highlight of a protest organised by Lock The Gate, an alliance of urban and rural groups opposing coal seam gas mining.
In an exciting development in the South Australian climate action scene, a range of groups have united to campaign for Australia’s first concentrated solar thermal power plants in Port Augusta, about four hours north of Adelaide. The Adelaide Moving Planet Organising Collective includes representatives from the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, the Conservation Council of South Australia, the Climate Emergency Network of South Australia, the Young Greens, the Socialist Alliance and Resistance.
The Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney released the statement below on August 15. * * * The Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney (STICS) has welcomed the release last week of The Land Holds Us, a report by Amnesty International. The report recommends the provision of government support and services for all Aboriginal Homelands and documents gross neglect and under-funding.
Fourteen Australian-based Palestine solidarity groups released the statement below on August 13. * * * We the undersigned call on the Victorian Consumer Affairs Minister Michael O'Brien to withdraw allegations he made singling out several pro-Palestine advocacy groups* calling for them to be investigated by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) for an alleged suspicion that they may be involved in “secondary boycotts” against Israeli-owned businesses in Australia. See also:
The dilemma facing journalists in Australia today was addressed by Philip Castle, a veteran journalist for more than 30 years and Griffith University academic, at a public forum sponsored by Green Left Weekly at the Brisbane Activist Centre on August 9. The forum, titled “Murdoch vs Assange: Media corruption versus the truth”, also heard from Jim McIlroy, a long-time correspondent for GLW.

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