Australia

An article published by Socialist Alternative titled “Jill Meagher, Reclaim the Night and the political right” on November 22 said: “The horrible rape and murder of Brunswick woman Jill Meagher has been successfully used by the media and authorities to promote a right wing political agenda.
Around Australia, proponents of neoliberalism have led attacks on tertiary education an ideological onslaught against the idea of well-funded public education.   In July, Fred Hilmer, vice-chancellor of UNSW and chair of the Group of 8 Universities, a coalition of university managements, called for total fee deregulation and “cutting red tape”.  
Anti-uranium activists staged an action at the Perth headquarters of mining company Toro to coincide with its November 28 annual general meeting in Adelaide. The company is trying to build WA's first uranium mine (Wiluna) against the wishes of the majority of West Australians. Activists gave the company a practical demonstration about how hard it is to clean up after a nuclear accident by attempting to clean up yellow cake in the company office.
Two spectacular banner drops on Sydney's Darling Harbour Convention Centre exposed some of the "dirty deeds" of the world's biggest mining company, BHP Billiton. Environmentalists and Aboriginal rights supporters rallied outside the company’s annual general meeting on November 29 to highlight the billions of dollars profit BHP makes annually from the dirty energy sector, inclduing uranium, coal, oil and coal seam gas.
Federal independent MPs, Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott, have put pressure on the Julia Gillard's government to raise the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and to slash so called “middle class welfare” entitlements.
It's just about impossible to watch a commercial TV channel anywhere in Australia without being assaulted by slick mining company ads telling us how good they supposedly are for the community. Incredible amounts of money are being spent on these brainwashing campaigns. One set of these advertisements more specifically targets communities that are resisting the onslaught of the coal seam gas (CSG) miners, particularly in precious water catchment areas and prime food producing regions. These ads are often more targeted in their messaging, but they have been caught out lying.
Australia’s decision on November 29 to break its support for US and Israel and abstain on the vote to allow Palestine observer status at the United Nations represents a win for pro-Palestine forces. Of the 193 nations in the UN General Assembly, 138 voted in favour, nine against and 41 abstentions for the resolution to change Palestine from an observer “entity” to observer “state”. The Palestinian Authority (PA) — led by Mahmoud Abbas — submitted a proposal for UN observer status last year, after it appeared the Security Council would veto a bid to become a full member state.
The mining industry in Australia has boomed from about 4% of GDP in 2004 to about 9% today. Mining exports in the year to March last year were worth $155 billion, or 53% of Australia's total exports. Mining profits in 2009-10 amounted to $51 billion, and the estimated pre-tax profits over the next 10 years will be about $600 billion.  But who is the wealth benefiting and what are the costs of mining? And who makes the decisions about if, where and under what conditions mining takes place, and how the wealth is distributed?
Some environmentalists have justified their support for the forest peace deal — passed by Tasmania’s Legislative Assembly on November 23 — on the grounds of not letting “perfect” become the “enemy of good”. But a closer look at the details of the deal, which will allow the logging of native forests for another generation, makes clear it cannot even be called “good”.
Local campaign group Illawarra Residents for Responsible Mining (IRRM) have been told to pay $40,000 before their case challenging the expansion of a coal mine will be heard in the Land and Environment Court. Coal-mining company Gujarat are seeking approval to expand their coal mine in the residential area of Russell Vale, a suburb of Wollongong. The expansion will mean the company will mine seven times more coal a year compared to current levels, increasing the output to 3 million tonnes a year.
Hunger-striking refugee 35-year-old Omid Sorousheh's desperate plea to be recognised as a refugee in Australia has been treated with contempt by immigration minister Chris Bowen, despite clear indications that he was close to death. Omid has been on a hunger strike for 50 days on November 30. That day it was reported he had been finally airlifted from Nauru and returned to Australia.
Green Left Weekly has been flooded with pleas for help and support from several men on hunger strike in the Nauru detention camp. The two letters below are from 35-year-old Iranian Omid Sorousheh, who has been refusing food the longest, and Amin, who was on his fifth day of hunger strike on November 26.   Both men say they will refuse medical treatment until Australia accepts they have a right to asylum.   ***   Dying asylum seeker sends plea to world