Australia

Below is the Resistance Action Plan, which was adopted by delegates at the Resistance national conference held in Sydney over May 6-8. * * * Resistance is Australia’s only socialist, feminist, social justice, environmental, revolutionary youth organisation. We seek to organise young people to fight the injustices we see in the world, from war and poverty, to environmental destruction and discrimination against minority groups.
The Illawarra community plans to take action on May 29 to press their case for a moratorium on coal seam gas mining in the area. A mass human sign to spell the words “Stop Coal Seam Gas!” is organised at 11am that day on Austinmer beach, north of Wollongong. The organiser, Stop CSG Illawarra, is confident of a large turnout. The group’s regular organising meetings have attracted 100 or more people. The group has letterboxed 30,000 leaflets publicising the event and outlining the dangers of coal seam gas.
The illegal eavesdropping on famous people by the Rupert Murdoch-owned British tabloid News of the World is said to be Murdoch’s Watergate. But is it the crime by which Murdoch ought to be known? In his native land, Australia, Murdoch controls 70% of the capital city press. Australia is the world’s first “murdochracy”, in which smear by media is power. The most enduring and insidious Murdoch campaign has been against the Aboriginal people, who were dispossessed by the arrival of the British in the late 18th century and have never been allowed to recover.
In 2007, it was all about Kevin Rudd. Well … not so much the man, but the campaign slogan. Kevin07 was streamed from the rooftops, plastered on ALP propaganda and adorned the T-shirts of young and old alike. It was a brilliant, fresh campaign. But the joy was not to last. Three years later, the bandwagon that everyone had so merrily jumped upon had lost its wheels, its driver demoted and dejected. The campaign was just that, a campaign. Right for the time, but ultimately short on distance.
Despite some targeted increases in funding in the area of health and disability, the Labor government’s 2011 budget leaves Australians worse off. The increased funding for mental health has been widely welcomed and is a result of a long, concerted public campaign. Over five years, $2.2 billion in mental health spending was identified with a focus on early intervention programs, as well as social and employment participation strategies. Multicultural organisations, however, have criticised the absence of funding for the multicultural community.
Three Australian activists will take part in the Freedom Flotilla 2, the successor to the first Freedom Flotilla to Gaza in May 2010 that was brutally attacked in international waters by Israeli commandos. Green Left Weekly’s Pip Hinman asked former NSW Greens parliamentarian Sylvia Hale why she has joined the Australian contingent on the flotilla. * * *
“No trade with apartheid Israel” was the main theme of a protest outside the “Water Solutions for the Coal Seam Gas Industry Breakfast”, held at Brisbane's Sofitel Hotel on May 18. A trade delegation from Israel was hosted at the breakfast, sponsored by the Australian Israel Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland. The protest, organised by Justice for Palestine Brisbane, attracted about 20 people who held placards supporting Palestinian rights and calling for Australia to impose economic sanctions against Israel.
In its point-scoring endeavour to restore the budget to a surplus by 2012-13, Julia Gillard’s Labor government has decided to target the most vulnerable and needy in society. Instead of targeting the high end of town and the corporate elite a punitive approach was chosen. The budget deficit for 2011-12 is estimated to be $22.6 billion or 1.5% of gross domestic product. This compares with an estimated $49.4 billion deficit in this financial year, 2010-11. The budget is expected to return to surplus by $3.5 bilion in 2012-13.
The Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network released this below statement on May 20. Visit http://dassan.wordpress.com/ * * * Members of the Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network have learnt that two asylum seekers at the Northern Immigration Detention Centre in Darwin attempted suicide on Wednesday May 18. The men cut their wrists and one was taken to Royal Darwin Hospital for treatment.
With the federal government blatantly refusing to even utter the words “equal pay”, the need for grassroots initiative and action is vital in achieving these reforms for women workers. Pay Justice Action is a collective focused on campaigning for equal pay for women, as well as demanding the abolition of youth wages and the scrapping of the basics card, which was part of the NT Intervention. See also: Court says yes to equal pay, but fight not over

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