Australia

A Green Left Weekly Culture of Resistance dinner, taking place in Sydney’s west on May 28, will pay homage to the people's power movements in the Arab world. Each succulent dish served will be from a country in revolt, and speakers at the frontline from Egypt, Palestine and from Jews Against the Occupation will address the event. Revolutionary Arabic band, Al-Salam (which means peace in Arabic) will perform on the night. Band member Samir Maarbani said: “Al-Salam is a group established during the Lebanese civil war in 1981 and has expanded into all kinds of musical arts.
In the lead up to the March 26 New South Wales state election, a concerted anti-Greens campaign was unleashed by the major parties and the corporate media. Despite this, Greens candidate and mayor of Leichhardt Jamie Parker won the seat of Balmain. Green Left Weekly’s Kiraz Janicke spoke to Parker about the campaign and the Greens’ agenda in the next period. Congratulations on being the first ever lower house Greens MP elected to the NSW parliament. Could you comment on the significance of this victory?
“What changed in Palestine between December and April that made you change your mind?” yelled someone in the crowd, as the April 19 Marrickville Council meeting voted to overturn its previously stated support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against apartheid Israel. Despite many others asking similar questions, none of the councillors that had voted in favour for the December 14 motion answered this simple question.
"This is the battle for the end of the fossil fuel industry. This is the end game," Lock the Gate Alliance campaigner Drew Hutton told a forum, titled, Australia's Gas Rush: The race to save our farmland and the Great Artesian Basin, on April 14 in Brisbane. The forum, sponsored by Green Left Weekly, also heard from Ewan Saunders, climate campaigner and Socialist Alliance activist.
Forty activists travelled more than 30 hours on the road from Perth and arrived at the gates of the Curtin detention centre on Saturday April 23. We were greeted with legalistic warnings and numerous lies from the Serco guards, who imposed a roadblock outside the centre. More significantly, we have heard from detainees inside the centre that Serco guards have lied to them as well. Detainees had been told that the convergence bus has turned around and that activists no longer planned to visit.
About 200 people protested outside Victorian government offices on April 11 against a proposed new gas-fired power station in Victoria. Five protesters locked themselves to a stepladder inside the building. The company HRL is planning to build its power station in Victoria, and the state and federal governments have committed $150 million towards it. The rally came at the end of the National Grassroots Climate Summit in Melbourne. The protest called for funding to be put toward renewable energy instead.
Sydney's Marrickville council is coming under increasing pressure to overturn a resolution it passed in December in support of the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. NSW Liberal Premier Barry O’Farrell has threatened to use his powers under the Local Government Act to sack the council unless the resolution is overturned.
In the past few weeks, Rupert Murdoch’s News Ltd media have attacked Jewish-Australian journalist and author Antony Loewenstein over a March 30 article he wrote for the independent online news service New Matilda. The story examined to what degree the NSW Greens’ stance on Israel cost them lower house seats in the recent state election.
“Of the 339 recommendations of the royal commission into black deaths in custody handed down in 1991, the first people to receive funding were the police and prisons,” Murri community leader Sam Watson told an April 15 rally to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the commission. “The big bucks went to the cops and the jails. Aboriginal legal services and other Indigenous organisations only got the crumbs. Instead of decreasing the rate of incarceration of Aboriginal people, that rate has increased over the past 20 years in Australia." The rally and march attracted about 100 protesters.
“Coal is really dirty. Gas is pretty dirty too. It's a bit cleaner than coal,” said City of Sydney CEO Monica Barone as she explained the plan to move to gas-powered energy production at a packed community meeting at St Peters Town Hall organised by Sydney Residents Against Coal Seam Gas (SRACGS) on April 13. Barone agreed that we need to move to a low carbon economy, but said moving to a zero carbon economy, such as the plan set out by Beyond Zero Emissions, would be “enormous”.

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