Kelly Ryan

About 300 people turned out for a free outdoor film screening of the award-winning US documentary Gasland in Sydney Park on February 5.

The screening was supported by the City of Sydney and Palace Cinemas, and was organised by Sydney Residents Against Coal Seam Gas, a community group established to oppose plans for exploratory gas drilling in the inner-west suburb of St Peters.

UPDATE: The media are reporting a second day of large anti-government protests. The regime has cracked down, with reports of at least 500 people arrested across the country.

See also:
Tunisia: People's power ousts dictator
Tunisia: Arab rulers shake in fear

“WikiLeaks has had more scoops in three years than the Washington Post has had in 30.” — Clay Shirky

It is for this reason that Wikileaks has become an incredibly important news source, with its commitment to provide the public with information that is deliberately withheld by governments and corporations, and to expose corruption.

Its recent release of classified diplomatic cables revealing what our governments are really talking about behind closed doors has created a great divide in public opinion about just how much we, the people, really have a right to know.

When it comes to rape, the left “still doesn’t get it”, so says Katha Pollitt writing recently in the London Guardian on the defence of Wikileaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange, who is currently being held in Britain facing allegations of sex crimes in Sweden.

Supporters of whistleblowing website Wikileaks rallied in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide on December 14, as Wikileaks editor-in chief Julian Assange faced a bail hearing at Westminster magistrates court in London that day. Protesters opposed attempts by governments and corporations to shut down and harrass the site.

About 800 people gathered in Sydney to call for Assange to be granted a fair trial and to defend Wikileaks. About 1000 marched in Melbourne and 300 in Adelaide.

Further rallies and meetings

More than 1000 people rallied at Sydney’s Town Hall at 1pm on December 10 to show their support for Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange. Rallies also occurred in Brisbane, Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide and Perth.

The rally, held to coincide with International Human Rights Day, highlighted the importance of freedom of information and the need for transparency in government.

The gas industry is rapidly increasing its scope in the Australian energy market as, state and federal government approve drilling sites across the nation with little community consultation and relaxed environmental safeguards.

Natural gas will account for 33% of Australia's primary energy consumption by 2030, compared with 8% from renewables, according to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE).

Natural gas is a finite resource. Once it is depleted, it cannot be renewed. It is extracted from coal beds and consists primarily of methane. Methane is 72 times worse than carbon dioxide — the most well-known carbon pollutant — as a greenhouse gas.

The City of Sydney plans to use natural gas as the primary fuel to transition away from coal-fired electricity towards low-carbon energy by using a method of energy production known as trigeneration.

One of Australia’s richest men, mining magnate Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest, used Australian television on October 24 to send an address to the nation about his “Generation One” campaign, which aims to “close the gap” between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

I don’t have any air-time, but I do have page space. This is my address to Twiggy.

* * *
Dear Mr Forrest,

I think we have something in common (yes, I’m surprised too).

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