Kerry Smith

“Looking at racism and denial in Australia — do we have zero tolerance, or is it zero acknowledgement of racism?” Race Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes asked this question in an August 9 address to the National Press Club in Canberra.
Residents from the Putty Valley, 150 kilometres northwest of Sydney, are outraged at the news that coal seam gas drilling will begin in their rural community on August 15. An August 10 statement on the Putty Gasbag website said residents heard about the drilling start date only after a local resident called mining company Dart Energy about a different matter.
Organisers of the 2011 Human Rights Arts and Film Festival (HRAFF) have informed Melbourne visual artist Van Thanh Rudd that his artwork titled Pop Goes the System, which depicts global pop icon Justin Bieber supporting Palestinian human rights, will be banned from this year’s festival.
The chief operating officer for Apex Energy NL, Chris Rogers, contacted Stop CSG Illawarra on April 5. He accused the group, which is campaigning against coal seam gas (CSG) projects in the region, of publishing two inaccuracies on its website: that drilling had already commenced and that CSG’s contribution to global warming is equally as bad, if not worse, than coal.
Aboriginal elders at Muckaty, 120 kilometres north of Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory, have called for a weekend of protest in Tennant Creek on May 7 and 8 against the federal government’s plan to build a radioactive waste dump in the area. Traditional owners Dianne Stokes, Mark Chungaloo, Mark Lane and Bunny Naburula said on April 22: “We are the traditional owners of the Muckaty Land Trust, where the government is trying to put a radioactive waste dump.
Steel manufacturer BlueScope is exaggerating the impact of a carbon price said the April 9 Sydney Morning Herald. “Last month BlueScope said a carbon price of $25 a tonne would wipe $300 million to $400 million off its bottom line but analysts at Deutsche Bank quickly pointed out that ignored compensation," SMH journalist Paddy Manning said. “Based on BlueScope's 2009-10 emissions of 12.2 million tonnes, they calculated the company's carbon liability in 2012-13 would be about $30.5 million, or 7.4% of its forecasts for the company's net profit after tax."
Activists from the Huon Valley Environment Centre (HVEC) and Still Wild Still Threatened returned to the Picton Valley on April 7 to launch a 10-week campaign to protest the logging of Tasmania’s old growth forests. Police broke up a similar protest in the Picton Valley on February 18, in which two HVEC protesters were arrested. HVEC’s Jenny Weber said on April 7 that the groups’ campaign is “aimed at promoting the benefits to both the community and the environment that will be delivered when native forests are given full and formal legislated protection.
Transport Workers Union national secretary, Tony Sheldon, has condemned Qantas’s training of overseas strikebreakers after the company’s chief executive, Alan Joyce, admitted to the practice in media reports. Sheldon said in an April 5 media release: “They really need to come clean on who they are training, who is doing the training and why it has to be done in secret in another country? Why are they hiding it around the other side of the world?
The Australian Nursing Federation (ANF) issued a statement on March 29 calling for the immediate release of five West Papuan nurses who have been arrested and jailed by the Indonesian government for taking part in industrial action. Eight nurses and midwives were detained on March 20 by the criminal investigation unit of the Papuan police in Jayapura, ANF acting federal secretary Yvonne Chaperon said. Five remain in jail.
The Socialist Alliance condemned the recent decision by federal environment minister Tony Burke to give final approval to Gunns' Tamar Valley pulp mill, located near Launceston, in a March 24 statement. Socialist Alliance spokesperson Susan Austin said: “We could never support the Gunns pulp mill in the Tamar Valley , due to the corrupt nature with which it was approved. “In addition, we oppose it because of its likely toxic effects on the environment and the community.”

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