Kerry Smith

On February 19, campaigners for the repatriation to Australia of David Hicks again demanded that the Australian parliament seeks his immediate release from the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay.
Releasing a report on mainland immigration detention centres on January 19, human rights commissioner Graeme Innes said that, while some improvements had been made, Australia’s mandatory detention laws should be repealed.
A confidential report titled Partnerships Queensland was drafted last year by the Queensland Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy. The report — which found there was an urgent need to improve the standard of living for Indigenous people and take “immediate and sustained action” — was withheld from public release before the September state election. Premier Peter Beattie’s government abolished the department after Labor’s re-election.
One year ago 43 West Papuan asylum seekers arrived in North Queensland fleeing Indonesian government oppression. Today in West Papua, the oppression continues, the Australia West Papua Association (AWPA) said in a January 18 media release.
Climate action group Rising Tide Newcastle wants the proposal for the contentious Anvil Hill mine proposal to be assessed under Commonwealth law. Apart from its impact on species and ecosystems protected under the Commonwealth environment act, Rising Tide believes that the proposed mine would impact on World Heritage areas protected under the act.
The Wilderness Society has called for more government funding and support for the Indigenous Protected Area program following the release on January 9 of an independent report that concludes that IPAs are one of the most effective initiatives in environment protection in Australia.
The decision this month by Bankstown City Council, in Sydney’s western suburbs, to cancel the venue for the January 27 Khilafah Conference “speaks volumes of the empty rhetoric surrounding the supposed noble epitomes of western liberal democracy”, said Wassim Doureihi, spokesperson for Hizb ut-Tahrir Australia, in a January 10 media statement.
The “Climate Change, Despair and Empowerment” roadshow, which will tour the east coast of Australia from January to March, is based on the highly successful “Endangered Species” roadshow organised by the Rainforest Information Centre in the run-up to the 2003 NSW state election.
“Reports from refugee advocates indicate that six people at the Baxter detention centre have attempted to end their lives in separate incidents over the last four days by hanging”, WA group Project SafeCom announced on December 12. “Some of them have also slashed themselves with broken glass and mirrors.”
Sixty-three Women Of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) members were arrested on November 29 during a peaceful launch of its People’s Charter. They were taken to Bulawayo Central Police Station. WOZA leaders Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu were among those arrested.

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