Kerry Smith

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.

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.

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.

“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.

On November 17 the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) claimed that workers’ occupational health and safety rights have been cut by PM John Howard’s government. Changes to the federal OHS act mean that employers, both public- and private-sector, will no longer have to include unions in OHS consultations.

“A visit by US officials has raised fears on Christmas Island that an immigration detention centre could be turned into a Guantanamo-style prison”, the November 17 Melbourne Age reported.

On November 10, the Federal Court ordered the reinstatement on full pay and conditions of two retrenched National Union of Workers (NUW) delegates because their employer was unable to prove that its decision to dismiss them was unrelated to their union activities.

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