Mel Barnes

The premiere of new film Radical Wollongong was held in Wollongong, NSW, on May 18. About 230 people attend the event at the Gala cinema. Film writer and co-producer John Rainford introduced the film and Aboriginal leader Mark Bloxsome gave a welcome to country.
The NSW government has suspended Metgasco’s licence to drill for gas at Bentley, near Lismore. Energy minister Anthony Roberts said on May 15: “The Office of Coal Seam Gas made the suspension on the grounds that Metgasco did not fulfil a condition of its exploration licence, namely to undertake genuine and effective consultation with the community as required.”
The election of the Tony Abbott government in September last year signalled an intensification of attacks on workers' rights, the public sector, jobs and what remains of the social wage. As the global economic situation deteriorates, the ruling class is intent on imposing widespread privatisation, outsourcing of public services, job cuts and wage cuts.
An ongoing blockade of an unconventional gas drill site in Bentley, 12 kilometres from Lismore’s CBD in NSW, has so far stopped gas company Metgasco from starting exploration in the area. This test drill will help determine whether there are commercial quantities of gas available, and if so, up to 1000 wells could potentially be drilled in the area. Hundreds of people are permanently camping on land next to the drill site, and at times numbers have swelled to 2000, as the community acts to stop heavy machinery from entering.
The Great Barrier Reef is almost certainly going to suffer permanent damage due to coral bleaching if countries do not act to reduce carbon emissions, the Fifth Assessment report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said on March 31. A lead author of the report, Chris Field, told the ABC’s 7.30: “Warm water coral reefs are one of the world's ecosystems that's most threatened and especially threatened by the combination of a warming climate and acidification of the ocean waters.”
The Liberal Party swept to victory in the Tasmanian elections on March 15, winning 14 seats of the 25 seat parliament. The Labor Party, which had governed for the past three years in coalition with the Greens, received a swing against of 9.5%. It won only six seats. The Greens were also heavily punished, losing two seats in an 8% swing against them. Party leaders Nick McKim and Cassy O’Connor managed to keep their seats. Kim Booth looks likely to be re-elected as well.
Socialist Alternative has denied allegations by the Jewish Students’ Society at the Australian National University (ANU) that members of the socialist group abused them with anti-Semitic slurs.
Coal seam gas (CSG) company Santos has admitted to polluting an aquifer in north-western NSW with uranium, the Sydney Morning Herald reported on March 8. The incident is the first recorded groundwater contamination in Australia from CSG operations.
Aboriginal footballer and Australian of the Year, Adam Goodes, has given high praise to John Pilger’s new film Utopia at the same time as condemning the mainstream media for their silence in reviewing the film or mentioning the large crowds that have come out to watch free screenings. In an http://www.theage.com.au/comment/hostility-to-john-pilgers-film-a-denial...
You can tell how good a newspaper is from the enemies it keeps. The Australian wrote a sneering dismissal of the new Saturday Paper, launched last weekend, and used its ultimate insult by comparing the new paper to Green Left Weekly, calling GLW “ignorant, moralistic and simplistic”.

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