Niko Leka

Public submissions to the NSW Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) over July 12 and 13 were overwhelmingly against a fourth coal terminal (T4) to be located at Kooragang Island, near Newcastle.
The Border Force Act came into force on July 1. Under this Act, people working in immigration detention centres risk two years’ jail for disclosing evidence of the horrendous, inhumane conditions in those places.
Brad Chilcott is the director of Welcome to Australia, a community organisation that, according to its Facebook page, is “dedicated to giving asylum seekers, refugees, new arrivals and long-term migrant residents of Australia a warm, dignified and positive Welcome to Australia”. An article by Chilcott entitled Possibility before Protest has appeared on Chifley.org, a website for ALP members and supporters. The article does not clarify Chilcott’s relationship with the ALP.
Albert Einstein said the purpose of socialism is to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development. Today it seems the predatory phase is here to stay. The choice between socialism or barbarism is now pressing us on all sides. Mining, for instance, pays little in taxes, but we subsidise it to $4 billion a year — and will bear its health burdens for generations to come. As former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd found when he tried to make mining companies pay reasonable taxes, it is a rogue industry.
Newcastle based group Hunter Asylum Seeker Advocacy (HASA) held a successful fundraiser for the asylum seekers who have been given so-called 'residency' on Nauru. Earlier this year one of the asylum seekers had opened up a Pakistani restaurant in Nauru. HASA asked The Love Tree Cafe in Newcastle if they could host a solidarity dinner there, following the recipes of the Pakistani restaurant. To their astonishment, The Love Tree not only agreed to do it, but did so gratis. Staff volunteered their time, and the venue and food were provided free to maximise the returns.
The Newcastle Resistance Centre was packed to capacity on August 3 to hear Shamikh Badra speak about what is happening in his home city of Gaza. Badra said his grandfather was forced from his village in 1948 and ended up in Gaza. He described the geography of the conflict, and how Israel exploits religion to cover the fact that it is occupying Palestinian land. “In 1948,” he said, “there was no Hamas, no rockets. Yet this did not stop them from invading and committing massacres.”
Long-time Socialist Alliance member Zoltan Torrey — a gentle, thoughtful, uplifting and inspiring man — died suddenly at home on January 16. He wrote two extraordinary books. Out of Darkness is his memoir. He describes his youth in Hungary when it was occupied by Nazi Germany, and his arrival in Australia post World War II.
Father Rod Bower has been the rector at the Gosford Anglican Church for 14 years. His cheeky and very direct signs on the church board have received up to 50,000 views and thousands of shares on Facebook. He spoke to Green Left Weekly's Niko Leka about joining the convergence for refugee rights in Canberra on November 18. *** What sort of responses have you had to your messages of support for asylum seekers?
A crowded forum of 200 people organised by the Stockton Community Action Group learned about the serious risks posed by a proposed ammonium nitrate storage facility at nearby Kooragang Island on September 19. The new facility is proposed by Incitic Pivot and would add 21,500 tonnes of ammonium nitrate to the 9000 tonnes already stored there by rival company Orica.
The Coal Terminal Action Group hosted a public forum on August 21, with several expert speakers opposing the proposed fourth coal loader for Newcastle, known as the “T4”. Georgina Woods, senior climate campaigner with Greenpeace Australia Pacific, said T4 was not “just another coal terminal … It is part of a long process of continual expansion that will more than double coal exports with an extra 120 million tonnes and 107 extra trains per day and destroy an internationally listed wetlands.

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