Patrick Harrison

The University of Sydney Student Representative Council (SRC) has condemned university management’s plans to “dismantle” the Koori Centre, which has supported Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students at the university since 1989. The Koori Centre also coordinates the teaching of Indigenous Studies. The university says the Koori Centre’s functions will be incorporated into a broader “Centre for Cultural Competencies”. Management has assured staff no jobs will be lost in the process, but many students and staff feel that have been inadequately consulted about the changes.
As semester two begins at the University of Sydney, it’s worth reflecting on what student activists have learned so far in our campaigns this year. We've learned that our university is being managed in line with the profits-first agenda of the 1% that run the government and the economy. We've learned that under Vice-Chancellor Michael Spence, corporate research partners and “good economic management” take priority over students, staff and society.
Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate for Egypt's presidential elections, was sworn into office on June 30. But confirmation of Morsi's win was overshadowed by protests and sit-ins at Cairo's Tahrir Square and around the country. Protesters are demanding the elected parliament be restored and extra constitutional powers the ruling junta has granted itself be rescinded. The electoral comission announced on June 24 that Morsi had beaten old-regime candidate Ahmed Shafiq in the June 16 and 17 poll with 51.7% of the vote.
Official results were yet to be announced on June 24, but it appears Muhammad Morsi, the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood (MB) candidate, has won the second round of Egypt's presidential elections, held over June 16 and 17. The election took place amid huge protests in Tahrir Square and around the country against moves by the ruling Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) to dissolve Egypt's elected parliament.
Austin Mackell, an Australian journalist based in Cairo who has reported on the Egyptian revolution, speaks about his arrest by the regime, and Egyptian politics around the elections. He spoke just prior to the run-off election, in which the Muslim Brotherhood claimed victory but the military council dissolved parliament in what activists are calling a coup.
Egypt's second-round presidential elections between ex-regime figure Ahmed Shafiq and Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi will go ahead after the High Constitutional Court (HCC) ruled on June 14 that Shafiq's candidacy was constitutional. The ruling declared that the Political Disenfanchisement Law, which barred ex-members of Mubarak's National Democratic Party (NDP) from holding high government offices, was unconstitional.
Austin Mackell is an Australian journalist based in Cairo who reports on Egyptian politics, the labour movement and life on the street. In February, he was arrested in Mahalla el-Kubra while reporting on an attempted general strike. He spoke to Green Left Weekly's Patrick Harrison. A longer version of this interview can be found on here. * * *
The rhetoric from Tunisia's interim government, led by the Islamist party Ennahda (the Renaissance), as well as the financial establishment, is that the old regime is gone. What is needed now, they say, is stability and the restoration of economic growth to complete the transition to democracy. International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde said on April 2: "Investors and the population at large need to regain confidence in the future of the economy, to look beyond the short-term difficulties and provide the foundations for a rebound of the Tunisian economy."
Students and staff at the University of Sydney ramped up the campaign against management's proposed staff cuts last week, after management ignored a deadline set by the rally and occupation on April 4 to withdraw the cuts by the end of the Easter break. Four hundred students rallied on the university's front lawns on April 24. Students from more than eight classes walked out to join the rally. In one case, a lecturer emailed her students in advance to tell them to walk out of their class and join the protest.
The Australian system of mandatory detention for refugees is not, contrary to official government rhetoric, based on a policy of security. Rather, it is based on an age-old policy of demeaning and scapegoating foreigners. Under international law, Australia is obliged to respect the right of refugees and settle them if they face genuine persecution, regardless of how they arrive in Australia or whether they have identification. But the policy of mandatory detention for asylum seekers subverts these rights.


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