Pip Hinman

In a display of non-partisanship, Marrickville Council put the community first by voting unanimously to lock the gate on coal seam gas (CSG) mining on May 8. Local stop coal seam gas activists urged councillors to prohibit a private waste disposal and recycling company — Alexandria Landfill — from being allowed to sub-contract its site in St Peters to a CSG miner for exploration and pilot drilling.
Allan Rees, spokesperson for the No Aircraft Noise (NAN) party, believes that the site south of Wilton must be assessed as a replacement airport for Sydney. “This is the only way to end the growing noise nightmare for 100,000 people,” he said on May 9.   NAN has campaigned for decades to get the Sydney airport moved out of the city on the grounds of its detrimental health and environmental impacts.
Campaigners against the mining companies’ push to open up the Kimberley region in WA to vast gas and mineral exploitation told a public meeting on April 19 that this was the “Franklin Dam campaign of our time”. The forum “Saving the Kimberley: Our Land or Gasland?” was organised by Stop Coal Seam Gas, Sydney.
Prime minister Julia Gillard’s April 17 speech on Afghanistan was widely heralded as a change of policy. It is and it isn’t. It does set out a schedule for a partial withdrawal of troops — thereby bringing Australia belatedly into line with the US drawdown of troops by 2014. But it also affirms that Australia, like the US, will not withdraw all its troops.
“You have to put more pressure on your government to allow Afghans to decide their own future,” Afghan democracy activist and former MP Malalai Joya told a 150-strong public forum on April 11. “No nation can liberate another nation,” Joya said. “Ten years of war should have made this clear. It's better the troops leave.”
The massacre of 16 people in the Panjwai District of Kandahar province in Afghanistan on March 11 re-ignited widespread calls, inside and outside Afghanistan, for Western forces to leave. US army spin has not quelled anger or questions over how the massacre took place, who was involved and how to deal with those responsible. Witnesses say US army staff sergeant Robert Bales, along with 15-20 others, went on a rampage — sexually assaulting, then massacring and burning mainly women and children from the remote farming villages of Najeeban and Alkozai.
The Socialist Alliance released the statement below on March 8. * * * This International Women’s Day, on March 8, falls at a time when the environmental and economic crises of global capitalism are making life even harder for most women and the communities they live and work in.
After a year of ferocious debate, the New South Wales Greens decided on December 4 to retreat from supporting the global pro-Palestine Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. It does not mean the NSW Green Party has abandoned all support for the Palestinian struggle for justice, but it marks a setback for the left inside the Greens and the pro-Palestine movement in Australia.
“Gillard and Abbott fly in and out of Afghanistan under heavy protection from harm. Both curry political advantage from the khaki vote. The rest of us see young Ozzie lives ripped apart without any obvious gain to ordinary Afghans. Let the pollies go and fight their own useless war …” “Dan51” from Sydney, who made this comment under a November 22 Sydney Morning Herald article, is part of the majority (64% in the November 21 Essential Poll or 72% according to Roy Morgan), who want Australian soldiers out of Afghanistan.
On the eve of US President Barack Obama’s visit to mark 60 years of the ANZUS military alliance, PM Julia Gillard is not convincing people that Australia must “stay the course” in Afghanistan. A November 4 Roy Morgan poll, taken six days after an Afghan army trainee killed three Australian soldiers and wounded seven, said 72% of people want troops out, the biggest opposition since the war began 10 years ago. Supporters of the pro-war parties polled closely: 69% of ALP voters and 67% of Liberal-National Party voters want troops out. Among Greens supporters, the figure is 80%.


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