After months of pressure from apologists for apartheid Israel, eight Marrickville councillors, including two Greens councillors, voted on April 19 to rescind the Council’s near unanimous December 2010 decision to support the global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. However, an important national discussion about Australia’s responsibilities to help Palestinians win their rights has begun.
A vicious smear campaign against the Greens candidate for Marrickville Fiona Byrne in the NSW state election reveals just how worried the powers-that-be are about the prospect of the NSW Greens winning a lower house seat. This smear campaign focused almost exclusively on the Greens pro-Palestine stand, in particular their support (along with ALP councillors) for Marrickville council’s decision to sign on to the global boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel.
Coal seam gas exploration is becoming a key political issue in NSW. The Labor and Liberal parties are pushing for a huge expansion in gas mining, including coal seam gas. But farmers, regional communities and city-dwellers are becoming increasingly worried about the health and environmental consequences of the gas rush. The NSW government recently approved energy company AGL’s bid to drill 90 coal seam gas wells and build a pipeline and processing centre near Gloucester, north of Sydney.
Pip Hinman, the Socialist Alliance candidate for the NSW seat of Marrickville, spoke at a March 14 election forum at St Peters Town Hall organised by Climate Action Newtown and Sydney Residents Against Coal Seam Gas. Hinman’s responses to the three questions put to her at the meeting appear below. * * * Will your party commit to not building any more coal or gas fired power stations in NSW?
It was ironic, but only supporters of Palestine were clapping after a majority of Marrickville councillors decided on March 15 in favour of hiring a venue to a newly-formed local Jewish group that is hosting an Australian Rules Peace Team with connections to Israel. Independent councillor Victor Macri, who had put the motion, did not look at all happy.
With the betting agencies putting the Greens candidate ahead of Labor in Sydney's inner west seat of Marrickville, Labor is running scared. But rather than debate the issues, the ALP machine is doing its best to smear the Greens. At a 120-strong candidates' meeting hosted by the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre on February 23, Greens candidate and Marrickville Mayor Fiona Byrne was asked if she would agree to council “boycotting China” if asked to do so by a Tibetan constituent.
Below is the text of a speech by Pip Hinman, Socialist Alliance candidate for Marrickville in the NSW state elections, to the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre candidates meeting on February 23. *** I’d like to first acknowledge that we’re meeting on the land of the Gadigal and Wangal people of the Eora nation, and I pay my respects to their elders past and present. The two most important issues in this state election is to call a halt to the privatisations of our public assets and to immediately start a shift away from using polluting coal or gas for our energy needs.
Less than a week after Australians learned about the death of the 22nd Australian soldier killed in Afghanistan, Corporal Richard Atkinson, footage aired by Channel 7 on February 8 showed opposition leader Tony Abbott caught with his pants down. “Shit happens,” Abbott told a US general during an August visit to Afghanistan as they discussed the circumstances surrounding the death of another Australian soldier — Lance Corporal Jared MacKinney. MacKinney’s family had questioned whether the standard of the Australian Defence Force’s equipment contributed to his death.
At a packed Leichhardt Town Hall candidates meeting on February 7, education minister Verity Firth all but conceded that the Labor state government would not be returned on March 26. Firth said she was looking forward to rebuilding the ALP from the opposition benches. She was unconvincing. Firth told the meeting she joined the ALP when she was a 15-year-old idealist. “Genuine lasting change is about more than slogans,” she said. “When you’re in government you cannot just issue a press release or organise a protest rally ... because governing is far more complex.”
I do not support women being forced to wear the burqa. I see it as one manifestation of the myriad of ways women are oppressed in this patriarchal society. But I want to make it clear that I do not support a ban on the wearing of a burqa. Banning the wearing of a burqa would simply mean that the person who wears it — voluntarily or otherwise — is criminalised. It would not, as some female supporters of the ban argue, help women extricate themselves from patriarchal control over their lives.