Pip Hinman

An abortion rights rally outside NSW parliament on July 31.

Abortion has finally been decriminalised in New South Wales, after decades of campaigning and nearly 40 hours of parliamentary “debate” that generated widespread anguish around what should be a basic health matter.

“The student strikes have been phenomenal — surreal at times,” Sydney high school student Chloe Russell-Alexander told Green Left Weekly reflecting on the huge Climate Strike that saw more than 300,000 people walk out of school or work across Australia on September 20. “That reflects education, cooperation and social cohesion on a massive scale. It means that we mean business.”

Australian anti-fascist campaigner Jock Palfreeman’s parole is being challenged by Bulgarian authorities and his lawyer has said he urgently needs to leave the country.

350.org co-founder Bill McKibben estimates that on September 20, about 4 million people took part in roughly 2500 Climate Strikes in more than 163 countries on seven continents. That is a phenomenal success for an emerging school student-led protest movement that only started last year.

Anti-fascist campaigner and Australian citizen Jock Palfreeman was unexpectedly granted parole on September 19 after serving 11 years of a 20-year sentence on trumped-up charges. He was last denied parole on July 17.

Anti-choice state MPs are seeking to add as many caveats as possible to a bill that seeks to decriminalise abortion in New South Wales and which has the support of medical, legal and feminist organisations.

 

While estimates of the size of the Climate Strike in Australia vary, one thing is certain: many generations want real action to deal with climate change — and they want it now.

“Any law that places half the population at risk of criminality simply because of their biology is a ridiculous and unsupportable law”, Jane Caro told a pro-choice rally on September 14 in Sydney’s Hyde Park.

Gill Boehringer, an honorary senior research fellow at Macquarie University, has been studying the Murray-Darling Basin crisis and believes that the New South Wales government’s reluctance to assist affected Indigenous communities is connected to their dispossession, discrimination and exploitation.

Catastrophic fires in New South Wales and Queensland have come early in the fire season, which usually starts in October. Climate scientists and frontline fire fighters agree: they are a consequence of climate change.

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