Sue Bolton, the newly elected socialist councillor in Moreland, is a feminist and socialist fighter. She's been a tireless campaigner for working people’s rights since the late 1970s, when she first joined the anti-uranium campaign in Toowoomba, Queensland.
Nothing quite prepares you for a first visit to Venezuela ― especially when the country is polarised between two very different visions for the future. This is how it was just before the October 7 presidential elections, which socialist President Hugo Chavez won with 55% of the vote in the largest turnout, more than 81%, in Venezuelan history.
Photos from the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN) 2012 Presidential Elections Brigade. The brigade's program kicked off with an introductory talk on Venezuelan history and politics by Dr Marcelo Alfonzo, Central University of Venezuela. Then visits to National Institute of Hygiene plant, a world leader in the manufacture of vaccines, the Bolivarian University, ALBA (the Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America) and the Latin American School of Medicine. Photos by Pip Hinman unless otherwise designated.
On our third full day of activity on the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network (AVSN) 2012 Presidential Elections Brigade we visited Sala de la Batalla Sociales, LA Communa. This is a grouping of 35 Community Councils in the barrio of Petare. We visited the community medical centre (where free health care is provided by Cuban and Venezuelan doctors), a community radio station and had an exchange with community council members. The commune of Petare is building a chocolate factory which will sit alongside a community university. Photos by Pip Hinman.
Overnight on August 30, an Afghan army sergeant shot dead three Australian soldiers at an Afghan National Army patrol base in the Oruzgan province of Afghanistan. A helicopter crash that killed two more soldiers made the day the deadliest for Australia's forces since the Vietnam War. On four separate occasions, a total of seven Australian soldiers have been killed by “rogue” members of the NATO-trained Afghan army, supposedly tasked with taking over security when NATO forces withdraw in 2014.
Sydney City Greens councillor Irene Doutney is a fighter. She’s a public housing tenant and knows a thing or two about the dispossessed and disadvantaged. She is part of a rich council that sprawls from Millers’ Point in the north and Annandale in the West to Moore Park in the east to St Peters in the south. It also includes the much poorer neighbourhoods of Woolloomooloo, Redfern, Zetland and Rosebery.
Walking into the Summer Hill Childcare Centre, it's clear that the children and workers alike are busy and happy. I went to meet the centre's director, Roberta de Souza, to find out more about child care in the inner west of Sydney. Sitting among the children, who range from three to five years old, de Souza was critical of government policy, which she said undervalues childcare workers. “It supports nurses, fire fighters, ambulance drivers. But we are also providing an important service – to future adults.”
A whopping 22 million passengers went through Sydney Domestic Airport last year – close to the total population of Australia. Almost 8 million of those were heading to Victoria, and close to 4.5 million to Brisbane. Just over 2 million were off to the Gold Coast, and just under that figure to WA. In the debate over the environmental and human impact of a second airport in NSW and the push to expand Mascot, it is important to weigh these facts.
The problem of homelessness, high rentals and unlicensed boarding houses in Sydney’s inner west — often though of as one of the wealthier areas of Sydney — is growing, said Paul Adabie, acting director of the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre (NNC). Adabie told Green Left Weekly these acute housing problems faced by the most disadvantaged and vulnerable.
Labor and independent councillors in Marrickville decided on June 19 against holding a poll on coal seam gas at the same time as the local council elections. This is despite the fact that the council has had two unanimous votes against coal seam gas exploration. Non-binding polls are available to all councils and have been used to gauge community opinion on a variety of topics. Greens councillor Cathy Peters put the urgency motion, inspired by Lismore City Council’s decision to poll its local residents about coal seam gas production and exploration.