Hamza Kashgari, a Saudi Arabian newspaper columnist, was recently extradited from Malaysia to Saudi Arabia, where he had been arrested while trying to flee to New Zealand. An arrest warrant was issued in Saudi Arabia after Kashgari posted three twitter comments deemed to be insulting to the prophet Mohammed. Kashgari fled the country. The three mild posts included lines such as: "I have loved things about you and I have hated things about you and there is a lot I don't understand about you."
Over the past month, humanities and social sciences students at Adelaide University have successfully fought back against attempted cuts to their tutorials. In July, deputy vice-chancellor Professor Pascale Quester announced cuts to tutorial numbers from 12 to 10 or nine. The lost tutorials would be replaced by optional one-on-one consultation time with tutorial teachers. On August 24, at a student-management forum organised by Adelaide University Union (AUU) president Raffaele Piccolo, Quester tried to justify the cuts on educational grounds.
It has become a cliche in mainstream media and political discourse that feminism is no longer necessary in society. However many ordinary women disagree. Green Left Weekly asked members of the newly formed Feminist Collective of South Australia about feminism’s relevance today. Emma Gray-Starcevic said: “Women still earn on average 17% less than men in Australia, and are under-represented in a huge number of jobs, especially in industries such as law, business and politics — jobs synonymous with high wages and powerful positions.
In April and May, while in South America as part of solidarity brigades to Venezuela and Bolivia, I met some people who have risked everything to make their communities and their countries better places to live. I became so used to people passionately fighting for things they believed in that when I returned to Australia I received a sharp shock. Suddenly I was back among people who, in general, did not care much or want to know about issues of inequality or other problems in our society. It is for these people that this is written.
More than 100 people rallied outside the South Australian Parliament on March 25 in solidarity with the people of the Middle East. The focus of the rally was the attacks on protesters by snipers in Yemen, the invasion of Bahrain by Saudi troops and the ongoing civil war and bombing in Libya. People from various Middle Eastern communities waved flags and placards demanding an end to the military crackdowns.
It isn’t often that socialists, Greens, Liberals and NGOs agree on an issue. But that is the case regarding uranium exploration in the Arkaroola region in the Flinders Ranges, 700 kilometres north of Adelaide. Marathon Resources announced on February 7 that the South Australian Labor government had renewed the company's mining licence in Arkaroola. The Arkaroola area is a unique environment, unlike anywhere else on Earth. It has over 160 species of birds, is home to species of fauna found nowhere else in the world and is a sanctuary for the endangered yellow-footed rock wallaby.
The national secretary of the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Union (SDA), Joe De Bruyn, recently recommitted the SDA to a homophobic policy of opposition to equal marriage rights. A member of the ALP national executive, De Bruyn said in November that were he in Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s position he would have “killed the issue off once and for all”, ABC online said. In our society, the heterosexual nuclear family is portrayed as the only legitimate model for relationships.
For most queer rights activists, the most pressing issue is queer marriage rights. Denying this basic right to a large number of Australians is abhorrent. In a democracy, the elected officials are supposed to represent the views of the people who elect them. The majority of Australians are in favor of giving same-sex couples the right to marry, but both major parties have shown their contempt for the opinions of the majority.