Simon Cunich

HOBART — Overnight on October 12, 20 activists staged a protest against logging operations in the Florentine Valley. The protest was organised by environment group Still Wild Still Threatened.
A Students Against the Pulp Mill organiser, Gabby Forward, was a finalist in the "Junior Hero" category of's Green Awards. Announcing the winner on September 23, presenter Axle Whitehead described it as "the hardest category to
Residents of Caroona, in the Liverpool Plains of New South Wales, are in their 11th week of a blockade that has stopped BHP Billiton from carrying out coal exploration on their land.
Federal environment minister Peter Garrett has maintained for weeks that he had not been approached by Gunns timber company to extend the deadline on the environmental approval process for the company’s proposed pulp mill in the Tamar Valley. Last week, however, the government extended the deadline from October 4 to January 5.
El Salvador is an exciting Central American nation to be watching at the moment, because if current polls are to be believed, the left-wing Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), looks set to win the parliamentary elections in January, and the presidential elections in March.
Australia is a leading exporter of coal, shipping millions of tonnes every year around the globe. It was appropriate, therefore, that the annual environmental conference, Students of Sustainability (SoS), was this year held in the world’s coal export capital: Newcastle.
Five hundred people attended an anti-pulp mill public meeting in Launceston on June 10. It was organised by the Wilderness Society to pressure Tasmanian Premier David Bartlett into ensuring that no more public funds are used to support Gunns’ proposed Tamar Valley pulp mill or its pipeline.
Between July 5 and 9, hundreds of students and activists from around Australia are expected to attend the annual Students of Sustainability (SoS) conference at the University of Newcastle.
“[It] would be imprudent to tip the winners in the race for low emission technologies”, wrote Barney Glover, University of Newcastle deputy vice-chancellor, in an April 10 letter defending the university’s research in so-called clean coal technologies.
In December 2006, when Kevin Rudd was elected leader of the federal Labor Party, he held a press conference about his personal values where he stated the obvious: “I am not a socialist. I have never been a socialist and I never will be a socialist.” His argument against socialism was basic — it is a “19th-century arcane view”.
Resistance has been actively challenging PM John Howard’s agenda at every step along the way — from protesting his racist attacks on refugees and Muslims to leading student walkouts against the Iraq invasion in 2003 and the introduction of Work Choices in 2006. A defeat for the Howard government on November 24 will be a victory for all the movements that have defended workers’ rights and the environment and stood up to his pro-war policies.
On October 5, Resistance held a protest outside the US consulate to offer solidarity to the people of Bolivia and Venezuela in the face of the campaign against their democratically elected governments by the US. Both countries are targets of Washington for their refusal to allow foreign oil and gas corporations to control their natural resources and determine their future.
In defiance of the biggest “security” campaign ever seen in Australia, aimed at intimidating and deterring people from protesting at APEC, up to 15,000 people joined the “Stop Bush — Make Howard History” protest in Sydney on September 8. The rally was a huge victory — a mass demonstration of our collective strength on the streets that Howard and Bush can only pretend to ignore.
Radio show hosts, politicians and government bureaucrats have been competing to be the most vehement to condemn the September 5 student walkout against US President George Bush’s visit to Australia.
“The only way this war will end is if we end it” — this was the central point of a talk by Matt Howard to an audience of around 100 people at the University of Sydney on August 14. Howard, a former soldier and a member of the US-based group Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW), was in Sydney as part of a national speaking tour.
In what the superstitious might call nature’s revenge, wild seas caused a coal freighter to run aground in Newcastle on June 8, the day after the NSW Labor government approved the opening of a massive open-cut coalmine at Anvil Hill in the Hunter region.


Subscribe to Simon Cunich