As with other environmental issues, Australia’s water crisis has reached such an extent that mainstream media and politicians are being forced to abandon their traditional policy of denial. However, true to form, politicians are proposing solutions that are a mixture of the half-hearted, the irrelevant and the destructive. In common with the debates on global warming and Third World poverty, there is an underlying assumption that the water crisis can be overcome by the very thing that created it — the market economy.
On January 26, more than 500 people marched through Melbourne to mark Invasion Day and to call for an end to black deaths in custody and for justice for Mulrunji, who died in the Palm Island police station in November, 2004. Rally chair Brianna Pike announced at the protest that Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley would be charged with Mulrunji’s manslaughter.
Sheikh Isse Musse, Imam of the Virgin Mary Mosque and spiritual leader of Melbourne’s Horn of Africa Muslim community, condemned the US bombing of his native Somalia and its instigation of the invasion by Ethiopian troops inlate December. He also expressed hope that out of the current conflict Somalia might regain its sovereignty and national unity after years of anarchy and violence.
On December 5, after weeks of speculation, the commander of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces, Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama announced that he had overthrown the government of Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase in Fijis third military coup in the past 20 years. On January 4, the military restored the powers of President Ratu Josefa Iloilo, so that he could swear in an interim government with Bainimarama as PM.
The return of ALP leader Steve Bracks for a third term at the November 25 Victorian election was less a vote for the state ALP government than a vote against the federal Coalition government. It was also a rejection of the legacy of former Liberal Premier Jeff Kennett, whose 1992-1999 government was responsible for wholesale privatisation and the slashing of public services. While Labor campaign ads reminded Victorians of the Kennett legacy, Bracks has not bought back into public ownership any of the privatised assets, including public transport. Labor won 55 of the 88 lower house seats.
More than three thousand people had a somewhat surreal experience on November 18. They attended a rally, called by the Melbourne Stop the War Coalition and Stop G20, to oppose the genocide by poverty being promoted by the finance ministers meeting, and the warfare that makes the corporate plunder of the Third World possible.
Three to four thousand people joined a rally and march against the G20 meeting on November 18. The rally opposed the neoliberal and militarist agenda of the meeting, which brought together finance ministers from the G8 group of rich nations, Australia, the European Union and 10 economically significant Third World nations, as well as the heads of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
On November 18-19, the G20 meeting in Melbourne will bring together the finance ministers of the powerful G8 group of nations with those of Australia, the European Union and 10 of the largest Third World economies, along with the heads of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Israels war on Gaza, its continued colonisation of the West Bank, and its construction of the apartheid wall represent the third wave of ethnic cleansing in Palestine since the establishment of Zionist state, Israeli academic Tanya Reinhart told 250-strong meeting in Melbourne on October 12.
The 1999 abduction of Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan by Turkeys National Intelligence Agency (MIT) while he was in Kenya set a precedent for the CIAs post-9/11 practice of extraordinary rendition, Ocalans lawyers told the first Australian Conference on the Political and Human Rights Dimensions of the Kurdish Question, held in Melbourne on October 3.