The global financial crisis had its origins in the US when interest rates fell from 6% in January 2001 to 1% in mid-2003. This led to banks and other financial institutions awash with cheap money to conclude that lending to home buyers at obvious risk of defaulting their repayments was a safe bet.
Stop CSG Illawarra released this statement on June 3. *** The NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, Professor Mary O'Kane, has released a new report to “specifically examine the cumulative impact of all activities which impact ground and surface water in the Sydney Water Catchment Special Areas”. The report does not investigate whether coal seam gas (CSG) mining in drinking water areas is safe.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott is a notorious climate change denier. So is his Canadian counterpart, Stephen Harper. But this is not their official position. In the face of rising global pressure for action to address catastrophic climate change, the official line of these two leaders is to “address” climate change, but not in a way that “clobbers the economy”, to use Abbott's latest three-word phrase.
“At the end of the day,” Bella Bropho of the Swan Valley Nyungah Community told Green Left Weekly, “we want that land returned to us.” She was referring to the Lockridge camp site which was home to the community until it was closed by the Western Australian government in 2003. Despite the closure, the community has maintained a continuous connection with the site and still meets there every week. At 5pm on June 10, government contractors moved in to remove fences and “desecrate” vegetation that was planted by community members.
Seven years after Muckaty Station was nominated as a radioactive waste dump site, a Federal Court challenge has begun in Tennant Creek, 500 kilometres north of Alice Springs and 120 kilometres south of the proposed dump site. In 2007, the Northern Land Council (NLC) nominated Muckaty to the Commonwealth. The Federal Court challenge is based on the argument that the traditional owners were not properly consulted and they did not give consent.
A Brisbane court has upheld the state government's application for a permanent stay on legal action by Aboriginal elder Uncle Conrad Yeatman for retrieval of stolen wages. This was a blow to an elders group that has been campaigning for many years for payment of stolen wages, taken under the Aboriginals Preservation and Protection Act 1939. Between 1904 and 1972, the state controlled the wages and savings of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Indian feminist and socialist Kavita Krishnan was the keynote speaker at the People's Power in the “Asian Century” seminar in Sydney on June 7. The seminar was held as part of the Socialist Alliance’s 10th national conference over the weekend of June 7-9. Around 250 people attended the conference to hear Krishnan speak on the anti-capitalist struggle in India, and on capitalism, misogyny and sexual violence.
World Refugee Day is dedicated each year to raising awareness about the more than 43.7 million refugees and internally displaced people around the world. The United Nations and non-government organisations usually share refugee stories and make pleas for compassion and empathy. But in Australia, refugees and asylum seekers are treated like the enemy in a war: the target of a highly resourced, military-led “deterrence” strategy complete with arbitrary detainment, detention camps, guards to terrorise them, forced deportations and the violent suppression of those who protest.
Australia is at risk of becoming a scientific backwater due to the federal government’s budget cuts to the CSIRO. The government has proposed a $111 million cut to CSIRO funding in the May budget — about 20% of its total funding — and at least 1000 full-time staff will lose their jobs over the next four years. Eight CSIRO sites around the country will close. Many are in regional country towns, which rely on the sites for employment.
Big business and mining giants are the acknowledged big winners of the recent federal budget, and it is Aboriginal people who will be the hardest hit. The transformation of the Australian health and education systems as well as the cuts to welfare proposed by the federal budget will have particularly bad effects on Aboriginal people: whether living in remote communities, in cities or regional centres.
Over 100 people rallied in Sydney on the anniversary of Eddie Murray’s death in police custody in a northwestern New South Wales town of Wee Waa 33 years ago. Murray's murder was one of the black deaths in custody that led to the historic Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.
The NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has again found former Labor powerbroker Eddie Obeid guilty of corruption. On June 5, he was found corrupt over the non-disclosure of the ownership of cafes at Circular Quay and attempts to renew the leases without them going to tender.