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“The rising sea levels caused by global warming threaten the very existence of some of our neighbours,” Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama told the Pacific Island Development Forum (PIDF). “Kiribati, Tuvalu and the Marshall Islands ― and are already swamping the coastal areas of many Pacific nations, including Fiji.”
The Summit of the Group of 77 plus China, marking the alliance’s 50th anniversary, closed in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, on June 15 with the adoption of a declaration entitled “For a New World Order for Living Well”. There were delegates from 104 nations out of the 133 from the global South that now make up the Group of 77 plus China. Bolivia is chairing the alliance this year, and its president, Evo Morales, hosted the summit.
Environment Tasmania and the Bob Brown Foundation released this statement on June 24. *** World heritage experts and conservationists have welcomed the decision of the World Heritage Committee to reject the Australian government’s attempt to delist 74,000 hectares of forests from the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage area. World heritage expert Alec Marr is in Doha as part of the Tasmanian delegation. He said: “The state parties on the Committee have reaffirmed that these forests are world heritage and will stay protected.”
Under intense lobbying by big electricity companies, the Tony Abbott government is attempting to scrap the Renewable Energy Target (RET) which aims to have 20% of Australia’s electricity come from renewable energy sources by 2020. In response to this threat, a new community group called Solar Citizens is campaigning to defend existing solar power and extend solar to even more households. They have held public meetings in Brisbane, Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro issued a call on June 7 to each grassroots unit of the governing United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) to submit 10 proposals for ways to improve how the government functions, Venezuelanalysis.com said on June 21. “In response,” the article said, “throughout Venezuela, local units of PSUV militants, known as Battle Units Bolivar-Chavez (UBCh), devoted their weekly meetings to lively debates analysing political problems and attempting to reach consensus on solutions.”
About 250 Aboriginal people and their supporters gathered in solidarity at the steps of South Australia’s Parliament House on June 17 to protest against the proposed federal budget. Included in the budget is $534 million in cuts to Aboriginal programs around the country. The rally was organised by Narungga elder Tauto Sansbury.
LIFE FOR MOST AUSTRALIANS IS GETTING HARDER, WHILE POLITICIANS SERVE THE WEALTHY. BUT PUBLIC BACKLASH IS BREWING INTO A MOVEMENT TO CHALLENGE THIS SYSTEM, WRITES SUSAN PRICE. In handing down its first budget, the Coalition government echoed its National Commission of Audit, warning that a “business as usual” scenario for public spending on welfare, pensions, public services, health and education is “unsustainable”, even “irresponsible” in Australia today.
“Thank you for these protest. We love you and our hearts are with you in this moment,” a refugee in Yongah Hill detention centre told a member of the Refugee Rights Action Network (RRAN).
It has been seven years since the federal government introduced the Northern Territory intervention. To mark the date, a protest was held outside Alice Springs courthouse on June 21, demanding an end to the intervention, now known as Stronger Futures, and an end to income management.
When Treasurer Joe Hockey addressed the Sydney Institute on June 11, he complained that it is not fair that more than $6000 a head will be spent by the government on welfare this year. He said this means "the average working Australian, be they a cleaner, a plumber or a teacher, is working over one month full time each year just to pay for the welfare of another Australian."
About 7000 people rallied in Melbourne for World Refugee Day on June 22. The rally called for detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru to be closed; for fair processing of asylum seekers; and for justice for Reza Berati, who was murdered in detention on Manus Island. The rally included contingents from regional areas such as Geelong and Ballarat. Reverend Alistair McRae from the Uniting Church said: "Policies of deprivation and punishment have taken the place of our legal and moral obligations of care. It's not OK. Shame on the government and the previous government."
Australian resident Natalie Lowrey remains in detention in Malaysia after her arrest at a peaceful protest demanding an Australian company to close down its operation of the Lynas Advanced Material Plant (LAMP) in Kuantan. Lowrey was arrested at the peaceful protest on June 22 along with 15 Malaysian citizens — the locals have all been released, yet Lowrey remains detained. Colleague and Rare Earth campaigner Tully McIntyre is in Malaysia, has visited Natalie and has expressed concern for her wellbeing.