Numerous wind farm developments across Victoria may face termination due to the highly inflexible and restrictive nature of the Denis Napthine government’s anti-wind farm laws and permit rules. The Weekly Times reported that the 20 companies granted permits before the introduction of these laws have been denied the ability to make simple upgrades to their turbines.
Two teenage asylum seekers have been taken from their homes in a community detention program in Adelaide’s inner-northern suburbs and sent to a closed detention centre, causing other young asylum seekers to run away from their homes in fear. On June 26, two young Vietnamese asylum seekers, who attended Woodville High School, were taken from their homes and detained by the immigration department.
Aboriginal communities from across Australia met in Brisbane on July 11 to attend a day of protest and planning against the ongoing removal of children from Aboriginal families. Aunty Karen Fusi from the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy and Aunty Hazel Collins from Grandmothers Against Removal Gunnedah told the National Forum Against Ongoing Stolen Generations that child removal is having devastating effects on families and communities.
Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe came out in an interview with Michael Parkinson on July 13. Thorpe is a sporting hero. He has smashed 22 world records and won five gold, three silver and one bronze Olympic medals. He retired from professional swimming in 2012 after battling depression. In the interview, Thorpe said: "I'm not straight and this is only something that very recently — we're talking in the past two weeks — I've been comfortable telling the closest people around me."
Journalist Nic Maclellan spoke at a public meeting in Melbourne on July 10 about his visit to New Caledonia to observe the May 11 elections. Maclellan said New Caledonia was colonised by France in 1853. Indigenous Kanaks have been reduced to a minority in their own country. Kanaks are now 44% of the population. In addition to settlers from France itself, there are also people from other French colonies in the Pacific (Tahiti, Wallis and Futuna), as well as people whose ancestors came from former French colonies such as Vietnam and Algeria.
Students for Women’s Only Services released this statement on July 14. *** Candles, as well as petitions, will be given out at a Sydney rally to shine a light on the statewide closure of independent women’s homelessness services. University students have organised the vigil for July 24 in Pitt St Mall at 5.30pm and hope to gain the attention and signatures of late-night shoppers.
Anti-coal activist Jonathan Moylan is awaiting sentencing after Justice David Davies adjourned his decision at a Supreme Court hearing in Sydney on July 11. On the same day, more than 100 people gathered outside the court in a silent vigil to support Moylan. Moylan pleaded guilty in May this year to one count of disseminating false information to the market, after being charged last year under the Corporations Act 2001 for making a “false or misleading” statement.
It was the theme du jour at the B20 gathering in Sydney, which brought together more than 300 business leaders seeking to shape the agenda of the G20: Business knows best so leave the big decisions to us. Prime Minister Tony Abbott said it and numerous self-serving CEOs happily served as a chorus. But the standout croaky voice was that of global media mogul Rupert Murdoch: “Everybody in this room knows dozens or hundreds of very, very fine businessmen. How many people know a politician who can run a business?”
A US drone attack in North Waziristan in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) killed 20 people on July 16. It brought the number of people killed by US drones in North Waziristan since June 12 to 50. The July 16 Nation reported, “five drones are still flying over the Datta Khel area and hampering the relief activities underway there. This … is fomenting a fear of the death toll rising.”
NSW Premier Mike Baird has pushed ahead with plans to privatise the state's power network, without waiting for the results of the NSW election in March next year. The Stop the Sell Off campaign has condemned the move, saying it makes a mockery of the premier's claim that he would seek a mandate from voters before pressing on with the sale of 49% of the state-owned electricity network businesses Ausgrid, Endeavour Energy, Transgrid and Essential Energy.
Capital in the 21st Century Thomas Piketty Havard University Press, 2014 US$39.95, 696 pages By now, perhaps, you’ve heard the fuss about French economist Thomas Piketty’s new book Capital in the 21st Century, but haven’t been able to carve out time to read it. Waiting for a movie version? It could be a long time coming (more on that below). In the meantime, here are some critical takeaways, and omissions, for labour activists.
GREEN LEFT WEEKLY EDITORIAL The apparent shooting down of Malaysia Airlines passenger flight MH17 is an unspeakable tragedy and a criminal act that has sent shock waves around the world. Green Left Weekly offers our condolences to the families of all its victims. Nobody yet knows who was responsible for this crime, despite Western media and governments pointing the finger at either the rebel forces in Ukraine's east, which the West accuses Russia of arming, or the Russian military itself.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is trying to make good on his announcement on July 11 that his army, or the fascist militias fighting alongside it, will kill “dozens and hundreds” of people in the east of the country for every Ukraine soldier dying in the war his regime is waging there. Since his pronouncement, his armed forces have been bombarding cities and towns in south-east Ukraine. Fighter aircraft, tanks and other armoured vehicles are engaged.
You know, there is a lot of ridiculous and quite unfair criticism of Israel floating around, simply because it has been relentlessly bombing 1.5 million people trapped in a 360 square kilometre open-air prison over which it maintains a brutal siege and has slaughtered hundreds of people including dozens of children, supposedly in retaliation for homemade rockets fired from Gaza that has kill a total of one person in the current conflict. But there is a little reported story that shows exactly what Israel's true values are.
The Royal Commission into the Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has asked for another $104 million from the federal government to hold hearings until the end of 2017. The commission has released an interim report, for which they held more than 1600 private sessions and received more than 1600 written accounts from survivors of sexual abuse.
One petition I saw circulating recently called for both Israel and Hamas to put down their weapons. I dispute this approach that blames both sides equally. Israel is the aggressor. Not only is Israel bombing indiscriminately with a view to maximising civilian casualties, it continues to maintain its inhumane and illegal siege of Gaza. The kidnapping and murder of the Israeli teenagers was simply a pretext. There is no evidence that it was a Palestinian or a Hamas member who killed the teenagers. Israel has set itself as judge, jury and executioner.