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UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has called a special Climate Summit at United Nations Headquarters in New York City on September 23. This meeting, which is in addition to the annual UN Climate Change Conferences within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, is intended to “mobilize action and ambition on climate change”. Because this event will take place during the annual UN General Assembly meeting, Ban can expect a large number of heads of state to attend, as well as the “business, finance, civil society and local leaders” that he has invited.
Residents in Gloucester, NSW, have set up a permanent camp to stop coal seam gas (CSG) company AGL from beginning exploration in the Gloucester Valley. Organisers of the camp said: “In August, the state government changed a state planning regulation to allow AGL to frack four existing coal seam gas wells without undertaking a full environmental impact statement. “AGL have not started fracking yet — they will give the government 28 days notice before beginning fracking, but we don’t want to let them get started at all.
The Coalition government in Victoria has disregarded public opposition and transparency and named a Lend Lease consortium to carry out phase one of the $6-8 billion East West Link toll road.
The bust the budget campaign stands at a crossroads right now. Although the federal government has succeeded in ramming some of its harsh austerity measures through parliament, there are large parts of the budget which are still held up in the Senate — largely due to the public hostility to these cutbacks.
Every day, Manus Island detainees negotiate rocky ground strewn with coral, rotting shower blocks and “filthy” living conditions. They do this mostly in rubber thongs. A cut foot is likely, septicemia possible and a heart attack followed by a coma and brain death? Wait a minute, let’s go back.
Nauru detention camps’ water reserves are close to running dry, leaked emails showed on September 10. A Transfield operations manager wrote in an email: “We are currently nearly out of water … Due to recent outages at the DIBP RO [immigration department reverse osmosis facility] we have not been able to build up stock so have been slowly going backwards.”
Hundreds of Australians endure the ordeal of jail because of unpaid fines. Their poverty is a burden. Disproportionately, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are incarcerated “to pay off” their fines. Ray Jackson, president of the Indigenous Social Justice Association, says this “draconian practice criminalises people and destroys families and futures”. Recently, “unpaid fines” cost the life of a 22-year-old Yamatji woman, Juliecka Dhu. Dhu and her boyfriend, Dion Ruffin, were arrested on August 2 and detained by Western Australia’s South Hedland police.
A small but growing group of workers in Sydney has been turning the tables on exploitative employers who have cheated staff out of minimum entitlements. Organised in the Sydney Solidarity Network (SydSol), workers have been using direct action to win wages from bosses who have paid employees less than the minimum wage, or not paid them for their work at all.
While Prime Minister Tony Abbott sealed a deal in New Delhi to export uranium to India, the Queensland government granted six mining development leases to two companies on September 5. No uranium has been mined in Queensland since 1982 and has been banned since 1989. However in October 2012 the QLD government lifted the mining ban. Summit Resources was granted four of the mining development leases and Fusion resources were granted two. The leases cover areas near Mount Isa and are the latest stage in Premier Campbell Newman’s plan for the uranium industry.
I often wish this government would cut the crap and just admit it governs for the rich and is determined to shift as much wealth as possible into their hands. We'd be saved their mind-boggling attempts at “logic”. Like their argument that we have a budget emergency, so we must absolutely take action now or our children and our children's children and our children's children's children will all die horrific deaths from starvation, so that is why we must abolish the mining tax.
With news that the unlikely climate conscience of the Palmer United Party is holding firm, it appears that the Renewable Energy Target (RET) and associated programs will not be scrapped just yet. But the uncertainty of what will happen in the long term may be enough to bring large-scale wind and solar projects to a standstill.
Members of the Aboriginal community, faith-based groups, unionists, welfare activists, and others gathered at the State Administration Centre in Adelaide on September 9 to oppose a proposal to expand income management in South Australia. Labor Premier Jay Weatherill has announced he would “offer the broadest possible support” to all 27 of billionaire Andrew Forrest's recommendations in his Indigenous Employment and Training Review. This would include Forrest's controversial proposal to dramatically expand income management to all working-age Centrelink clients, or 2.5 million people.