More than 800 police carried out simultaneous raids on houses in Sydney and Brisbane on September 18. Fifteen people were detained as a result, but only two were charged. The high profile police raid – coordinated with the media – has been described as the “nation’s biggest counter terrorism operation in history”. It comes one week before the government plans to bring anti-democratic “terror laws” to a vote in parliament and as troops are deployed for a new Iraq war.
The Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance club on University of Western Sydney (UWS) Bankstown campus organised a free barbecue for students and staff on September 10. The BBQ raised $100 in donations for Gaza recovery charities. A week later, on September 16, it held a campus film screening of Hope in a Slingshot, a film about Palestinian resistance. Resistance is taking a proactive stand for support of Palestine with weekly petitioning and distributing information and organising contingents for upcoming rallies and events.
Following a mass campaign that mobilised thousands of people across the country and beyond, it appears the Western Australian government's shark cull has been dropped. The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has advised against continuing the cull this summer. Premier Colin Barnett said he was “disappointed” by the decision but is unlikely to challenge it and is also unlikely to reinstate the cull in future.
In the past five years the global bee population has been devastated. This matters because they are critical to the food chain, pollinating 70% of our food either directly or indirectly. Besides pollinating vegetables, fruits and nuts, they also pollinate the lucerne that feeds our cattle and cotton that makes our clothes. The US lost 60% of its bee population in 2012 and then another 40% last year. The European wild honey bees have all but disappeared.
Cables sent from the US Embassy in Quito during Rafael Correa’s first three years as president document rising tensions between Ecuador and the US. Correa’s government, first elected in 2006, increasingly rejected US hegemony and asserted control over Ecuador’s economic and political development. The cables highlight the embassy’s preoccupation with Ecuador’s “difficult investment climate”, with many reports attempting to assess and predict Correa’s economic policies.
More than 40 renewable energy suppliers have written an open letter to the federal government urging it to save jobs by not scrapping the renewable energy target (RET). They say the renewable energy industry employs tens of thousands of Australian workers, both directly and indirectly. This open letter to federal and state politicians from businesses supplying the sector highlights the importance of the RET in generating jobs and investment. ***
A solidarity conference called, "Venezuela: The Revolution Continues" will be held in Sydney on October 6. It is sponsored by the Venezuelan Embassy in Australia and supported by the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network, the Bolivarian Circle and other organisations, including the Socialist Alliance.
Refugee Council of Australia President Phil Glendenning told a forum on September 15 that refugees sent from Australia back to Afghanistan by the John Howard government have been killed. The Refugee Action Coalition organised the forum called “Stop Deportations — Why Afghanistan is not safe”, which also heard from Hazara Youth Perspectives Organisation organiser Sabira Naseri.
Since September 15, the city of Kobane in the Kurdish-majority liberated area of Rojava in northern Syria has been under intense attack by the murderous forces of the self-styled "Islamic State (IS)". In July, Kobane (Arabic name: Ayn al-Arab) was besieged by 5000 IS thugs armed with US heavy weapons seized from the disintegrating Iraqi army. The defenders managed to hold out and inflict a heavy defeat on the IS gangs. But this time the attack appears far more serious.
United States President Barack Obama pledged on June 30 that in the face of Republican intransigence on immigration, he would take executive action to ease the plight of undocumented immigrants facing deportation. On September 6, the White House announced that it would delay any action until after the November midterm election. Cristina Jimenez, managing director for United We Dream, an advocacy coalition for immigrants largely made up of young Latinos, said: “The President’s latest broken promise is a slap in the face of the Latino and immigrant communities.”
The People’s Bill, an initiative of the Lock the Gate Alliance to oppose the growing coal seam gas and coal industries, was launched in Brisbane on September 4. The People’s Common Rights and Provisions Bill 2014 would amend the Mineral Resources Act to give land holders, local governments, Aboriginal communities and others the power to deny mining companies access to their land.
The High Court ruled on September 11 that an asylum seeker given a temporary visa should be allowed to apply for permanent protection. It said that immigration minister Scott Morrison's issuing of a form of temporary protection visa to a Rohingya man was "invalid". The court said an asylum seeker can only be detained for the purpose of removing them from the country, assessing whether to grant them a permanent visa, or assessing whether to allow them to apply for a visa to live in Australia.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has committed Australia to join the US’s latest military intervention in the Middle East. About 600 Australian military personnel and aircraft operating from a base in the United Arab Emirates will join US forces in bombing Islamic State forces in Iraq and assisting the Kurdistan Regional Government with weapons and training. ‘HUMANITARIAN’ WARMAKING
The Disability Services Commission (DSC) in Western Australia announced last October that it planned to privatise 60% of its accommodation and early childhood intervention services, relinquish its status as a registered training organisation and dismantle its learning and development arm. At the same time it abolished its Community Development Directorate, dissolved its Post School Options section and made its staff in the Community and Family Living team redundant.
After two years of campaigning, Scotland’s independence referendum has ended. It saw victory for the No side, the opponents of independence with 55% backing compared to 45% who backed a Yes to independence. The referendum saw an unprecedented level of engagement and debate throughout Scotland. This was reflected in the huge and unprecedented turnout of 84.59%, reversing the trend of recent decades of dwindling poll turnouts. Some rural areas even recorded 100% turnout.
The Save Millers Point spring picnic, held at Argyle Place in the heart of the historic inner suburb on September 14, drew thousands of people to support the campaign to stop the sale of public housing by the NSW Coalition government. Live music, market stalls, a free BBQ and information about the campaign were features of the day. An art exhibition and film screening was held. In addition, a history walk took attendees on a tour of the unique architectural sites of the area.