Criminal lawyer Rob Stary has represented many people accused under Australian “counter-terror” laws. Green Left Weekly’s Karen Fletcher spoke to him about the police raids in Sydney and Brisbane on September 18. *** Last week you commented that the raids gave you a sense of “deja-vu”. What is repeating here?
If you’re an Australian citizen, you have a greater chance of being killed by the following causes than you do by a terrorist attack: slipping in the bathtub and hitting your head; contracting a lethal intestinal illness from the next dinner you eat at a restaurant; being struck by lightning. In the post-9/11 era, there has been no terrorist attack carried out on Australian soil: not one. The attack that most affected Australians was the 2002 bombing of a nightclub in Bali which killed 88 of its citizens; that was 12 years ago.
Besieged since September 15, the northern Syrian Kurdish-majority city of Kobane (whose Arabic name is Ayn al-Arab) has mounted a heroic, all-out resistance to the murderous Islamic State gangs. As of September 25, despite the superior heavy weaponry deployed by the IS, it appears that fierce resistance and determined counter-attacks have halted or slowed the assault. Nonetheless, the IS has pushed closer to the city centre than ever before and the situation remains perilous.
With the US and allied nations, including Arab countries, carrying out air strikes in Syria, the Turkish government is trying to convince the West it does not support the Islamic State (IS) forces the US is targetting. Newly elected President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (the former prime minster) linked the adjective “terrorist” with “IS” for the very first time on September 23 during a US TV interview while attending the United Nations climate summit. “Turkey will do whatever needs to be done to stop this terrorist organisation, militarily, and politically,” he said.
As a deal to resettle refugees from rich Australia to Cambodia, one of the poorest countries in the world, was signed in Phnom Penh on September 26, poor Cambodians displaced from their villages as a result of land-grabbing by powerfully connected developers, youth, monks and civil society activists marched on the Australian embassy. Among these protesters was Pisey Ly, an activist with Social Action for Change (SAC), who was interviewed by Green Left Weekly.
More than six years ago, 21-year-old Australian backpacker Jock Palfreeman was walking home with friends after a night out in Sofia, Bulgaria, when he saw a group of 15 men attacking two others. The next morning he was in a police cell — accused of “unprovoked murder” and “hooliganism”. Held without bail, he was convicted two years later and sentenced to 20 years jail.
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has made a deal with the Palmer United Party to reintroduce Temporary Protection Visa’s (TPVs) for asylum seekers. These will be known as the Safe Haven Enterprise visa. The Refugee Action Coalition released this statement on September 25. *** The government’s bill introduced on September 25 will not just reestablish TPVs. In sweeping changes to definitions and processing arrangements, the minister is trying to use the legislation to undermine human rights and remove appeal rights for asylum seekers.
Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies & Revolution Laurie Penny Bloomsbury, 2014 English author Laurie Penny describes herself as a “journalist, activist, feminist, troublemaker, nerd and net denizen”. Her book, Unspeakable Things, is a collection of polemical essays in which Penny takes aim at mainstream (liberal) feminism, which she says “remains tepid and cowardly”.
Preparations are advancing for a solidarity conference under the theme, "Venezuela: The Revolution Continues," being held in Sydney on October 6. The conference is being co-sponsored by the Venezuelan Embassy in Australia, the Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network, the Bolivarian Circle, unions and other political and solidarity organisations.
Susan Austin gave this speech at the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart on September 21 as part of a global day of action on climate change. She is a member of Climate Action Hobart. *** UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon called a special Climate Summit at United Nations Headquarters in New York City on September 23. Shamefully, Tony Abbott will not be there, even though he will be in New York the next day for a security meeting. The security of our future is at stake due to climate change but he, and many of our other political and business leaders, is ignoring that.
The NSW Coalition government is refusing to tell the community how it will spend millions of dollars gained from the sale of Millers Point public housing. Potentially hundreds of millions of dollars will be reaped if the sale of nearly 300 houses goes ahead. The government has received more than $11 million from the auction of the first four houses.
It is a sadly familiar story: More death, pain and terror for the many translates into large profits for giant weapons making corporations. “Led by Lockheed Martin, the biggest US defence companies are trading at record prices as shareholders reap rewards from escalating military conflicts around the world, reported Richard Clough from Bloomberg News on September 25.
The Ron Tandberg cartoon in the Age on September 24 sums up what a rort the East West Link is. In it, one person asks someone from the East West Connect consortium: “Are you concerned that Labor might stop the project?” They answer: “Either way we'll make a killing.” The cartoon is referring to the announcement by Labor opposition leader Daniel Andrews on September 11 that Labor would not build the East West Link if the Moreland and Yarra councils win legal action against the project in December.
Sean Brocklehurst is running as a candidate for the Socialist Alliance in the November 29 Victorian election. This is a speech he gave at the election launch on September 20. *** We are here because we want to see change in Victoria. We want to see community need put before corporate greed. Victoria is going in the wrong direction. It is being run by and for the corporate elite and not in the interests of ordinary people.
Several hundred people attended a rally and march to Prime Minister Tony Abbott's electoral office in Manly on September 20. The demands of the rally were: "No compromise — no GP co-payment; no cuts or privatisation; and free, public health care for all." General secretary of the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association Brett Holmes said the GP co-payment would spell the end of equitable, universal health care under Medicare and it was time the federal government listened to the people it purported to represent.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are being removed from their families and traditional country by the statutory child protection authority Family and Community Services (FACS) in unprecedented numbers. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reported a rise in the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged up to 17 in out of home care across all states and territories over the past decade.