1032

A small number of inner Sydney women's refuges flagged for closure received news on October 30 that their state government funding has been reinstated. However, other city and regional refuges continue to face closure or loss of specialist services for women, including Aboriginal women and young people, following their transfer into the hands of churches and charities.
About 8000 people from across NSW’s Northern Rivers region gathered in Lismore on November 1 for a rally to declare the region gasfield free. Protesters marched through Lismore CBD to demand the government cancel all petroleum licences in the region. It then officially launched four large signs at each of the roads leading into the region, proclaiming: "Gasfield Free Northern Rivers – protected by community.” Organiser Elly Bird said: "This community is saying loud and clear that they want full cancellation of the licenses across the region, and nothing less will serve.
Protesters successfully stopped self-described “pick up artist” Julien Blanc from giving his planned seminar on October 6 on how to manipulate and sexually assault women. Protests followed Blanc throughout his attempted Australian tour, causing venues to dump his events in multiple cities, and he finally returned to the US on November 7.
Almost 300 people gathered near Ipswich in Queensland for The Sunrise Project's Beyond Coal and Gas conference from October 24 to 27. The event featured more than 100 workshops and drew people from all states and territories as well as international visitors. There was a huge diversity of people and organisations including campaigners, activists, researchers, traditional owners and youth.
This statement was released on November 6 by Sean Broklehurst, the Socialist Alliance candidate for Pascoe Vale in the November 29 Victorian elections, and Sarah Hathway, the Socialist Alliance candidate for Geelong. It refers to the project, set to cost at least $15 billion, to link Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway and City Link, with the major part of the project being a 4.4 kilometre tunnel. ***
Brisbane is almost in lockdown as preparations get under way for the G20 Summit over November 15 and 16. Road closures began a week before world leaders and their media lackeys were due to arrive. Manholes and utility service grates in footpaths in the CBD and around the G20 venue in South Brisbane have been sealed as a precaution against sabotage.
Melbourne solidarity rally with Kobani, October 23.
About 1700 people packed Sydney Town Hall, and an overflow crowd of thousands filled the adjacent square, for the official memorial service for former Labor Prime Minister Gough Whitlam on November 5. Sprinkled through the crowd were people who still had their iconic “It's Time” T-shirts and badges from the 1972 election that brought the Whitlam government to power. It was a memorable gathering not just because of the passing of this former PM, but because Whitlam has come to symbolise a long-lost era of progressive reform in this country.
A campaign organised by Cambodians has led the country’s first vice-president of the National Assembly to urge Australia to back down from its bid to resettle refugees there. Kem Sokha said in a letter to the Australian Ambassador to Cambodia, Alison Burrows, that the deal to transfer up to 1000 refugees from Nauru could have “negative impacts which would possibly be caused by economic, social situations”. Joyce Fu, who works for NGO Corner Link and was part of organising protests and petitions calling for the refugee deal to be abandoned, said Cambodia was ill-equipped for the plan.
Oxfam released a report in January that found companies have hidden between $21 trillion and $32 trillion in offshore bank accounts to escape paying tax. That amount is double US GDP or about 20 times Australian GDP. One of the issues that will be discussed at the G20 meeting in Brisbane is how to set up an international framework to stop this tax avoidance. Unfortunately, it will not work.
The witch-hunt into unions descended into farce last month as the Royal Commission’s attempt to justify its existence instead showed that it is an inquiry compromised by its politically motivated construction and damned by its own incompetence. The week began with Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) assistant secretary Tim Lyons attacking royal commissioner Dyson Heydon and senior counsel assisting Jeremy Stoljar for confusing workplace bargaining with corruption and failing to understand the role of unions they had been asked to investigate.
Sarah Hathway and Sean Brocklehurst are running as Socialist Alliance candidates in the Victorian election. They released this statement on November 7. *** The federal government's concern about “corruption” is very selective. For many months, there have been calls for a royal commission into the Commonwealth Bank and ASIC to investigate how thousands of people were stripped of their life savings as a result of fraud by dodgy financial planners working for the bank.
Residents of Millers Point public housing are supporting the campaign to stop the sell-off and possible demolition of the iconic Sirius apartments in the nearby suburb of The Rocks. The Save Our Sirius (SOS) campaign was launched on November 2 with an open day at the Sirius apartments building. The Sirius apartments were designed by Tao Gofers in 1975 for the NSW Housing Commission. Sitting beside the southern approaches to the Harbour Bridge, the apartments look out to Circular Quay and the Opera House.
“The Battle of Brisbane.” These were the words that greeted readers of Queensland’s Courier Mail on October 28. The article, taking up the front cover and several subsequent pages, dealt with the alleged threat of violent protests at the G20 summit to be held in Brisbane on November 15 and 16. The police, according to the Courier Mail, should meet the protesters with brutal suppression. The actual threat of violence was left vague. In many ways, the phrasing of the subhead for the piece told it all: “Cops vow to crush G20 ferals”.
For those paying attention to the science of climate change, it might seem counterintuitive to talk about hope. To some it might even seem in bad taste, given that the future impacts include the melting away of the Himalayan glaciers that provide fresh water for 1.3 billion people in Asia and the possibility that many low-lying island nations may become uninhabitable.
Australians for Kurdistan began this petition on Change.org. It asks the Australian federal attorney-general to arrest Turkey's President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, when he visits Brisbane for the G20 summit on November 15. It also asks the attorney-general to remove the Kurdistan Workers Party from the list of terrorist organisations. To sign the petition go to www.change.org. * * *

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