The Coalition government’s Direct Action policy has become law after passing the lower house on November 23. The centrepiece of Direct Action is the Emissions Reduction Fund. Under this scheme, the government will pay for projects that will reduce CO2 emissions "at least cost". Businesses, farmers, community organisations, local councils and individuals will be able to compete for $2.55 billion in government funding for projects to reduce their emissions.
A report conducted by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has shown environmental concerns and technical lapses in coal seam gas (CSG) mining by Santos at their sites in Gunnedah and the Pilliga Forest, NSW. The report, published in Fairfax Media, is an audit from May last year.
Tom Waits once said that writing songs against war was like throwing peanuts at a gorilla. Which may be true, but no one said gorillas liked peanuts in their face. After all, the veteran American songwriter made the comment as a self-deprecating reference to the anti-war songs on his 2004 album Real Gone ― inspired by the Bush adminstration's wars on Iraq and Afghanistan. Waits noted: “But then I think, look how important soul music was during the civil rights movement.
Refugee activists organised a float in the Perth pride parade on November 23 to raise awareness of the discrimination queer refugees face on Manus Island. About 50 people took part in the float, dressed as prison guards and detainees in bright orange jumpsuits. The float was organised by an alliance of queer activists and refugee advocates, and attracted a broad group of people. Refugees living in detention on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea face a possible 14-year prison term if they disclose they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex.
Macquarie Group is the largest investment bank and fund manager in Australia. On November 27 it was listed in a “Hall of Shame” report on global financial institutions found to have investments in companies manufacturing cluster bombs.
Cuts to the ABC. Cuts to SBS. More broken promises by this rotten Coalition government. Now more than ever we need Green Left Weekly as an alternative source of news and commentary from a progressive viewpoint.
Australia signed a free trade agreement with China on November 17. The Coalition government and the media praise the agreement, but other groups are concerned about the implications. More than 85% of Australian exports will be tariff free initially, rising to 93% in four years. Some of these goods are subject to tariffs of up to 40%. On full implementation of the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, 95% of Australian exports to China will be tariff free.
In the Social Contract, published in 1762, Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote that, “man is born free, and everywhere is in chains”. The French Revolution determined to remedy this state of affairs and its chosen instrument was a constitution setting out “natural, imprescriptible and inalienable rights”.
A subsidiary of the giant construction company Grocon was fined $250,000 in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on November 21 for “failing to ensure a safe workplace”. The charge related to the deaths of three people when a wall collapsed in March last year. The wall blew over in a strong wind and fell onto a footpath in Swanston Street, Carlton. An advertising hoarding attached to the wall may have contributed to the collapse. However, the wall was in such poor condition that it may have fallen over anyway.
The Tamil Refugee Council released this statement on November 29. *** The Australian government has almost certainly condemned another group of Sri Lankan asylum seekers to persecution, including torture, by returning them to their homeland, the Tamil Refugee Council said. Immigration Minister Scott Morrison announced on November 29 that a boat containing 38 people from Sri Lanka had been intercepted by an Australian customs vessel near the Cocos Islands on November 15 and held at sea for 11 days.