About 100 people joined the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and other unions in Geelong at a rally to support the striking Tandara Spirit workers on December 1. Viva Energy, which owns the Geelong oil refinery, ordered the ship to sail to Singapore where the Australian crew would be made redundant and the ship returned to its owners. The crew defied those orders with a three-week sit-in. The Tandara Spirit is one of just five Australian-operated tankers left. Workers are concerned that Viva Energy could replace them with workers earning as little as $20 a day.
On its establishment in 1788, the colony of New South Wales was subject to English law by the application of legal reasoning that was settled in the late 18th century. It confirmed that “if an uninhabited country be discovered and planted by English subjects, all English laws then in being, which are the birthright of every subject, are immediately there in force.”
Essays From Near & Far James Dryburgh Walleah Press, 2014 130 pages, $20 http://walleahpress.com.au The Tasmanian establishment like to promote the idea that their state is separate to the rest of Australia; that its isolation means things are done differently and that’s just the way it is. It’s an attitude that keeps newly arrived residents as outsiders and maintains acquiescence to the status quo in politics and business.
Japan is the world’s third largest economy, Australia’s second largest export market, and third largest import market. It is also a country whose economy has been stagnant since the land market crash of 1990. This stagnation, accompanied by a rise from 30% to 40% in the number of workers without permanent full-time jobs since 2002, validates the “stagnation thesis” that Keynes advanced in his 1836 book General Theory.
You know a government is in some serious trouble when a morning TV host tears the prime minister to shreds. And when the most likable member of the government appears to be Julie “Death Stare” Bishop, it has less good options than a drunk at closing time in Canberra. A little over a year in office, and Tony Abbott's one big achievement is he has made Bill Shorten look electable.
As parliament wound up for the year, the Coalition government was desperate to salvage a symbolic “win” in the Senate to save some face. It was reeling from the defeat of the one-term Liberal government in Victoria, which was seen as a vote against Prime Minister Tony Abbott in the second most populous state in Australia.
This is the last issue of Green Left Weekly for the year. So it is a good time to take stock. From our perspective, it has been a big year of people's struggles. Week after week, people have taken to the streets to protest about numerous issues all around Australia. GLW is a record of this struggle that can be accessed online through our website, greenleft.org.au. Very few countries around the world have a record of people's struggle as comprehensive as this.
Students around the country are celebrating the Senate's defeat of the federal government's tertiary education reforms. The proposed changes would have been the final act in the destruction of free tertiary education in Australia that started with the introduction of the Higher Education Contribution Scheme 25 years ago. The government proposed removing caps on university fees, cutting course funding by about 20% on average, charging higher rates of interest on student debts and extending funding to private colleges, TAFEs and sub-bachelor programs in 2016.
Two thousand activists for free and public education gathered in the Indian city of Bhopal on December 4. This meeting was the culmination of a month-long series of marches and public meetings organised by the All India Forum for the Right to Education (AIFRTE). This action, under the banner of the All India Struggle for Public Education (AISSY), has been carried out across all of India’s five geographic regions with the aim to raise public consciousness about the assault on public education by pro-market and religious fundamentalist right-wing forces.
When Labor claimed victory in the Victorian elections, many of the smaller parties also celebrated their electoral success. The Greens won their first seat in Victoria’s Lower House, with the victory of Ellen Sandell over the incumbent Jennifer Kanis, the only Labor MP in the Legislative Assembly to lose a seat.
Sixteen concerned residents of Kuantan travelled all the way from Malaysia to Sydney to protest at the November 28 shareholders' annual general meeting of an Australian rare earth mining and refining company. Lynas Corporation's toxic refinery in the outskirts of Kuantan (population 700,000) on Malaysia's east coast is deeply unpopular with local residents and other concerned Malaysians who, together with Australian supporters, have mounted protests in Sydney at the past four AGMs.
The news came through on December 3, as I write this, that another grand jury has refused to indict a white cop for murdering an unarmed Black man. In this case, the murder was caught on video in New York City on July 17. The widely watched video, taken by a bystander, showed 43-year-old Black man Eric Garner being set upon by a group of cops for selling individual cigarettes on the street. One cop is seen putting Garner in a chokehold. The other cops pile on, and Gardener is choked to death. The cops then arrested the man who shot the video and his girlfriend.
The United Nations Committee Against Torture urged the United States on November 28 to investigate and prosecute police brutality and shootings of unarmed Black youth. The panel's first review of the US record on preventing torture since 2006 followed protests across the country after a November 24 grand jury decision not to charge officer Darren Wilson for the fatal shooting of unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.