1045

After Cyclone Pam caused widespread destruction on Vanuatu, a South Pacific archipelago, on March 14, Prime Minister Baldwin Lonsdale said the devastating cyclones increasingly hitting his nation were directly linked to climate change.
Student activists dropped a huge banner from Sydney University’s Fisher Library which read "No cuts, no fees, no dereg. Fightback now!" to raise the alarm about the federal government’s looming attempt to deregulate university fees. Six students also locked themselves to the Vice-Chancellor's office, to demonstrate their opposition, and called on all university Vice-Chancellors to oppose the bill.
I take issue with Ben Courtice’s and Emma Murphy’s criticism of my review of Bill Gammage’s book, The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia in the January 28 Green Left Weekly. I have two major arguments with their criticism. First, Gammage has made a major contribution to our understanding of how Aboriginal Australians cared for the land for more than 60,000 years right across the continent.
US bars UN torture investigator from jails and Guantanamo The United Nations special investigator on the use of torture criticised the US on March 11 for stalling for over two years in granting the international human rights body access to inmates at Guantanamo Bay and other federal US prisons.
The following statement was released by Aid/Watch, an independent monitor of international aid and trade, on March 5. * * * Australia spends $577 million a year on aid for Papua New Guinea (PNG). Two key focus areas are anti-corruption related — law and justice, and governance. PNG has concurrently undertaken a number of national processes to combat corruption without Australian support.
Experience proves that left-wing movements can win government, but nevertheless not hold power. Democracy, in other words the exercise of power by the people and for the people, requires much more. The problem is now being faced in Greece with with radical left party SYRIZA, which won elections in January. It will have to be faced in Spain if the new anti-austerity party Podemos wins November elections.
In This Changes Everything, author Naomi Klein raises the question of how capitalist societies will “adapt” to the people made homeless and jobless by increasingly intense and frequent natural disasters. One of the issues she focuses on is the reaction of insurance companies, pointing out that the chief executive officer of Swiss Re America admits that climate change is “what keeps us up at night”.
Grrl Fest is an independent multi-platform music and arts event, celebrating and empowering women-identified artists. This year, the Melbourne event will be celebrating its third year. Grrl Fest will be held on March 21 at the Northcote Town Hall. There will be an outdoor venue, markets, music, workshops, cocktails and cabaret. The venue is a change up from the dusty warehouse beginnings of Grrl Fest.
About 1000 Aboriginal rights activists shut down Melbourne’s CBD on March 13 in a protest against the WA government’s plan to close 150 of the state’s 274 remote Indigenous communities. The communities house more than 12,000 Aboriginal people. Protest organier Meriki Onus, a member of Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance, said Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s comments that living in remote communities was a “lifestyle choice” were “blatantly racist”.
Some 20,000 people marched through central London on Saturday, in the Time to Act! protest, demanding that climate change be taken seriously by political parties in the coming General Election. Time to Act!, launched by the Campaign Against Climate Change, brought together a wide coalition of environmental and left wing organisations. The march was young, vibrant and diverse: placards from the Greens, Socialist Worker and Left Unity mixed with banners and flags from Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, the Peoples’ Assembly and trade unions.
A month after the Labor landslide electoral victory, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has begun to fine-tune her government’s opposition to the sale of public assets. The sale of public assets caused the demise of both the previous Labor and Liberal-National Party governments. The Palaszczuk Labor government was elected on a platform of halting the proposed sale of state assets, such as electricity and ports.
In much the same way that the Tony Abbott government’s attacks on Gillian Triggs deflected media attention away from the horrific substance of the Human Rights Commission’s report on children living in detention, his “lifestyle choices” comment this week ensured the media has paid little attention to the government’s cuts to Aboriginal services.
The recent 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz was a reminder of the great crime of fascism, whose Nazi iconography is embedded in our consciousness. Fascism is preserved as history, as flickering footage of goose-stepping blackshirts, their criminality terrible and clear. Yet in the same liberal societies, whose war-making elites urge us never to forget, the accelerating danger of a modern kind of fascism is suppressed; for it is their fascism.
An Aboriginal encampment returned to Matagarup (also known as Heirisson Island) on March 1. Police moved in on March 13 to close it down but were unsuccessful.
The NSW government’s decision to buy back coal seam gas (CSG) licences in the upper Hunter just before a state election raises more questions than it answers.
A largely unknown region to the rest of the world became one of the most talked about globally in recent months. Kobane is a town that suffered a too-harsh fate. Innocent civilians never think that one day they would face massacres — except that being a Kurd in a town like Kobane (in a largely Kurdish area in the north-west of the Syrian state), means you face such things.

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