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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Near the heartland of New Zealand’s renowned wine country, there is a place where visitors are not allowed to go. The peculiar large white domes that protrude from the earth in the Waihopai Valley are surrounded by razor wire and shrouded in secrecy.

To date, Vice-Chancellor of University of Technology Sydney (UTS) Attila Brungs has supported Prime Minister Tony Abbott's fee deregulation legislation. Last year he said fee deregulation “could have some positive impacts” and result in “teaching quality going up”. Arguing that it is positive that students finish their course with $100,000 debt is a hard sell, and Brungs felt the heat as students at UTS signed petitions calling on him to oppose it.

In response to US President Barack Obama’s use of an executive order to sanction Venezuelan authorities, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro requested decree powers to pass an “anti-imperialist law to prepare for all scenarios”. On March 11, a majority of Venezuela's National Assembly voted in favour. The bill, which must be approved by 60% of the Assembly according to Venezuela’s constitution, will now move on to a second reading to obtain final approval.

GREEK ELECTIONS REPORT BACK GLW correspondent Dick Nichols reported from Athens during the Greek elections and will speak on SYRIZA and the fight against austerity. Perth: Wednesday March 18, 12.30pm Hosted by Murdoch University Resistance club. Murdoch University. Phone Gavin 0451 919 680. Perth: Thursday March 19, 6pm, Perth Activist Centre, 15/509 Aberdeen St. $6/$4 conc. Phone 9218 9608 or email perth@socialist-alliance.org. Sydney: Saturday March 21, 3pm, Resistance Centre, 22 Mountain St, Ultimo
Australian groups have condemned the decision of US President Barack Obama to issue an executive order on March 9 declaring Venezuela “a national security emergency” and imposing sanctions on Venezuelan officials. Australia-Venezuela Solidarity Network co-convenor Roberto Jorquera said: “We are extremely concerned at this latest escalation in US attacks on the sovereign nation of Venezuela. We share the concern of the Venezuelan government and many others that this could be a prelude to an economic blockade or even military attack.
A couple of weeks ago I was campaigning with Green Left Weekly at our regular Friday afternoon Central station tunnel spot. It’s a pretty frenetic spot as hundreds of people bustle past every minute, eager to catch their trains and get home or out for the night.
This month two reports were released in Canberra. The first was an important analysis of economic data, the 2014 national accounts issued by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. What Australia’s national accounts show is an economy in deep trouble. As David Harvey reminds us, to function satisfactorily it is necessary for capitalist economies to achieve a minimum 3% compound growth forever.
Staff at the University of NSW took industrial action on March 11 in response to stalled enterprise bargaining negotiations. The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) is seeking a pay rise of 3.5%, employment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and greater job security, including opportunities for permanence for casual staff, some of whom have been employed on a casual basis for many years. Classes were cancelled for the day and about 100 NTEU members and students picketed six gates around the campus.
Refugees on Nauru have defied government and police attempts to ban protesting, as the United Nations adds to the growing body of evidence that Australia's asylum policy is violating human rights. The Refugee Action Coalition (RAC) said 300 refugees held a peaceful protest on March 11, “just one week after Nauruan police staged mass arrests on the island in a bid to stifle the campaign of non-cooperation being waged by the refugees”.
It increasingly seems these days that we don't have a prime minister, we have an instant Internet meme creator. In fact, I am starting think that Tony Abbott is proving so good at generating outrage and bemused laughter in equal measures that he might actually be a left-wing plant. How else could he prove so useless at actually pushing the hard-right, pro-rich, anti-poor, socially reactionary agenda he claims to stand for?

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