Dozens of members and officials of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) rallied at the Block on May 26to show support for the Redfern Aboriginal Tent Embassy (RATE) and its ongoing struggle for social housing for the Aboriginal community. They were also there to oppose the Aboriginal Housing Corporation’s attempt to evict the embassy from the site. The eviction notice for the embassy had come into effect that day.
Washington DC was the converging point for some of the world’s most oppressive regimes on May 13 and 14, when President Barack Obama hosted a billionaire conglomerate known as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The group consists of the Middle Eastern countries of Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE and Oman. The cosy US-GCC relationship exemplifies the twisted nature of US foreign policy, especially in regards to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has been accused of human rights violations against its own citizens, including political activists, journalists, and women.
The residents of Perth’s southern suburbs are fighting to stop construction of the Perth Freight Link (PFL), a $1.6 billion segment of the federal government’s national infrastructure program. The fight is as significant as Sydney’s struggle to stop WestConnex and Melbourne’s struggle against the East West Link.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has turned playing the national security card into a cliche in his desperate attempt to reverse his unpopularity by promising to protect Australians' lives from a serious threat of terrorism. On May 26, he again gave a press conference in front of half a dozen Australian flags, arguing that stopping Australians from being harmed by terrorists was his government's overriding priority and foreshadowing announcements in the coming parliamentary sitting week of a new round of legislation attacking fundamental civil liberties.
Newcastle based group Hunter Asylum Seeker Advocacy (HASA) held a successful fundraiser for the asylum seekers who have been given so-called 'residency' on Nauru. Earlier this year one of the asylum seekers had opened up a Pakistani restaurant in Nauru. HASA asked The Love Tree Cafe in Newcastle if they could host a solidarity dinner there, following the recipes of the Pakistani restaurant. To their astonishment, The Love Tree not only agreed to do it, but did so gratis. Staff volunteered their time, and the venue and food were provided free to maximise the returns.
On May 28 members and supporters of Climate Action Moreland rallied to urge the government to close Hazelwood power station. Hazelwood is Australia’s dirtiest power station. Burning brown coal in Hazelwood creates 15% of Victoria’s greenhouse pollution, a huge 16 million tonnes a year. It uses 27 billion litres of water a year, and it's Australia’s biggest emitter of dangerous dioxins. It is old, inefficient and hopelessly out-of-date.
In 1939, as Europe stood on the verge of all-out war, Nazi Germany, true to their promise, had issued and implemented 400 different decrees for the regulation of the public and private lives of Jews. Their properties were confiscated, and their businesses and synagogues were burned down. These laws effectively purged Jews from schools, academia, business and public life, and declared them “undesirables”. Many Jews were forced to seek asylum in other Western countries.
If you listen to most Western politicians you could be forgiven for thinking that refugees are a pesky annoyance, greedy “economic refugees” from the Third World illegitimately trying to break into this wealthy country. Their now monotonously routine scapegoating of refugees for the pain and insecurity that more and more people feel, even in the richest countries in the world, translates into plain abuse out there in the public.
The Baird Coalition government is rushing its legislation for the privatisation of NSW power assets through the Legislative Assembly, without waiting for the report of the Legislative Council’s inquiry into the sell-off, due on June 2. The move to fast track the bill before the inquiry, chaired by Christian Democrat leader Fred Nile, releases its report, exposes the inquiry as a sham, according to Greens NSW MLC John Kaye. Premier Mike Baird has ridden roughshod over the process and denied the public a proper investigation into the long-term impacts of the sale.
Australian lawmakers are set to begin debating marriage equality, and the anti-equality brigade is not happy at all. The Australian Christian Lobby’s managing director Lyle Shelton is the public face of the campaign against marriage equality in Australia. I certainly don’t agree with him on everything, but I do agree with his motto, which can be aptly summarised by Helen Lovejoy’s catchphrase, “won’t somebody please think of the children.” But for once in my life I should make a minor confession: I mostly agree out of pure narcissism. This is my open letter to Shelton. * * *
ADELAIDE Watch a film with us: Class Dismissed: How TV Frames the Working Class on Saturday June 20 at 6.30pm. The film examines whether TV portrayals of the working class are accurate, and how they affect the ways viewers think and behave. Salvation Army Worship and Community Centre, 70 Marion St, Unley. Ph Matthew Buckley 0406 822 894. BRISBANE March at a rally to welcome refugees on Saturday June 20 at 11am. King George Square. Ph Paul 3392 3843. Email. CAIRNS
Socialist Alliance’s Sue Bolton spoke to Green Left Weekly’s Dave Holmes about her work as an elected socialist local councillor in Moreland, a municipality in Melbourne. This is the fourth in a series of interviews with Bolton. You can find the whole interview at links.org.au. * * *