1055

The University of Sydney has found no grounds to dismiss Associate Professor Jake Lynch as director of the university’s Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, following its investigation into possible breaches of its code of conduct. Lynch will keep his job and has been cleared of serious misconduct after an investigation into a campus protest left him facing dismissal. This follows an announcement by the university in April clearing Lynch of accusations of anti-Semitism.
Exorbitant gas and electricity bills are threatening Victorian living standards. The Essential Services Commission (ESC) of Victoria reported that more than 34,000 households were disconnected from essential utilities in 2013/14. The residential electricity disconnection rate increased this year to 1.47 disconnections per 100 customers, a 36% increase on the 1.07 disconnections in 2012/13. The ESC also reported an increase in the gas disconnection rate to 1.33 disconnections per 100 customers, a 42% increase on the rate in 2012/13.
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.
A new enterprise bargaining agreement reached by the Shop, Distributive & Allied Employees’ Association (SDA) is set to leave thousands of low-paid workers worse off, according to detailed analysis conducted by union official Josh Cullinan, the May 24 Sydney Morning Herald said. “Cullinan, who works for the National Tertiary Education Union, did the analysis in a personal capacity, estimated Coles could be saving more than $20 million a year in wages by underpaying its staff.
The township of Camberwell in the Hunter Valley and Camberwell coalmine in the background. Early this month, Beyond Zero Emissions published a report called Fossil Economy, which highlighted the potential economic risks to Australia because of its heavy dependence on fossil fuel exports.
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. * * *
Last week, the Gippsland environment group Goongerah Environment Centre (GEC) was shortlisted for the prestigious United Nations World Environment Day Awards in the Habitat Restoration and Biodiversity category. The announcement came as the Victorian government was threatening to prosecute GEC volunteers for exposing an illegal rainforest logging operation.
A 59-year-old Aboriginal man died in Darwin on May 21 while being held under controversial new “paperless arrest laws”. These laws give police the powers to arrest people for summary offences — such as “obscenity”, undue noise, offensive language — and hold them for up to four hours at a time. In NSW, a program that has been proved to prevent Aboriginal deaths in custody has lost funding under the federal government’s ironically named Indigenous Advancement Strategy.
This month, the Radioactive Exposure (RAD) Tour will travel almost 5000 kilometres through three states exposing the reality of radioactive racism, the impacts of uranium mining, radioactive waste and nuclear expansion. The Rad Tour is a wild ride. It bundles activists, campaigners and anyone with an interest in learning about the nuclear industry into buses to travel dusty desert roads and long highways on a journey through Australia’s nuclear landscape.
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.
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.
Marriage Equality has come to Ireland through a popular referendum. The result was hailed by the May 23 New York Times as placing Ireland “at the vanguard of social change”. This will be surprising to many, considering Ireland is a country in which transgender status is not recognised by the state, abortion is illegal, gay couples are denied access to surrogacy, unmarried couples cannot adopt, and homosexuality was decriminalised as recently as 1994.
On May 19, the federal government’s Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption released a 116-page discussion paper recommending a swathe of new attacks on union rights. The proposals give the clearest indication so far of the likely outcome of the expensive inquisition into the union movement when the commission releases its findings in December. The document presents little more than a sweeping wish list of restrictions on the rights of union officials and the ability of unions to carry out their work to benefit members.
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.
JAPANESE ZOOS TO BAN TAIJI DOLPHINS In a decision heralded as “the beginning of the end of dolphin hunting”, Japan’s peak zoo association has voted to stop members buying dolphins captured in the globally condemned Taiji hunts. The decision came after a decade of sustained pressure and a lawsuit begun by animal welfare charity Australia for Dolphins, which led the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) to suspend its Japanese member due to its involvement in the hunts.
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.

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