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Website blocking legislation aimed at curbing Australian's access to online piracy was passed by the senate on June 21. The Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Act 2015 allows copyright holders to seek a Federal Court injunction to block websites they deem to have copyright infringement as their "primary purpose". The bill passed with bipartisan support and was opposed by Senators Ricky Muir, Glenn Lazarus, David Leyonhjelm and the Greens. Greens Senator Scott Ludlam put a series of amendments to minimise the most drastic elements but these were voted down.
Institutional corruption and lack of governance are serious issues requiring forensic and transparent public examination both in Australia and throughout the rich world. The global economy has been stagnant since 2008, thanks to unregulated financial derivative markets estimated at the time at one quadrillion (one million billion) US dollars. Betting on interest rates and foreign exchange rates accounted for more than half of this amount.
Locals and participants in the Radioactive Exposure Tour gathered to say no to Alkane's rare earths mine, on July 1. The mine, at Toongi, 30 kilometers south of Dubbo, will commence operation towards the end of the year. Uranium will not be sold, but it will be dug up and stored on site in a tailings dam, along with other toxic substances.
On June 24 about 150 people attended a forum organised by the Refugee Action Collective, Labor for Refugees and the Refugee Advocacy Network on the theme “How can we get Labor to oppose offshore detention?” Australian Council of Trade Unions president Ged Kearney told the meeting that the ACTU has recently adopted a stronger policy on refugees, based on recognition that “seeking asylum is a human right”.
There is standing room only at Singleton Diggers Club. People in hi-vis vests take turns with supporters of the village of Bulga giving short speeches to a panel of commissioners of the Planning Assessment Commission (PAC). At stake is the extension of a Rio Tinto coalmine. If it gets the green light, Saddleback Ridge, which buffers Bulga from the present noise and coal dust, will go. The 110 Aboriginal sacred sites will go. The amenity of rural life for the people of Bulga-Milbrodale and their belief in justice will go.
We, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with the people of Greece and the SYRIZA-led government as they prepare for a referendum on July 5, 2015, on whether to accept the continuation of the program of neoliberal austerity or chart a new course free from the debilitating stranglehold of the Troika — the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank, and the European Commission. We support the call of SYRIZA for a “no vote” as the only option for the people of Greece, especially the working classes, to assert sovereign control over the country's economy and their own future.
The ALBA bloc, comprised of 12 Latin American and Caribbean nations, expressed its support to Greece, as the Mediterranean country continues to renegotiate its debt with eurozone lenders. In a statement June 28, the bloc, which calls itself a “People’s Trade Treaty,” said it stands with the Greek people and the SYRIZA government against the "destructive consequences of neoliberal transnational capital," which regional organization said looks to subvert Greek democracy through financial measures.
Under NSW government changes to TAFE called Smart and Skilled, many refugees are finding it difficult to study. While people with a permanent resident visa are allowed to study at TAFE, they are not eligible for VET-FEE HELP — the federal government loan that offers access to cover the cost of rising fees. Emmanuel Bakenga, a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo, lives in Wollongong and works part time for Green Connect, a social enterprise that employs resettled refugees to grow vegetables, keep waste out of landfill and turn food waste into compost.
The message from the mainstream media and parties across Europe is Greece is to blame for its own predicament. But a growing grass-roots movement across the continent is pushing for an alternative approach that demands democracy, not austerity. In a speech to the Belgian parliament on June 10, conservative Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel declared that “the end of the Greek holiday has sounded.”
Below Average The Funkoars www.thefunkoars.com Half-way through The Funkoars' set at The Basement in Sydney, the band suddenly announce that they are going to bring a "very special guest" on stage. Their fans, who were already acting like a bunch of unhinged lunatics, start roaring like they've been freed from the asylum. Who could it be? Perhaps their label mate from Golden Era Records, Aboriginal hip-hop heavyweight Briggs? Maybe their label bosses, Australia's most popular hip-hop act, the Hilltop Hoods?

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