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.
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.
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.
ADELAIDE Learn at Students of Sustainability: Nourishing our roots, an annual environment and social justice conference, on Wednesday July 8 to Sunday July 12. Flinders University. Visit studentsofsustainability.org. CANBERRA Come to a conference: Queer Collaborations on Tuesday July 7 to Sunday July 12. The theme for this year is “Queer at Heart”. The Australian National University, East Rd, Acton. Visit qcanu2015.com. MELBOURNE
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.
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.
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”.
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.”
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.
Sydney protest in solidarity with Greece, June 28. Photo by Peter Boyle Protests are being planned in the Australian cities of Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Armidale and Brisbane in coming days in support of the Greek people and its elected SYRIZA-led government.