Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN) released this statement on August 28. Peace activists across the nation are united in anger at the prospect of Australia joining the US in bombing targets in Syria. IPAN is a network of peace groups with affiliates in every state and territory. It has consistently opposed the use of military power to solve international problems and believes that Australia has lost its independence through too close an alliance with the US.
Members of Melbourne’s Kurdish community, along with Australian supporters, held a rally and march in Melbourne on August 29 to protest Turkey’s war against its Kurdish population. Speakers denounced the regime of President Recip Tayyip Erdogan for launching a war on the Kurds, who make up over a quarter of Turkey’s population. Kurdish cities, towns and villages have been savagely attacked by security forces. People have been killed in their homes, the death toll is rising and hundreds of Kurdish politicians and activists have been arrested.
A delegation of Garawa people from Borroloola and their supporters gathered on September 2 at Parliament House in Darwin to present the NT government with a petition. The petition, signed by 3600 people, calls on the government to shut down and clean up Glencore’s McArthur River lead and zinc mine upstream from Borroloola. Freedom of Information documents recently revealed that several government departments had been aware of the high levels of heavy metals leaking into the waterways for 18 months.
It very quickly became “Border Farce”. Within hours of the Australian Border Force — Prime Minister Tony Abbott's paramilitary amalgamation of the Customs Service and immigration department — announcing on August 28 that they would be joining the Victorian police and privatised public transport operators in Operation Fortitude to check the visa status of “anti-social” elements on the streets of Melbourne, hundreds of protesters had gathered at Flinders Street Station and social media had exploded in outrage.
Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance’s “World to Win” series aims to give voice to the ideas and demands of radical young people who are involved in the struggle to make the world a fairer and more just place. This week, Maryam Allami and Claire Thoen discuss the struggle of transgender people against systemic oppression and the possibilities of liberation. * * *
Carol Hucker worked on Manus Island as a counsellor for International Health and Medical Services (IHMS) and as a case worker for the Salvation Army from June 2013 to July last year. She has allowed Green Left Weekly to publish her account so that people can become more aware of what is happening on Manus Island. She said: “It is my hope that through this brief account the men on Manus will not be forgotten.” This is the second part of a multi-part series and covers September 2013. * * *
30,000 people marched in Vienna on August 31 to demonstrate against inhumane treatment of refugees. In less than a fortnight a series of tragedies took place on the borders of Europe, spurring a continent-wide debate over refugee policy. On August 26, about 200 refugees perished at sea as their ship capsized off the coast of Libya on its way to Italy.
The Refugee Action Coalition Sydney released this statement on September 1. A 25 year-old Burmese asylum seeker attempted suicide at Manus Island on August 31. The emergency unfolded over almost four hours as the man climbed onto the roof of Delta Compound around 3pm and made attempts to hang himself using bed sheets and electrical cable, before making a final attempt to jump just before 7pm. More than 50 Transfield and IHMS medical personnel were mobilised during the emergency.
The University of Wollongong has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the immigration department to provide training for Border Force officers in maritime border security. Under the terms of the MoU, the University’s Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security (ANCORS) will train Border Force officers in maritime enforcement, civil maritime security policy development, research and regional capacity building.
Whatever else he might be, John Dyson Heydon is no fool. When he accepted the job of royal commissioner inquiring into trade union governance and corruption, he knew what was expected of him. The commission was set up as a political witch-hunt into unions, designed to give the federal Coalition government an issue with which it thought it could win the next election. Heydon was happy to oblige and has been handsomely paid for doing so.
Malaysian democracy activists estimate that between 300,000 and half a million people peacefully took to the streets of the capital Kuala Lumpur for 34 hours from August 29 to 30. This is much larger than the previous mobilisations by the BERSIH (literally meaning “clean”) movement for free and fair elections.
Hundreds from across NSW gathered outside AGL's HQ on September 2 to mark the 100th week of a protest first initiated by Camden residents angry that AGL is allowed to frack near their homes. AGL first started fracking in Camden, south west Sydney, in 2001. Speakers included Jennifer Schoelpple, Anne Thompson, an original Knitting Nanna from the Northern Rivers, Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham and Julie Lyford, president of Groundswell Gloucester.
Gas company Metgasco is so determined to drill for unconventional gas in northern NSW it is prepared to make enemies of old friends — the NSW Coalition government. On September 1, Metgasco declared it was halting talks with Mike Baird's government and suing it for damages.