Canadian activist and author of This Changes Everything: Capitalism versus Climate Naomi Klein spoke to a packed audience at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas, Sydney Opera House on September 5. This is an edited transcript of her speech. Klein and Avi Lewis’ film This Changes Everything is about to be released. ***
The Papua New Guinean police has called for the extradition of two Australians implicated in the murder of asylum seeker Reza Berati at Australia’s Manus Island detention centre. But there is no sign that the two will return to face justice. The call comes as the trial of the two Papua New Guineans charged with his wilful murder is listed to begin in Lorengau, the largest town on Manus Island.
Carol Hucker worked in Manus Island Detention Centre 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 Weeklyto 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 fifth part of a multi-part series and covers November 2013 to January 2014. * * *
A coalition of refugee activists, lawyers, unionists and church groups, called No Business in Abuse, has formed to apply pressure on Transfield Services, the main contractor in Australia’s offshore detention facilities. The campaign aims to “dry up” Transfield’s opportunities for expansion by signing individuals and businesses up to a pledge not to work with businesses that profit from the detention industry. As the lead contractor for the Australian funded detention camps on Nauru and Manus Island, Transfield has already faced a separate campaign of divestments.
Disciples of Fred Nile and his Christian Democrat Party (CDP) gathered in Belmore Park in Sydney on September 20 to convince each other that their anti-marriage equality stance is right. They were supported by police, who facilitated their bigoted ranting and kept marriage equality protestors as far away as possible.
About 500 people attended Geelong’s first marriage equality rally on September 19. It was largely a young crowd with the visible presence of the local Socialist Alliance branch, the Greens, local Deakin University students, and the Geelong Adolescent Sexuality Project, a local support service for LGBTI youth.
Unionists rallied in Melbourne on September 23 to defend penalty rates as employers, such as the Australian Hotels Association, demanded the Fair Work Commission cut weekend penalty rates. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is considering reducing Sunday penalty rates. Australian Industry Group CEO Innes Willox told 3AW on September 23 that there were concerns about penalty rates because they were a "cost to employment”. “Sundays are not hugely different to any other day, but there still should be a reward for working weekends”, said Willox. “Employers recognise that."
More than 1000 people rallied on September 20 to declare Victoria free of coal seam gas. Sixty-seven communities have already declared themselves gasfield free. Many regional councils across Victoria are also opposed to coal seam gas. The rally vowed to stop unconventional gas drilling, or fracking, from gaining a foothold and demanded the state government ban unconventional gas in Victoria. Drew Hutton, from Lock The Gate Alliance, said: “This is an historic moment. This state is officially going to become a gasfield-free state.
“When it comes to technology policy, [now Prime Minister] Malcolm Turnbull has been a disaster. The Member for Wentworth will be remembered as Australia's worst ever Communications Minister — the man who single handedly demolished the NBN [National Broadband Network] and put a polite face on draconian Data Retention and Internet Piracy Laws.”