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Negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) were finally completed in Atlanta on October 5. Final agreement on the treaty had been delayed for years as negotiating countries tried to protect their own industries while trying to gain market access in others. The TPP was negotiated by countries on the Pacific Rim: the US, Australia, Singapore, New Zealand, Chile, Brunei, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Vietnam and Japan. These countries represent about 40% of global GDP.
This is part of a series of articles detailing the policies and platform the Socialist Alliance will be taking to the Federal election. * * * For tens of thousands of years, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples of this continent and its islands looked after the diverse ecosystems, developed complex languages and cultures, and traded among themselves and with visitors from overseas. They were strong, proud peoples.
Last week US religious figure Troy Newman, who campaigns against abortions, was denied entry into Australia on the grounds that he would be a danger to the community. Some are hailing his banning a victory for women's rights. But was it? Newman is the president of Operation Rescue, a right-wing misogynist organisation in the US dedicated to stopping women having abortions and doctors from performing them.
The abrupt arrival of this year's bush fire season should be taken as another warning of the urgency of tackling the climate change crisis. The El Nino phenomenon of severe droughts and flooding rains that will make this a more dangerous summer has been a part of longstanding weather patterns on the Australian continent. But research has shown that El Nino will double in frequency and severity as global warming increases.
A group of 20 refugee supporters staged a sit-in at the Department of Immigration and Border Protection on October 7. They were protesting the ongoing rapes and assaults against refugees on Nauru. The protesters occupied the office for about 90 minutes before police arrived. According to one of the demonstrators, the activists entered the building at about 10.30am and started chanting. The staff closed the reception area and called security, who filmed the demonstrators and told them to leave. When the activists refused to leave, the police were called.
A Queensland woman has won a High Court challenge against corporations owning human genes. Yvonne D’Arcy took her fight against US-based biotech company Myriad Genetics to Australia’s highest court. The company has a patent over the BRCA1 gene that is linked to an increased risk of hereditary breast and ovarian cancers. A Queensland woman has won a High Court challenge against corporations owning human genes.

The United States and 11 other Pacific Rim nations, including Australia, reached an agreement on October 5 on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the largest regional trade accord in history.

A new terror campaign aimed at young people — particularly Muslims — was launched in Sydney’s western suburbs following the fatal shootings of two people outside Parramatta police station on October 2. The tragic shooting of police technician Curtis Cheng by 15-year-old Farhad Khalil Mohammad Jabar and his shooting by special forces police have allowed fear-mongering politicians a new round of Muslim bashing. This time it is being led by the so-called “Mr Nice Guy” — New South Wales Premier Mike Baird.
The United Nations Climate Change Conference will take place in Paris between November 30 and December 11. By the time it starts, 2015 is almost certain to have beaten last year as the warmest year ever. This August has now been confirmed as the hottest August since records began in 1880. Other months this year that broke records were February, March, May, June and July.
The Queensland government did not prosecute gas company Santos over that state’s third largest oil spill despite the Department of Environment saying it had sufficient evidence, according to documents obtained by the Wilderness Society. About 250,000 litres of crude oil was spilled at Santos’s Zeus oil field in the Cooper Creek floodplain south of Windorah in May 2013. Santos took five days to stop the spill largely because it did not have contingency plans or experts in place and had to fly in an expert team from the United States.
The community campaigning organisation GetUp! recently emailed subscribers seeking donations so it could develop a pathway to 50% renewables by 2030. Fifty percent renewables by 2030 is also Labor's current target. While it is an improvement on Labor's previous policies, it is not sufficient. The South Australian government has a 50% renewables target by 2025; the ACT has 100% by 2025. We are facing a climate emergency, and Australia needs a rapid shift to renewable energy. Most climate campaigners have long called for 100% renewable energy, plus an end to coal exports.
About 50 people attended the Queensland Water Summit in Dalby on September 23. Despite its midweek timing, a wide range of people attended from across the state, including farmers threatened by increasingly severe drought and mining company pollution of their water sources, to community members, doctors and clergy from communities impacted by coal seam gas, underground coal gasification and coalmining. The summit was organised and funded by independent Senator Glenn Lazarus, who spoke briefly but mostly listened to the concerns raised by attendees.