Books are lives compressed, humanity summarised into screaming or striking stories. One would think the book world would be a safe haven from inequality. But instead the traditional publishing industry — the big corporate publishers — is perpetuating prejudice and limiting ideas by elevating certain authors, characters, and thoughts above all others, with significant social consequences.
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.
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 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 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 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.
A leaked management briefing from New South Wales government-owned electricity network business Ausgrid has revealed a plan to slash jobs, close local depots, axe apprenticeships, sell off state-of-the-art training facilities and outsource call centres all in the lead-up to the privatisation of the company. The state government is committed to selling off 50.4% of Ausgrid on a 99-year lease in 2016.
South America’s largest country, Brazil, has been rocked in recent months by a political crisis, partly fuelled by mass protests calling for the removal of centre-left President Dilma Rousseff. The protests come as the country officially moves into recession, with Brazil’s economy expected to contract by 2% this year. Brazil has been governed by a Workers’ Party (PT)-led coalition for over a decade, firstly under Luiz Ignacio “Lula” da Silva and now Dilma, as she is commonly known.
In an embarrassing twist in one of the few prosecutions to come from the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption, the ACT Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) will drop a blackmail charge against Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) organiser John Lomax. ACT DPP Jon White confirmed his office would offer no evidence against Lomax when he next appears in court on October 19.
The 23rd Ernie awards for sexist behaviour were held late last month. The peak body for soccer, Football Federation Australia, took out the Gold Ernie for the gross pay gap between male and female soccer players. When the Socceroos won the Asian Cup each player was paid $103,148. In contrast, if the Matildas had won the World Cup, they would have been paid $5600 each. The Socceroos receive a $6000 base payment for every international game, while the Matildas get just $500.
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.
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.