1074

Canadians elected a new national government on October 19, with new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal Party winning 184 seats out of 338. The hated Conservative Party of Prime Minister Stephen Harper came in second place with 99 seats. The historically left-wing New Democratic Party won 44 seats.
Most people think that democracy and elections are pretty much the same thing. The truth is that any meaningful push for genuine democracy would require a lot more than just electoral reform. The change of prime minister from Tony Abbott to Malcolm Turnbull shows that a change of leader means very little in terms of actual policy change. And this is not because the policies they push are popular. We need a change of government: not just a change from the Liberals to Labor, but a change from corporate power to people power.
Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva said he will not allow a coalition of left parties to form a government, despite the fact that they won an outright majority in October 4 parliamentary elections - on grounds it would "violate" existing commitments to the European Union.
Foreign journalists are not welcome in Nauru. This is because of the erosion of rule of law and national sovereignty that has occurred as a result of the tiny and impoverished nation's government hiring out the island as a location for one of Australia's concentration camps for refugees. The point of locating the camps on remote Pacific Islands is so that the deliberate ill-treatment of refugees — which is what “deterrence” means — can happen out of sight and beyond the meagre protection of Australian law.
Khodayar Amini, an Afghan Hazara asylum seeker who feared immigration authorities were planning to put him back in detention, has died after set himself alight on October 18. Amini had been released from Yongah Hill detention centre in Western Australia on a bridging visa after more than two years in detention. Shortly before killing himself, Amini spoke via video phone to Sarah Ross and Michelle Bui from the Refugee Rights Action Network (WA), telling them that he would rather kill himself rather than go back to detention.
Hundreds gathered outside the Immigration Department office in Melbourne on October 19, chanting, “Bring back Abyan” and “Close Nauru, close Manus”. Rallies were also held that day outside Immigration Department offices in Sydney and Darwin. In Brisbane, protesters targeted immigration minister Peter Dutton's office on October 21. Protests were also held in Canberra, Sydney and Perth on October 23 and Melbourne on October 24.
Ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference scheduled for December in Paris, federal resources minister Josh Frydenberg has sought to invoke “a strong moral case” to justify his government's green lighting of the Carmichael mega-coalmine in the Galilee Basin. However, his argument is as spurious as the economic justifications made by Adani and federal and Queensland governments in support of the project.
New revelations shed light on the cruelty being inflicted on refugees in Australia's offshore detention centres. They come just days after the Department of Immigration and Border Protection sent a pregnant Somali refugee woman back to Nauru where she had been raped. Abyan, as she is known, was transferred to Villawood detention centre on October 11 from Nauru where she was going to speak with doctors about her desire for a termination.
The Zero Carbon Australia: Renewable Energy Superpower report published by Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) is now available. Author Gerard Drew and a brigade of contributors provide much detailed technical evidence that demonstrates the potential for Australia in a global transition away from reliance on fossil fuels.
By indulging in an ignorant and absurd sledge of the wind industry, NSW Minister for Medical Research Pru Goward is doing yet more damage to the future of this vital energy source, said Greens NSW MP John Kaye. His remarks came in response to comments by Goward reported in the October 20 Sydney Morning Herald supporting claims that wind farms caused headaches and other sickness. "Minister Goward is allowing her flirtation with the worst aspects of internet-based hysteria and non-science to stand uncorrected."
Climate Guardian Angels took over the rooftop of environment minister Greg Hunt's office in Hastings, Victoria, on October 16 to protest his approval of Adani's Carmichael coalmine. Climate Guardian co-convener Dr Liz Conor said, “To be actively expanding Australia's coal export industry now is beyond irresponsible; it is staggeringly negligent. It will consign our children and theirs to a volatile, dangerous climate system, with far-reaching repercussions for their lives.”
The federal government has withdrawn an offer to provide $4 million to any Australian university willing to host climate sceptic Bjorn Lomborg and his “Consensus Centre”. Staff at Flinders University in Adelaide, where management had been considering the proposal, welcomed the news. National Tertiary Education Union Flinders University branch president Ron Slee said, “Today's decision is a welcome relief for a university community that has been relentless in its campaign to protect against the reputational damage that would inevitably travel with the Lomborg money.”