Former police prosecutor Peter Murrihy is the new councillor for the Kildare ward after winning the recent by-election in the Greater Geelong Council. Murrihy defeated 10 other candidates to win the safe Liberal ward with 27.41% of the primary vote. Although Murrihy said he was politically unaffiliated, he received preferences from Liberal Party member Trent Sullivan. Much was made in the local media of the fact that Murrihy put forward no political promises or commitments during his campaign.
The federal government has withdrawn an offer to provide $4 million to any Australian university willing to host climate sceptic Bjorn Lomborg and his “Consensus Centre”.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.”
Radical Ideas is a 3-day conference of discussion, debate and ideas for radical change, from December 4-6 in Sydney. We are lucky to have a number of guest speakers confirmed so far, including well-known campaigners involved in various movements and Socialist Alliance and Resistance: Young Socialist Alliance activists.
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."
The latest World Bank Global Monitoring Report boasted that only 9.6% of the world's population — 702 million people — are forecast to be living in extreme poverty in 2015, 200 million fewer than in 2012. And this even with the WB now raising its official poverty line from the 2008 US$1.25 a day level to US$1.90. WB president Jim Yong Kim declared that the world has a good chance of ending extreme poverty by 2030.
The onset of the Global Financial Crisis can be dated to July 2007, when two Bear Stearns hedge funds holding almost US$10 billion in mortgage-backed securities collapsed. That same month, bankers at Lehman Brothers paid themselves $US5.7 billion in bonuses. Little more than a year later, Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy with debts of $US613 billion. It was the largest bankruptcy in history.
The Anti-Poverty Network South Australia hosted a conference, “Speak Out! Stand Up! Ideas, Stories, and Action Against Poverty” on October 16 and 17. The event, part of the nation-wide anti-poverty week of activities from October 11 to 17, was a unique gathering of activists, community workers and welfare recipients who face constant attacks on their rights as they struggle with below-poverty-line incomes and few job openings. Significantly, it was the only anti-poverty week event organised and run by low-income people.
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.”
A student occupation demanding that the University of Tasmania (UTAS) divest its $300 million portfolio from the fossil fuel industry has entered its second week. The sit-in outside the university vice-chancellor's office began on October 14, and is part of a nationwide campaign calling on other universities to do the same. Fossil Free UTAS released a statement on October 19 saying: “We are here to demand that the university gets off fossil fuels because it will save students' money today and because it is the morally right thing to do.”
Staff at Lady Cilento Children's Hospital in Brisbane have followed in the footsteps of colleagues at Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital and called for the immediate release of children being held in immigration detention centres.
Hundreds joined snap protests across the country, and more than 50,000 signed a petition, within days of Somali refugee Abyan being sent back to Nauru. Abyan became pregnant as a result of being raped while in detention on Nauru. Despite being flown to Australia on October 12 to discuss a planned termination with doctors, Abyan was sent back against her will and without receiving any medical attention.
Rather than reducing traffic congestion in Sydney, a report commissioned by the Leichhardt Council has found that the giant WestConnex tollway project will increase traffic problems in the city's inner west. The report, which analysed the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the M4 East component of WestConnex — a tunnel from Concord to Ashfield — was released on October 20.
Around eight anti-racist protesters drowned out the media conference of Dutch Islamophobe Geert Wilders outside WA parliament house on October 21. We chanted: "Say it loud, say it clear, racism's not welcome here!" WA police sided with the Wilders brigade at every key point in the demonstration.
Green Left Weekly is launching a major subscription drive from this issue until the end of the year. We want to get Australia's best socialist weekly newspaper out into the hands of more readers over the next eight weeks. Why? Because in a period of heightened right-wing attacks on civil liberties and free speech, the truth about defending the interests of the people must get out there even more broadly.
Staff of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's department have overwhelmingly rejected an enterprise bargaining agreement offer in a ballot which finished on October 18. Public servants at the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) voted no to a management offer which attacked their rights, conditions and real wages. About 76% of staff participated in the ballot. The result is a further nail in the coffin of the federal Coalition government's industrial relations policy towards its own workforce.
Around 100 members of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) rallied at the Sydney Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay on October 9 to oppose harsh exploitation of crews aboard Royal Caribbean cruise ships, and demand the right of employees and linesmen on the dock to be union members. Sydney MUA secretary Paul McAleer told the rally: "This cruise company imposes a huge level of exploitation on its crews, including underpayment and poor conditions on board. Up to now, the company and the shipping agents, Port Jackson Holdings, have refused to allow port workers to join the union.