Anti-Poverty Network SA hosted the “Stand Up! Speak Out!” conference in Adelaide on October 16 and 17. The grassroots gathering of welfare recipients, community workers and activists from South Australian and Victorian groups was part of Anti-Poverty Week. One of the highlights was the “War On The Poor” session. Rob Graham from Green Left Weekly and Pas Forgione from Anti-Poverty Network SA spoke to Owen Bennett from the Australian Unemployed Workers' Union and Kerry Arch from the Australian United Sole Parents Network about the attacks on welfare recipients.
“If it were ever completed, WestConnex would be the biggest underground motorway system anywhere in the world and certainly, per kilometre, the most expensive,” states the October edition of EcoTansit News. “Yet it won’t solve Sydney’s traffic problems and instead, will take much-needed funding away from other, integrated public transport. It just doesn’t add up!”
Radical solutions to poverty were put forward at a public conversation titled “Pushed to the Margins” held at the Newcastle City Hall on October 21. The ABC’s Lateline co-presenter Emma Alberici hosted the forum and seemed to be taken aback by economist Professor Bill Mitchell’s simple solutions to poverty. Asked by Alberici, “What causes unemployment?”, Mitchell responded: “Lack of jobs”. Mitchell went on to advocate a “job guarantee”, where the government funds job creation through a massive programme of productive public works.
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 Weekly to publish her account so that people can become more aware of what is happening in Australia’s offshore detention centres. She said: “It is my hope that through this brief account the men on Manus will not be forgotten.” This is the eight part of a multi-part series and covers her time there in June and July 2014. * * *
Iranian refugee Majid Rabet could not hold back his tears as he recounted the details of the suicide of his best friend, an Iraqi refugee, in Villawood Detention Centre. “I was the first person who went in the bathroom and saw he hanged himself. I lifted him upwards to keep him alive, but he was already dead,” Majid said.
The Refugee Action Collective Victoria has filed a complaint at the International Criminal Court over the Australian government’s treatment of asylum seekers and refugees. The complaint requests the ICC to investigate and prosecute ministers and former ministers of the Australian government, specifically former prime minister Tony Abbott, former immigration minister Scott Morrison, current immigration minister Peter Dutton, and attorney-general George Brandis.
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) announced on October 27 that it will join the movement to screen out fossil fuel interests from its investment portfolio. It will also look for ethical investment opportunities in renewable energy. It is the first Australian union to commit to divest from fossil fuels, and follows its decision to adopt a position on ethical investment at its national meeting held in Melbourne, October 8-10. The union represents tens of thousands working at tertiary education institutions around the country.
The United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimated in 2011 that carbon dioxide emissions had to be limited to 1000 gigatons to have a two-thirds chance of keeping global warming below 2°C. By mid-October, there were more than 100,000 fires raging in the Indonesian provinces of Sumatra and Kalimantan that had released an estimated 995 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere over the past four months. This is just short of 1 gigaton.