The Northern Territory has the highest rate of youth detention in the country, six times the national average. Of those detained in the juvenile justice system 97% are Aboriginal youth. There have been a number of reports and investigations in the past two years into the treatment of Aboriginal youth in custody. They show that by deliberate design and policy Aboriginal youth are treated in a barbarous, inhumane and illegal way.
Captain Arthur Phillip took formal possession of the colony of New South Wales and raised the flag for the first time in Sydney Cove on January 26, 1788. In the early 1880s the day was known as “First Landing”, “Anniversary Day” or “Foundation Day”. In 1946 the Commonwealth and state governments agreed to unify the celebrations on January 26 and call it “Australia Day”.
Two forest activists protesting against the clearfelling of native forest in north-western Tasmania have become the first people charged under the state's controversial anti-protest laws. John Henshaw and Jessica Hoyt were part of a group of nine protesters who walked on to a Forestry Tasmania coup at Lapoinya, 37 kilometers from Burnie on January 18. About 70 other protesters have gathered at the entrance to the coup for the past week to oppose the logging.
Sea Shepherd has announced it will join the Great Australian Bight Alliance to fight BP’s proposal to drill for oil in the Great Australian Bight. They will join the Wilderness Society, Oil Free Seas Kangaroo Island, elders from the Mirning and Kokatha people and the Clean Bight Alliance Australia. BP wants to drill four deep-water exploration wells between 1000 and 2500 metres deep, about 300 kilometres south-west of Ceduna. The Alliance fears an oil spill will have dire consequences for Australia's southern coast.
The second-largest company in Ireland, CRH, has divested from Israel after coming under sustained pressure from Palestine solidarity activists. CRH held 25% of the shares in Mashav, owner of Israel's top cement manufacturer Nesher. In 2004, it admitted that “in all probability” Nesher cement was used in the construction of Israel's wall in the West Bank. Nesher cement has also been used in constructing Israeli settlements in the West Bank and in the light rail network serving Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem.
Three Knitting Nannas Against Gas were arrested on January 18 after chaining themselves to the gates of the Santos Leewood water treatment plant near Narrabri.
A memorial was held on January 20 for two First Nations freedom fighters, Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheener. They were executed in 1842, the first two people executed in Victoria. Their deaths form part of the genocide that accompanied the dispossession of the First Nations people. The gathering marched to lay flowers at the Victoria Markets north wall carpark, where their remains and those of 9000 others lie in an unmarked grave.
Oxfam's new report, An Economy for the 1%, is a damning indictment of capitalism. It presents chilling data showing that global inequality has reached “new extremes”. The aid organisation has calculated that just 62 people have the same amount of wealth as half the world.
In May last year Nazanin, a 23-year-old Iranian asylum seeker, was raped on Nauru. It took three months and a medical emergency for the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to send her to Australia for treatment. At the time, the department said Nazanin's mother and brother would also be brought to Australia to provide critical family support.
Tasmania is in the grip of an energy crisis as drought reduces output from its hydro-electric dams and the undersea power cable — which had been providing up to 40% of its power needs from Victoria — is shut down. Basslink is planning a major operation to repair its undersea power cable, which was shut down after a fault was discovered about 100 kilometres off the Tasmanian coast.
Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) members at Patrick Stevedores terminals struck for 24 hours on January 18 at the ports of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Fremantle to demand job security and an improved enterprise agreement. The strike followed the imposition of work bans at the Port Botany site in Sydney from January 4.
Conservationists from Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO) have re-established a forest blockade in the Kuark forest north-east of Orbost in East Gippsland, Victoria. A person in a tree platform tied to logging machinery stopped logging for four days. Another person is also positioned 8 metres above the ground on a timber tripod, blocking access to the contentious logging coupe. A third person is positioned up a large timber pole attached to logging machines, which is preventing logging from continuing.