Queensland Natural Resources and Mines minister Anthony Lynham announced on April 18 that the government has banned underground coal gasification (UCG) in the state, arguing the environmental risks outweigh the economic benefits. He said the ban, which would apply immediately as government policy, would be legislated by the end of the year. Underground coal gasification involves converting coal to a synthesised gas by burning it underground. The syngas is processed on the surface to create products such as aviation fuels and synthetic diesel.
Activists from Stop CSG Sydney and the Australian Student Environment Network toured the AGL Camden CSG gasfields on April 17 to see for themselves how close gas wells are to homes. AGL has promised to end gas mining in Camden by 2023. Residents want them shut down now. The NSW government has said that gas wells cannot be drilled within two kilometres of homes, but it is happy for Landcom, the government's own developer, to sell house and land packages within a few hundred metres of major gasfields.
I live and work as a nurse in Fremantle and I'm the Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of Fremantle in this year's federal election. The Socialist Alliance recognises that not only has corrupt, business-as-usual politics caused a deepening social and climate crisis, but that those entrenched and greedy interests are unwilling and incapable of providing real solutions. Major system change is needed. There is a growing despondency amongst large sections of the community; real anger and frustration in the way things are going. And rightly so.
In a week of divestment actions, dubbed “Flood the Campus” starting on April 18, students across Australia took action demanding their universities divest from fossil fuels as a step towards tackling climate change. Initiated by 350.org, the protest was supported by the Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC), environmental collectives, Resistance clubs among others.
Okara, April 17. A gathering of thousands of peasants in the Okara District of Punjab, to mark International Peasants Day on April 17, went ahead despite a violent crackdown by the police, paramilitaries and the army. The gathering was organised by the Tenants Association of Punjab (AMP) and supported by the Awami Workers Party (AWP).
The federal government has succeeded in scrapping the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal (RSRT). Legislation to abolish the tribunal passed the Senate without Labor and the Green's support on April 18 after two hours of debate. The bill passed 36 to 32 with the support of the crossbench except Ricky Muir from the Motoring Enthusiast Party.
The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has rejected an "arbitrary deadline" of April 15 for acceptance of Patrick Stevedores' "final offer" on a new enterprise agreement (EA) for its waterfront workforce. Patrick set a 36-hour deadline on April 14 for the MUA to accept the new enterprise agreement or the company would consider taking "penalty action" against workers in Sydney, Fremantle, Melbourne and Brisbane, which reportedly includes a lock-out.
There is a joke in Australia that there will be a high-speed rail service linking the major cities on the Eastern seaboard that will run about once in every three years — whenever there is an election looming. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has, like the previous Labor government, again floated the idea.
This month marks 25 years since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody tabled its national report. With five volumes of research, investigative accounts of 99 deaths in custody, and 339 recommendations, the report was meant to be a blueprint for reducing the disproportionate incarceration of Indigenous Australians and deaths in custody. But a quarter of a century later, the situation is actually worse. The impetus
The killing of six Kashmiri civilians in Indian-occupied Kashmir have moved Kashmiri communities around the world to organise a coordinated series of vigils on Friday April 22. "These innocent civilians were murdered by the Indian armed forces during a protest march, after reports of a sexual assault on a minor girl by the Indian troops," said Anjun Rafiqi, one of the organisers of a candlelight vigil planned in Sydney.
Mainstream media chatter about recent polls showing the Coalition's honeymoon has dramatically ended has ignored another revealing statistic: there is a growing slice of the population that rejects the politics-as-usual model. They are the people the surveys lump into the category of “don't know”. These are the people who do not engage with the pollsters' questions. They have a variety of reasons, but disengagement from the whole political process as they see it on TV and hear it on the radio is one of them.
Cuba joined a long list of Latin American countries lending assistance to Ecuador on April 18 by deploying a team of 53 health and rescue specialists to treat victims wounded in the devastating 7.8 earthquake that struck the Andean nation April 16, TeleSUR English said. The quake has killed at least 350 people and injuring thousands more.