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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is seeking to make changes to Australia’s national environment act to stop conservation groups from challenging ministerial decisions on major resource developments and other matters of environmental importance.

On October 28, the 100th anniversary of the first conscription referendum, historian Michael Hamel-Green gave a talk at the Brunswick Library entitled "When Australians said no to war".

Hamel-Green said that in official commemorations of World War I there is "amnesia" about the divisions among the Australian people over the war.

When the initial high level of voluntary recruitment to the army declined, Labor Prime Minister Billy Hughes decided to introduce conscription for overseas service — conscription for service within Australia was already legal.

The regime of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan took a further leap towards undisguised dictatorship, intensifying its crackdown against the democratic and left-wing opposition, independent media and the Kurdish population.

On October 25, Co-Mayors of the Diyarbakır (Amed) Metropolitan Municipality, Gültan Kışanak and Fırat Anlı, members of the Kurdish Democratic Regions Party (DBP), were arrested.

Residents of Yarraville in Melbourne’s inner western suburbs have campaigned for years to ban heavy truck traffic through the suburb.

Despite some victories such as truck curfews at night and during school hours, and the promise of eventual diversion of traffic through a planned bypass, residents now face the prospect of B Double trucks being diverted through the suburb.

Veteran socialist filmmaker Ken Loach’s new film I, Daniel Blake, tells the story of two people trying to survive under Britain’s increasingly cruel welfare system.

Many conservatives have claimed the film presents a “romanticised” view of the poor and that the harsh realities it depict are exaggerated — despite a large number of real-life examples similar to those features in Loach’s film. Below, comedian Mark Steel responds to Daily Mail columnist Toby Young, who said the film “didn’t ring true”. It first appeared at The Independent.

French authorities announced their operation to demolish “the Jungle”, the makeshift refugee settlement in the northern French port of Calais, was completed on October 26, with refugees bussed to government-controlled centres dispersed throughout France.

But this claim was contradicted by chaotic scenes of the camp in flames and more than 1600 unaccompanied minors being excluded from the transfer to other camps. All the while, British and French politicians bickered over whose responsibility they were.

Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper has once again vilified the unemployed by publishing an article linking methamphetamine use with being on welfare. Only individuals who had been arrested by police were surveyed in the study mentioned in this piece.

The October 18 front page article read: “70% of ice users arrested by police admit being on welfare, nationwide survey finds”. However, this does not mean 70% of those receiving welfare payments are ice users.

Results in the October 22 Victorian local council elections were mixed.

The Greens won big increases in representation in Melbourne’s inner city councils, the two socialist councillors retained their positions, but racists retained their positions on a couple of councils.

The Greens stood more candidates than in previous council elections. They retained 13 of their 16 council seats and won an extra 16 council seats.

Guardian journalist and self-proclaimed “socialist feminist” Van Badham’s latest article is entitled .

Crowd at a forum

Hundreds of people attended the first leg of the 100% Renewables Roadshow in Adelaide on October 31, demonstrating strong community support for renewable energy in South Australia.

Solar Citizens National Director Claire O’Rourke spoke about their Homegrown Power Plan, which maps out a proposal for how Australia can get to 100% renewable energy by 2030.

The Narcotic Drugs Amendment Act 2016 came into effect on October 30, allowing people to apply for a licence to cultivate cannabis for their own medical needs, to manufacture cannabis products for sale for medicinal purposes, or to conduct related research.

The Act now gives patients access to a safe, reliable and legal source of cannabis for medicinal use. Previously patients had to import medicinal cannabis products.

Geelong Trades Hall announced on November 2 that Tim Gooden has formally resigned as secretary and treasurer after 11 years at the council’s helm.

Colin Vernon, formerly an Industrial Health and Safety Organiser in Geelong with the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union, Forestry and Furniture Products Division, was endorsed as secretary.

Gooden notified Trades Hall of his decision to vacate the positions in a letter to president Jacqueline Kriz.

Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne said changes to planning laws about to be introduced mean they could force the developers behind the demolition of Melbourne's Corkman Irish Pub to "replicate the site immediately prior to demolition".

The heritage listed 159-year-old Corkman Irish Pub, previously known as the Carlton Inn, was illegally demolished on October 15.

Its owners had no building or planning permits.

Before the demolition, the developers commissioned an architect to draw plans for a 12-storey tower on the site.

Hazelwood Power Station, Australia’s dirtiest power generator and many decades past its “use by” date, will finally close on March 31.

Hazelwood’s closure is symbolic because of its size, its history and because it provides 20% of Victoria’s power. But technological advances and environmental concerns have finally caught up with it.

In May, majority owner ENGIE’s CEO Isabelle Kocher said the company was reviewing its remaining coal plants one by one and would close those with the most outdated technology.

Family First Senator Bob Day finally resigned from the Senate on November 1 “effective immediately”, in a major setback for the federal government's plan to revive the controversial, anti-union Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).

Day first announced his intention to resign on October 17, after his housing businesses were placed into liquidation. He then suggested he might stay on until November so he could vote on the ABCC bill and other legislation.

The Mining and Energy Division of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) released a statement on October 28 calling for tougher laws to hold employers accountable for workers’ deaths on site.

This follows reports that mining company Anglo American has pleaded guilty to failing to meet their safety obligations, causing the death of Paul McGuire.

The maximum penalty is a fine of $550,000, but Anglo had been offered a deal of a fine of $100,000 and $15,000 in investigation costs.

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