Deaths in Custody Watch Committee (Western AAustralia) spokesperson, Marc Newhouse today announced a series of protest actions to be held following the Director of Public Prosecutions’ decision not to lay criminal charges against any of the parties responsible for the death in custody of Mr Ward in 2008. Mr Ward, an Aboriginal elder, died while being transported hundreds of kilometres across the WA Goldfields in a privately-operated prison van with faulty air conditioning.
A national gathering of Aboriginal community leaders will expose what they describe as the “treachery inherent in government policies targeting the civil and political rights” of their communities. The New Way Aboriginal Summit, being held in Melbourne from July 1 – 4 to coincide with NAIDOC Week, will host a press conference at 12.40 pm this Friday 2nd July at Trades Hall Council, the main summit venue.
Location: 'I have a dream' mural, King Street, Newtown When: Friday July 2, 4.30-6pm Representatives of local community organisations and political parties will take part in a community speak-out against racism on Friday July 2 in Newtown. They will assemble under the “I have a dream” mural – featuring the legendary anti-racist Black American campaigner Martin Luther King. Speakers participating include:
Following the New Way Summit on Aboriginal rights in Canberra in January, a second summit will be held in Melbourne over July 1-4. Convenor of the Victorian New Way Aboriginal Summit, Socialist Alliance member Sharon Firebrace, told Green Left Weekly: “We expect a lot of people will attend to learn that the New Way grassroots movement is a true opposition to what the federal government is dishing up to us in their shameful charade of establishing the First Nation Congress of Australia.”
On June 5, New South Wales Teachers Federation state council voted to initiate a “Stop the Privatisation” forum to organise against the state government’s privatisation plans for the public sector. The forum will invite participation from the Public Sector Association (PSA), Fire Brigade Employees Union (FBEU) and other public sector unions. After the forum, the federation will initiate a public sector delegates meeting to discuss and organise a public sector-wide response to the privatisation agenda.
June 21 marked the third anniversary of the Howard government’s “national emergency” intervention in 73 prescribed Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory, the so-called Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER). In the name of protecting children, the basic liberties of Aboriginal people were suspended and a draconian and paternalistic state project of improvement was launched to “stabilise, normalise and then exit” these communities. Stabilisation was to take one year and normalisation four.
The federal Labor government passed the Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform and Reinstatement of the Racial Discrimination Act) bill on June 21 — exactly three years after the Northern Territory intervention was launched by the Howard-Coalition government. Welfare quarantining: • Will be extended to include about 20,000 people in the NT, starting from July 1; • Can be applied to young people on Centrelink payments, people who have been on unemployment or parenting benefits for more than a year, or people referred by family services;
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced on June 22 the formation of a three-member panel to advise him on whether Sri Lanka committed crimes during the last months of its war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, Reuters said that day.
On June 25, ABC News Radio reported 79 occupation soldiers had been killed so far that month, the highest number in any month since the October 2001 US-led invasion. On June 23, US President Barack Obama sacked the commander of US-led occupation forces in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal — but not for the rising body count. The sacking was in response to a July Rolling Stone article in which McChrystal and his aides regularly refer to civilian leaders of the occupying powers (including Obama) using terms such as “clown” and “fucking gay”.
Professor John Mendoza, head advisor to the federal government on mental health, recently resigned his position, citing frustration at government inaction on one of Australia’s leading causes of death and disability. The article below is abridged from a letter he sent to members of campaign groups GetUp! explaining his reasons for resigning. * * * On June 18, I resigned my position as the head advisor to the government on mental health.
On June 1, part-Peruvian US actor and indigenous rights activist Q’orianka Kilcher was arrested for “disorderly conduct” after chaining herself to the White House fence while Peruvian President Alan Garcia met with US President Barack Obama. Garcia refers to the Amazonian indigenous peoples of his country as barbaric savages. Kilcher had doused her body in black paint, symbolic of the oil killing the Amazon and its people.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa began its final round of 16 on June 26. it came amid the unrelenting drone of vuvuzela horns, the knockout of big teams such as Italy and France, and street protests by local residents angry at the 40 billion rand the government has spent on the corporatised event. Meanwhile, South Africa’s poor suffer substandard housing and access to basic services. Football, or “soccer” in Australia, is the “world game”, played by millions of people around the world and watched by hundreds of millions more. But is it truly the “people’s game”?
On June 14, Muhammad Juma Abu Wardeh, a 17-year-old Palestinian labourer, was shot and wounded by Israeli snipers along the “buffer zone” in eastern Gaza as he collected materials for a cement plant in Jabaliya, north of Gaza City. Israel’s ongoing blockade against the Gaza Strip has prevented access to raw construction materials, forcing workers to risk their lives to trawl open agricultural areas for resources.
On June 20, US group Act Now to Stop War and Racism (ANSWER) released a statement, abridged below, on the blockade of the docks in Oakland that prevented an Israeli ship unloading its goods as part of the global boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign targetting apartheid Israel. * * *
Australia’s leading conservation groups said in a joint statement on June 21 that concern about lack of action to provide safeguards against large-scale oil spills in Australia will be a high-profile issue in the next federal election. Thirty-two environment groups — including the Australian Conservation Foundation, WWF Australia and Pew Environment Group — have called on all political parties to commit to a network of large marine sanctuaries this coming election to provide safeguards for Australia’s unique marine life.
It is with great sadness that Green Left Weekly reports the death of human rights activist Rosemarie Waratah Gillespie, 69, who unexpectedly died in Melbourne on June 21 from a stroke. An activist for more than 40 years, she was a human rights lawyer, activist, author, filmmaker, anti-capitalist, Indigenous activist and mother. Waratah lived in Port Kembla and frequently travelled to Sydney to attend meetings at Humanist House, where she was vice president of the Humanist Society. The society was just one of her many passions.