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Mel Barnes, a well-known Tasmanian political activist, will contest the seat of Denison in the upcoming federal elections, for the Socialist Alliance. Barnes is a leading climate and renewable energy campaigner involved in Climate Action Hobart.

She has also campaigned for women’s rights, Palestine solidarity, refugee rights and Latin American solidarity. In 2006, Barnes went on a solidarity tour of Venezuela to learn about the revolutionary changes occurring there. Barnes stood for the Socialist Alliance in the recent state elections.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard is enjoying a honeymoon in the polls since taking Kevin Rudd’s place. A July 2 Reuters Trend poll confirmed a series of polls since Gillard became PM on June 24, giving Labor the lead over the right-wing Coalition.

The June 26 Sydney Morning Herald said a Herald/Nielson poll found Greens support since Gillard took over had fallen from 15% to 8%.

But another crucial poll indicated the true nature of Gillard’s rise to power. As soon as she was installed as prime minister, the share price of the large mining corporations rose.

Workers from Kennon Auto in Melbourne have not received a pay rise for the past three years. They stopped work on July 1 because their boss is refusing to negotiate a collective agreement.

The workers make parts for Toyota. They are ex-Nylex workers who had to fight to keep entitlements after Nylex went into receivership. Some of Nylex’s product lines were sold to Kennon Auto.

The number of “High Net Worth Individuals” (HNWIs) in Australia — those with more than US$1 million in investable assets, excluding the family home — soared to 173,600 last year. This, according to the latest World Wealth Report, was an increase of 34.4% on the year before.

The June 30 Sunshine Coast Daily said: “What's more impressive is Australia's ranking in the global population of HNWIs. Out of 71 countries, Australia has the 10th biggest population of HNWIs in the world, in front of Brazil and just behind that millionaire's paradise of Switzerland.”

The Northern Territory intervention has reached its third year and, despite several government commissioned reports and outside expert analysis claiming that it has failed to achieve its aims, aspects of it look likely to be extended to other parts of the country.

On June 21, the Senate voted to extend one of the aspects of the intervention, welfare quarantining, to more people in the NT and allow the government the option to extend it to other parts of Australia after a year.

The Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) recently released a report highly critical of the police investigation into the case of Palm Island Aboriginal man Mulrunji Doomadgee, who died in police custody in November 2004. The CMC gave police commissioner Bob Atkinson 14 days to take disciplinary action against six officers involved.

Atkinson was due to make his decision by July 2, but an injunction filed on behalf of the officers extended the deadline until July 6

New World of Indigenous Resistance
By Noam Chomsky and voices from North, South, and Central America
City Lights Open Media, 2010, 300 pages

Review by Mat Ward

This book bills itself as a “virtual hemispheric conversation” and claims to be the first book of its kind.

It is certainly an eye-opener.

While G20 leaders barely made mention of the climate crisis at the June 26-27 G20 summit in Toronto, Pablo Solon, Bolivia’s United Nations ambassador, was in town to encourage action on the “Cochabamba protocols”.

It is no surprise that Solon, also Bolivia’s chief climate negotiator, was not on the list of special invitees to G20 meetings. In April, Solon and the Bolivian government he represents organised the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Cochabamba.

A Short Border Handbook
By Gazmend Kapllani
Portobello Books 2009
159 pages

Review by Alex Miller

This book, which the author describes as “part autobiography, part fiction”, is hard to assess. Each chapter is divided into two parts. The first part tells the story of a man (presumably Kapllani himself) who crosses into Greece from Albania when the border between those two countries opened in 1991. The second part consists of “philosophical” ruminations on issues raised by the story of the first part.

When Bolivian foreign minister David Choquehuanca and US assistant Secretary of State Arturo Valenzuela met at the start of June, it appeared that relations between the US and Bolivia were on the verge of being normalised following an 18-month diplomatic chill.

But hope for improved relations appeared to be dashed two weeks later when Bolivian President Evo Morales accused the US government-funded US Agency for International Development (USAID) of financing groups opposed to his government.

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