PM Julia Gillard was supposed to launch Labor's new policy to tackle climate change on July 23. But in essence she merely restated the same old Labor climate policy: delay, delay and delay again. Gillard's speech was pages long, but her climate agenda can be summarised in just four words — more talk, less action. The core promise was that her government would create a "citizens assembly" to discuss options to deal with global warming. Perhaps the government will propose the ice caps and glaciers hold off from melting until Gillard's august assembly has concluded its deliberations.
On July 6, while 32-year-old Mustansar Rindhawa was listening to a worker who had not been paid his wages by a textile boss, an unknown person with a Kalashnikov entered the front room and fired. Mustansar tried to save his life by running to the next room, but 10 people were determined to finish him off. I met Mustansar briefly on June 19 in Faisalabad, less than a month before his murder. He was one of 30 participants in a trade union training course at the Labour Qaumi Movement (LQM) offices.
SYDNEY — Dr Adam Lucas, the Sydney coordinator of the climate research and advocacy group Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE), told a July 14 meeting that BZE's stationary energy plan showed it was possible for Australian to move to 100% renewable energy in a decade. Lucas gave an outline of the report, which will be launched publicly in Sydney in August.
Anti-war activists took to the streets on July 15 outside Labor MP Tanya Plibersek's office to collect support for a giant “troops out” petition that will be presented to the new pro-war PM Julia Gillard. With a federal election looming, and at least 61% of Australians opposed to Australia having troops in Afghanistan, Stop the War Coalition is organising to increase the pressure for a withdrawal.
Work at all P&O Automotive and General Stevedoring (POAGS) wharves shut down nationwide in all 15 ports for 24 hours at midday on July 14 after the death of another waterside worker. It was the third this year, the second at POAGS operations and the third fatality at Appleton Dock in seven years. A 41-year-old Melbourne waterside worker, Stephen Piper, was crushed to death that morning at Appleton Dock.
On July 12, state environment minister Donna Faragher approved an additional three coal-fired power stations in Western Australia. These power stations will contribute to a 75% increase in the state’s greenhouse emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Authority. Of the three power stations, one is a brand new private sector development. The other two are older power stations that were built in the 1960s and have not been in use for some time, which will be expanded and refurbished. This will more than double the number of coal-fired power stations in Collie.
The TV anchorwoman was conducting a split screen interview with a journalist who had volunteered to be a witness at the execution of a man on death row in Utah for 25 years. “He had a choice”, said the journalist, “lethal injection or firing squad”. “Wow!” said the anchorwoman. Cue a blizzard of commercials for fast food, teeth whitener, stomach stapling, the new Cadillac. This was followed by the war in Afghanistan, presented by a correspondent sweating in a flak jacket.
A jury voted on July 8 to convict a transit police officer who killed an unarmed 22-year-old African American man, Oscar Grant III, on an Oakland station platform 18 months ago. But the officer was convicted of the least serious possible manslaughter charge. The verdict left Grant’s family and their supporters — and the community that Grant called home — bitter and angry.
Hundreds of angry Queensland nurses rallied outside Queensland parliament on July 14 to protest against the ongoing pay debacle caused by problems with the new computerised payroll system. Queensland Health introduced the system four months ago. Problems have included health workers being underpaid or not being paid at all, ABC Online reported on July 15. The rallying nurses chanted "No pay, no work!", and many threatened to quit if the errors were not fixed soon.
Staff at the University of New South Wales are in a protracted dispute with a notoriously right-wing and anti-union administration, which is refusing to negotiate a new and fair collective agreement. Read more on the dispute here. To send message of support, or to donate to hardship fund to assist the more than 80 UNSW staff who have been stood down without pay by the administration in retaliation for taking legal industrial action, visit the National Tertiary Education Union UNSW webpage.
Forty activists held a protest on July 15 against the expansion of the Olympic Dam uranium mine. They blockaded the entrance to highlight the catastrophic effects the mine and its expansion would have on traditional owners, their land and future generations. Catrina Staurmberg, at the protest, said: “This is a toxic mine, no one is safe. Radioactive material does not discriminate. If the open-cut expansion or any kind of uranium mining continues it will put many lives at risk across the country.
Pressure is now bearing down on the Australian climate movement because there has been so little forward progress in the federal government’s climate policy. The pressure is for the movement to accept, support and campaign for weak and inadequate climate policies on the grounds that something is better than nothing. This is plain from looking at the new, media-driven “consensus” about the need for a “price on carbon”.
Last year, 20-year-old Aboriginal dancer Rarriwuy Hick was put on welfare quarantining under the Northern Territory intervention. The difference was that she was living outside the government's prescribed zone — in New South Wales. Hick spoke to Ash Pemberton, from Green Left Weekly and Resistance about her experience with welfare quarantining and the affects of the intervention on her home community of Dhalinybuy in east Arnhem Land. *** What led to you being put onto welfare quarantining while you were living in NSW?
The article below is the Socialist Alliance’s updated Climate Charter. For more information, visit the Socialist Alliance website. * * * For years, climate scientists have warned us that we need to act on climate change. Now, science is saying that climate change is taking place more rapidly than everyone previously thought. The warning signs are obvious. April and May were the world’s hottest months since records began. This year’s Arctic ice sheet melt is taking place at a pace never seen before.
"Stop Unimin from totally destroying Stradbroke Island”, Aboriginal leaders Dale Ruska and Sam Watson, urging supporters to attend a rally outside the Magistrates' Court on July 14. “Stop this mining vandal and thief. The Stradbroke Island people need your support. The state government has taken Unimim to court. They must be judged and they must be stopped!"
Existing levels of greenhouse gases may be enough to push Arctic temperatures 19°C higher, a recent study has found. A University of Colorado at Boulder scientific expedition to Ellesmere Island in the high Arctic found evidence that the ice cap may be far more sensitive to warming than had been thought, the team said on June 29. The team used fossil records to measure temperatures on the island during the Pliocene period — 2.6 to 5.3 million years ago. The research confirmed the area was mostly ice-free and about 19°C warmer on average than it is now.