845

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.
Supporters of the Addison Road Centre in Marrickville met on July 15 to discuss a plan to sustainably deal with the centre’s waste and turn ARC into a leader in environmental sustainability. The centre was built in 1914 as an army barracks. The NSW Lands Department handed it over to the community in the late 1970s after a long struggle. For 30 years, ARC has provided a large community space in inner-western Sydney. A law preventing local councils from providing waste services to non-ratepayers has meant ARC faces a huge cost for waste removal.
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.
Francisco Chavez Abarca, who was recently extradited to Cuba, has admitted being contracted by Cuban-born terrorist Luis Posada Carriles to carry out destabilising acts in Venezuela in the lead-up to the September National Assembly elections. Posada Carriles is a former CIA agent wanted for his role in a 1976 attack on a Cuban plane that left 73 passengers dead. He lives in Miami. The US government, going against international law, has refused Venezuelan and Cuban requests to extradite him.
Network of Women Students of Australia is an annual feminist student conference. This years conference was held in Newcastle from July 14-18 with the theme “intersections”. Eighty students attended. Mish from sex-worker peak body Scarlet Alliance spoke about trans and sex worker rights. Rachel Evans spoke on behalf of Socialist Alliance about the same-sex marriage campaign.
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.
Since the March 20 state elections and the installation of a power-sharing government between the Labor Party and the Greens, there have been quite a few notable developments in Tasmanian politics. Tasmania could be the first state to legalise voluntary euthanasia. The attorney-general and deputy premier Lara Giddings told states parliament on June 22 she would work with Greens leader Nick McKim to prepare a private members’ bill about voluntary euthanasia.
Resistance has always championed solidarity with refugees, in a political arena of racism and fear-mongering. Resistance is committed to building campaigns demanding dignity, respect and human rights for asylum seekers. Recently, we have been reaching out to refugees who are detained like prisoners for legitimately seeking asylum in Australia. Group visits to Villawood detention centre in western Sydney were initiated by Sydney Resistance about three months ago. Wollongong and Newcastle Resistance branches have also been involved.
Citizens rallied in two Afghan cities on July 10 and 11, chanting slogans against the occupying powers and the unpopular regime of President Hamid Karzai for failing to protect civilians. On July 10, hundreds took to the streets of Mazar-i-Sharif to demand that all occupation forces leave. The protest was organised after an artillery barrage from occupying NATO forces killed six civilians in Paktia province on July 8 and US troops killed two civilians in a pre-dawn raid in the city on July 7. Protesters chanted slogans against occupation forces and Karzai.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s high-handed attempts to impose a “regional asylum seeker processing centre” on East Timor have angered Timorese politicians and activists. Despite Gillard’s talk about finding a regional solution to a regional problem, the “problem” of “unauthorised boat arrivals” in Australia is one of perception. The Liberal-National opposition and the Murdoch tabloids have devoted considerable energy to creating anxiety in sections of the Australian community about the country being swamped by “boat people”.
Defence minister Senator John Faulkner has joined the list of cabinet members who, since Julia Gillard became prime minister, have said they will resign from the front bench after the upcoming elections. He dismissed suggestions that this was because he had doubts about the unpopular war in Afghanistan, which he has the task of promoting.
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.