In the midst of a Federal Election and with the major party leaders equivocating on climate change and a price on carbon, the Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan will be launched at a free public forum in Sydney Town Hall on Thursday 12 August at 6.00 pm. Hosted by the journalist and broadcaster, Quentin Dempster, the speakers will include: · Malcolm Turnbull, MP for Wentworth · Bob Carr, former NSW State Premier · Scott Ludlam, Greens Senator for WA · Matthew Wright, Executive Director, Beyond Zero Emissions · Allan Jones, Sustainability Expert, City of Sydney
“If the people keep identifying democracy as a system that is worst [sic] than the Taliban government, the people will support the anti-coalition forces and the security condition will degenerate”, an unnamed member of the Paktya provincial council is quoted in one of 75,000 classified US reports about the military occupation of Afghanistan published by the Wikileaks website on July 26. Before publication, the files were shared with journalists from the New York Times, the Guardian and Der Spiegel for authentication and analysis.
The First Nations Political Party (FNPP) is a new party contesting the upcoming federal election. The party will contest two lower house seat a and field a four-person senate ticket in WA. It will also run a senate candidate and content a lower house seat in the Northern Territory. Aboriginal activists Marianne Mackay and Glenn Moore began working towards forming an Indigenous political party in late 2009. They have a goal to getting Aboriginal people elected to parliament. “We need a pure Aboriginal voice in parliament”, Moore told Green Left Weekly.
On July 29, the leaders of the 12 countries belonging to the Union of the Southern Nations (Unasur) held an emergency meeting in Quito, Ecuador, to discuss the crisis between Venezuela and Colombia.
“It is not just posturing towards Iran, the US has massively increased its presence in Latin America”, Nelson Davila, Venezuelan ambassador to Australia told a July 14 forum. The gathering was part of the “Underground Talk” series at the New International Bookshop at Melbourne Trades Hall.
The Cairns Women’s Network (CNW) has endorsed a planned national day of action for abortion rights on October 9. “We do not understand why a section of the Qld Criminal Code from 1899 is being used to bring charges against a young Cairns couple in 2010”, said Dr Carole Ford from the Cairns Women’s Network. “All people who respect a woman’s right to control her own fertility should support repeal of these archaic laws.” Ford said the CNW was planning a peaceful vigil in Cairns beginning on October 11.
Internationally recognised legal standards are being flagrantly ignored in the treatment of political prisoners from the pro-democracy Red Shirt movement. The prisoners have been detained by the Abhisit Vejjajiva military government since the bloody crackdown against unarmed demonstrators in May.
The judge entrusted by Colombia’s Constitutional Court to investigate the legality of an agreement to hand over seven military bases to the US military has deemed the pact unconstitutional because it was not approved by Congress. The report was handed down by Judge Jorge Ivan Palacio on July 23, a day after Colombia unleashed its slanderous attacks that Venezuela was “harbouring narco-terrorists”. Palacio’s report on the agreement will be reviewed by the nine-judge panel of the Constitutional Court, which has to deliver a ruling by August 17.
Mortgage rates, we are told, are at historical lows. And yet, according to The experience of Mortgage Distress in Western Sydney report released in June by the University of Western Sydney, some mortgage holders are finding it so hard to pay, they are reduced to eating nothing but rice. The study sought to investigate the impact of mortgage distress as experienced by individual households. The accepted definition of mortgage stress centres on the borrower being in payment arrears of 90 days or more. The UWS study argues that this definition is not broad enough.
Food security will be a focus of November’s Climate Change/Social Change conference, being held in Melbourne. An entire workshop stream will be devoted to the topic. The global food system captures the insanity of production for profit: One in six people in the world are malnourished, yet the United Nations estimates that 40-50% of all food in the United States is wasted. Food waste makes up to half of Australian landfills.