848

Media statement August 9, 2010

Rachel Evans, the lead NSW Senate candidate for Socialist Alliance, condemned Family First’s Wendy Francis’ likening the legalisation of same-sex marriage to the legalisation of child abuse as “homophobic” and “incitement to more violence against lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and queer people”.

On August 4, California’s ban on same-sex marriages was ruled unconstitutional by federal judge Vaughn Walker. However, religious fundamentalist and anti-queer groups have indicated that they will appeal the ruling.

On August 6, Walker granted a stay on the implementation of his ruling, meaning lesbian and gay couples are still unable to marry in California.

Californian Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown have both argued against the stay and for the ruling to be implemented immediately.

In Russia, a seven-week-long heatwave has caused giant firestorms to break out across more than 114,000 hectares of the country. At least 48 people have died and more than 400 new fires broke out on August 4 alone, the Kyiv Post said that day.

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev said on July 30 that “practically everything is burning” in 14 regions of the country, Time said on August 2.

In the past, Medvedev has not seemed too concerned about climate change. At last year’s Copenhagen climate conference he bluntly announced that Russia would increase its emissions.

A landmark agreement has been signed in Western Australia between the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) and the Community and Public Sector Union/Civil Service Association of Western Australia (CPSU/CSA) over union representation in the state’s higher education sector.

The following abridged statement was posted on NTEU.org.au by NTEU WA division secretary Lyn Bloom.

* * *

The CPSU/CSA in WA has announced that it is withdrawing from active involvement in the higher education sector.

Last month, I stood in the Guildhall Square in Derry and watched as the relatives of the 14 innocent victims of the British Parachute Regiment expressed their delight at the Saville report’s conclusion that the 14 were innocent victims.

At the time of the killings the dead were labelled as terrorists by the British government. The British system and, to its shame, much of the British media, accused those who had been shot of being “gunmen” and “bombers”.

The US emission trading scheme in sulphur dioxide (SO2) — the gas that causes acid rain — is widely held as proof that the market can cut pollution.

Pro-market commentators point to the success of this “acid rain market” as evidence that similar kinds of carbon trading schemes are the best way to tackle climate change.

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman said on April 11 the scheme showed “that it is generally best to rely on a market-based approach”.

But this poster child for emissions trading has now collapsed in a heap.

The Stop the War Coalition Sydney held a picket outside ALP MP Tanya Plibersek’s office on August 5 to call for an end to Australian support for the war in Afghanistan.

The STWC has condemned the Australian government’s purchase of 18 unmanned spy drones and training packages worth $175 million.

Spokesperson Marlene Obeid said: “The drones are part of an offensive weapons system that, almost certainly, will be linked to US systems in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In other words, Australia will be subsidising US assault operations, which will kill more Afghan women and children.”

Despite US President Barack Obama’s promise to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez that his administration wouldn’t interfere in Venezuela’s internal affairs, the US government-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is channelling millions to anti-Chavez groups.

Foreign intervention is not only executed through military force. The funding of “civil society” groups and media outlets is one of the more widely used mechanisms by the US government to achieve its strategic objectives.

When police in Jamaica launched a bloody assault in May on poor neighbourhoods in the country’s capital city, news outlets in Canada responded with an ignorance and insensitivity that is all too common in their coverage of the Caribbean islands. As with Haiti, Jamaica is portrayed as incomprehensibly violent and not quite civilised.

WYONG — Climate action activists confronted Prime Minister Julia Gillard on August 3 when she appeared at a soccer club in Wyong on the NSW Central Coast.

She was handed a statement from the local climate action group about transitioning as soon as possible from fossil fuels, to renewable energy and a copy of the Zero Carbon Australia plan by Beyond Zero Emissions.

Activists held placards that said: “Fund solutions not pollution” as Gillard was speaking. They then confronted Gillard as she left the soccer club.

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