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”.
Review: Vale Kwementyaye Ryder — a photo essay Bob Gosford, The Northern Myth
Liberal leader and extreme conservative Tony Abbott, who famously described climate change as “absolute crap”, is looking dangerously close to becoming prime minister on August 21. The prospect of a government headed by a Christian fundamentalist nicknamed “the mad monk” has struck dread into many progressive-minded people. The August 7 Sydney Morning Herald reported that a Herald/Nielson poll showed the Liberal/National Coalition had increased its lead in the primary vote to 44% to Labor’s 36%. Coalition led Labor 51% to 49% on a two-party preferred basis.
Outstanding service Fairfax columnist Gerald Henderson quotes Australian Workers’ Union leader Paul Howes concerning the family background of Greens Senate candidate Lee Rhiannon in the July 27 Sydney Morning Herald. I knew her parents, Bill and Freda Brown, since 1944, and I was privileged to be Bill’s campaign director when he stood for the federal parliament on several occasions.
Review: The Imperial Controversy: Challenging the Empire Apologists By Andrew Murray, Foreword by George Galloway Manifesto Press, 152 pages, paperback £12.95 In the past decade or so, politicians, journalists and academics have attempted to rehabilitate the notions of empire and imperialism. For example, in 2009 then-British PM Gordon Brown told the Daily Mail newspaper: “The days of Britain having to apologise for its colonial history are over. We should move forward. We should celebrate much of our past rather than apologise for it.”
As of June 25, more than 4116 people, 566 of them children, were in Australian immigration detention centres, according to figures published on the Department of Immigration and Citizenship website. The site also noted an increase of 46 people in the past week. In a country of 22 million people, 46 is a minute figure. That “stopping the boats” is a key election promise of both major parties illustrates the mean-spiritedness of their campaign.
Abdul Ramahi is a Palestinian-Australian who lives in Melbourne. A member of the Socialist Alliance, he is active in campaigns to raise awareness on the plight of the Palestinian people. His own story, which he told Green Left Weekly, illustrates how the lives of Palestinians in the global diaspora are shaped by the ongoing injustice and resistance in their homeland. Born in 1938, in a village called Muzeira, five kilometres from present-day Tel Aviv, he had a happy childhood. His father was a justice of the peace and owned a large amount of land — close to 100 hectares.
Jim Sharp, a well-known veteran of the left and labour movements in the city, launched his book of poetry, entitled Leftside at the Queensland Council of Unions building on July 31. About 100 people attended. Speakers included Marxist historian Humphrey McQueen and music was provided by Jumping Fences.
The Gaslight Anthem must be sick of the Springsteen references by now. Ever since bursting into international consciousness a few years back, there’s been no shortage of critics willing to draw the connections between them and the Boss.
A growing number of unions across Australia have backed the international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign targeting Israel. The campaign demands that Israel ends its apartheid-like policies towards Palestinians. The National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) said in a July 20 statement that it would “continue to add its voice to the call for an end to Israel’s occupation of Palestine and condemning all acts of terrorism”.
More than 850 people packed into the Sydney Town Hall for a “Save Sydney from Over-development” public meeting organised by Friends of Barangaroo on August 3. The meetings was organised to in response to a proposed development of the harbour-side Barangaroo area. There are serious community concerns about the plan to hand over public space to private developer Lend Lease, which plans to build a large hotel on the land.
Some of the Illawarra’s foremost fighters for social justice have backed Socialist Alliance candidate Jess Moore in the seat of Cunningham on the New South Wales south coast. Highly regarded, veteran trade unionists Monica Chalmers, Neville Arrowsmith, Jim Keogh and Ken McBride, who have all spent decades in union and solidarity campaigns, have endorsed Moore and are helping her campaign. Moore is a well-known community activist who is national coordinator of the socialist youth organisation Resistance.
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.
Ker-ching! Its half-year profit time and those poor, tax-oppressed, big mining companies are announcing huge profit increases. Rio Tinto announced a half-year net profit of $6.39 billion, up 260% from the same period last year. And this huge profit came even after the company reduced its net debt by a whopping $27 billion to $12 billion.
National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) members at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) have vowed more industrial action to fight the ongoing refusal of vice-chancellor Fred Hilmer to negotiate on improvements to job security, pay and other conditions for UNSW staff. In particular, the union is concerned about the unregulated use of fixed-term contracts and casual employment at the university. An NTEU meeting on August 4 voted for partial work bans in preparation for and participation in UNSW promotional events from August 30 to September 4.
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.