The Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group (TGLRG) organised political candidates to publicly sign a pledge stating their party would not use election material that incited hatred or ridicule against people based on their sexuality or gender. The pledge signing took place at Salamanca markets in Hobart on July 31 and was signed by the Socialist Alliance, Greens, Democrats and Labor candidates and independent candidate Andrew Wilkie.
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”.
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.
On August 14, rallies will take place in 13 different cities around Australia for the sixth annual national day of action for equal marriage rights. Last year’s national day of action drew more than 10,000 people, making it the biggest demonstration for queer rights in Australian history. The movement has claimed 2010 as its “national year of action”. Activists have taken some colourful initiatives to build this year’s rally. Sydney’s Community Action Against Homophobia threw eggs at cardboard cut-outs of Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard.
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.”
“Always Was, Always Will Be, Aboriginal Land: The struggle for Aboriginal rights”, was the title of an August 3 forum in the Brisbane Activist Centre sponsored by Socialist Alliance and Resistance. Speakers were Murri activist and SA Queensland Senate candidate Sam Watson and Ewan Saunders, SA candidate for the seat of Brisbane who has recently returned from the Justice Bus Ride to the Northern Territory.
The Sandon Point Aboriginal Tent Embassy (SPATE) is set to appeal a July 26 Land and Environment Court dismissal challenging the proposed Stockland 181-lot residential super development at Sandon Point, in the Wollongong suburb of Bulli, New South Wales.
The Parramatta Climate Action Network (ParraCAN) staged a series of rolling protests outside New South Wales state government ministers offices calling for no new coal The NSW state government is planning to construct two new coal-fired power stations, which will increase the state’s greenhouse gas emissions by up to 15%. ParraCAN is circulating a petition calling for the prohibition of the construction of new coal-fired power stations; the development of a phase-out plan for coal; and that the state government support job creation in renewable industries.
In Fremont, Nebraska in the US mid-west, some of the biggest names in indie rock played a sold-out pro-immigrant benefit gig on July 31 titled “Concert for Equality”. Omaha.com said on August 2: “The theme of the day — and the reason for the show — was to fight Fremont’s recently passed immigration ordinance, which would fine employers and landlords who hire or rent to illegal immigrants.” All proceeds from the gig were offered to the American Liberties Civil Union to assist its fight against the law, Pollstar.com said on August 4.
Conservation groups from Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia, New South Wales, Canberra and Queensland took part in local actions on August 5 to highlight the threats to biodiversity that burning native forests for electricity will create.
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.
The Socialist Alliance proposals for the federal election, detailed at www.socialist-alliance.org, won’t come cheap. They include lifting welfare payments above the poverty line, ending the 200,000 public housing waiting list, achieving 100% renewable energy by 2020 through a plan of public investment, boosted public transport including inter-city high-speed rail, and closing the gap in Indigenous health, education and housing.
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.
At the beginning of August the Israeli government announced it would cooperate with one out of two international United Nations-sponsored investigation commissions into the May 31 Gaza Freedom Flotilla massacre. UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon claimed the move was “unprecedented”. The commission is composed of four people, one chosen by Turkey, one chosen by Israel and two chosen from a list provided by Israel. The latter two are former prime minister of New Zealand Geoffrey Palmer, who will be the chair, and outgoing Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, who will serve as vice-chair.
Residents are organising to stop mining company LD Operations plans to start a new coal mine next to the town of Margaret River in Western Australia. Margaret River is five hours south of Perth famous for its wineries, surfing spots and outstanding natural beauty. A public meeting on August 1 with only one day’s notice drew 60 people. It is a sign of strong community opposition. There are plans to hold a demonstration as part of the national Walk Against Warming rallies on August 15.
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.