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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.
“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 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.”
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.
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.
The following open letter was written by Bernardo Alvarez Herrera, Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to the US, to the Washington Post editorial board. He wrote in response to a July 30 editorial that accused Venezuela of harbouring Colombian “terrorists”. Alvarez said: “This letter has been made public given that The Washington Post rarely publishes our responses.” * * *
Sam Watson

“The major parties, Labor and Liberal, have failed to highlight Indigenous issues, and have largely ignored problems important to my community in this election”, Sam Watson, Aboriginal activist and Socialist Alliance Senate candidate for Queensland, said at a rally to launch his campaign for the Queensland Senate on July 31.

Last month, thousands of people around the country marched in solidarity with Ark Tribe, the construction worker from Adelaide who faces six months’ jail for refusing to attend an interview with the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC). Adorned with emblems of union pride, rank and file union members, representatives from unions, political parties and the broader community, took to the streets to send a clear message to the government and the big construction bosses that “If Ark goes in, we'll go out''.
Preparations for the 2010 Commonwealth Games have turned Delhi into a swirl of mud, scaffolding and scandal. Government officials connected to the games appear confident that Delhi’s upturned streets and impassable traffic jams will soon turn into something spectacular. On the horizon is the transformation of India’s congested national capital into a “world class city”, worthy not only of hosting this high-prestige sporting event, but also of India’s growing reputation as the next Asian superpower.
From August 9 to 12, high school students will be able to take part in a mock election thanks to the Google Student Voice initiative. Students aged 15 to 17 will be able to participate in the online poll. Google sent information packs to schools around Australia The vote will allow students to choose between the candidates standing in their electorates for the federal election. Results of the simulated election will be released on August 15.
On August 3, the Ecuadorian government signed a landmark deal to prevent drilling for oil in the ecologically unique Ishpingo-Tambococha-Tiputini areas of the Yasuni National Park (Yasuni-ITT). The agreement, signed by the government of left-wing President Rafael Correa and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), guarantees that the estimated 900 million barrels of oil that lie beneath the pristine Amazonian region will remain untouched, as will the forest above.
Ben Courtice, Socialist Alliance candidate for the seat of Gellibrand, launched his election campaign on July 31 outside the Maribyrnong Detention centre. Courtice told Green Left Weekly the Socialist Alliance calls for an immediate end to mandatory detention and offshore processing. It also supports increasing Australia’s low refugee intake to a minimum of 20,000 per year .