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The Decline are a punk band from Western Australia that formed in 2006. They “deliver catchy, melodic speedy punk rock, with humorous and socially aware lyrics”, TheDecline.com.au says. They have opened for groups such as Frenzal Rhomb, No Fun at All and the Flatliners.

The Decline released their first full-length album, I’m Not Gonna Lie To You, in September 2009. Green Left Weekly’s Chris Peterson spoke to The Decline about the album. You can find out more, and buy the album, at their website.

In Australia, the question of environmental protection has increasingly been linked to the need to reduce or contain the nation’s population level size. This is often tied to the argument that the high level of consumption in First World countries is unsustainable.

PERTH — ‘We are running because the Labor and Liberal parties do not represent the interests of ordinary people’, said Socialist Alliance candidate for Perth Alex Bainbridge at the launch of SA’s campaign.

‘We're struggling to build a movement that can more effectively represent the interests of ordinary people on some of the big issues that we face. These issues include climate change, workers’ rights, the shameful policies that governments are taking towards refugees and towards Aboriginal people.’

Outlaw
Directed by James Adler, written by Michael Healy
Studio 2, Northcote Town Hall, Melbourne
August 20 — September 3
Bookings: Eaglenest.eventix.com.au, (03) 9384 6900

“A tyre slasher in Berlin — radical green politics or someone just blowing a gasket?”, reads the blurb for new play Outlaw. “The friends of Tilman Hessel — the local Green's party leader — think it might be him ...”

SYDNEY — In the final weeks before the federal election, federal transport minister Anthony Albanese has announced the proposed extension of the M5 roadway is to be scrapped.

The proposed road was to be a 50-foot-high motorway, cutting through soccer fields and regenerated bushland in Tempe. It would have passed through Sydenham, and ended at St Peters — a short distance from the already congested south King St in Newtown.

New Zealand’s National Party-led government announced on July 18 a law that would allow bosses to fire new workers at will, restrict access to unions, cut workers’ entitlements to sick leave and holidays, and remove the right to appeal against unfair sackings. On August 21, unions will respond with rallies across the country.

The two most significant aspects of the government’s plans are the extension of 90-day “trial period” and a requirement for union organisers to gain permission from employers before visiting union members or potential recruits on the job.

PERTH — Members of the Perth Burmese community held a commemoration on August 8 for the democratic uprising that took place in Burma exactly 22 years before.

Speakers at the commemoration called for a restoration of democracy in Burma, including freedom for pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and for stronger action in support of democracy from the Australian government. A solidarity dinner for the Burmese struggle was also held on August 7.

This open letter to Elton John was released on July 30 by Alexander Billet. It is reprinted from Sociarts.com. Billet’s blog on popular music can be read at Rebelfrequencies.blogspot.com.

* * *

Dear Elton,

First of all, I hope you don’t mind that I refuse to call you “Sir”. Knights swing swords and ride horses. You play a piano.

After a successful strike and picket line on August 8, Victoria University’s (VU) vice chancellor, Liz Harman, agreed to negotiate on pay and conditions.

Until then, senior management had demanded that promised pay rises this year be in return for abandoning regulation of workloads in the current enterprise bargaining round. The National Tertiary Education Union Branch (NTEU) has now suspended its bans on releasing results. Stood down union members have been reinstated.

BRISBANE — A meeting of about 150 members of the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) at the University of Queensland on August 5 passed a motion of no-confidence in UQ vice-chancellor Paul Greenfield.

The meeting voted to start rolling stop-works within two weeks if they do not receive an improved pay offer from university management.

UQ staff are due to receive only a 3.1% pay increase for 2010. An NTEU leaflet said that, by comparison, the vice-chancellor’s salary rose by $110,000 in 2009 to $989,999, an increase of 12.5%.

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