Two of the central figures in a major media and government scandal that erupted in the lead-up to the launch of the Northern Territory intervention will speak in Sydney on September 3, in their first public engagement together. Tjanara Goreng Goreng, a former Howard Coalition government official-turned-whistleblower, and Chris Graham, the founding editor of the National Indigenous Times, will speak address a public forum, at the University of Technology, Sydney, hosted by the Stop the Intervention Collective Sydney (STICS).
Over the weekend of August 14-15, a “Compassion Caravan” left Perth to visit the Leonora immigration detention centre. Organised by the Refugee Rights Action Network of Western Australia (RRAN), the caravan included 22 people (including university lecturers and children) and a cargo of gifts for the 195 mothers, fathers and children in the remote Leonora detention centre.
As the mainstream press frets that the much-touted “economic-recovery” appears to have lost steam, the economic crisis continues to escalate for ordinary people. With official unemployment holding steady at 9.5% (real unemployment is much higher), and with the state budget cuts producing yet more tuition increases, a growing phenomenon is sweeping the nation: homeless and hungry college students.
To give yourself a stressful and futile day, try telling people there are no plans to build a mosque at Ground Zero. You’ll get nowhere, although the truth is there are plans to build an Islamic centre, with a swimming pool open to everyone, two blocks away from Ground Zero site of the September 11, 2001 attack on the Twin Towers in New York.
The two major civil service unions on strike against the South African government have vowed to intensify pressure in a struggle pitting more than a million workers against a confident government leadership fresh from hosting the World Cup. Along with many smaller public sector unions, educators from the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) and nurses from the National Health and Allied Workers Union (NEHAWU) have picketed schools, clinics and hospitals, leading to widespread shutdowns from August 18.
Trans-Continental Hustle Gogol Bordello Colombia/ DMZ Review by Mat Ward Gogol Bordello have always said their aim is to smuggle Roma music into mainstream Western society. Their latest album, produced by former Beastie Boys DJ-turned-super-producer Rick Rubin, might just do that. The US-based band, whose music combines elements of traditional Romani music with punk rock, is largely made up of Eastern European Roma immigrants who understand the long-standing persecution of their people.
On August 24, New York cab driver Ahmed Sharif was viscously assaulted by a passenger in his cab, who asked him if he was a Muslim before attacking him with a knife. Sharif was hospitalised but survived. The NYC Coalition to Stop Islamophobia released the statement below on August 25. It is abridged from the website of the Coalition to Stop Islamophobia in America. * * *
Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi announced on August 24 that its affiliated unions will launch a solidarity “secondary strike” on September 2 in support of the country's 1.3 million public servants and teachers on strike for better wages and allowances. Vavi warned: “No member of COSATU will be at work next week.”
For most queer rights activists, the most pressing issue is queer marriage rights. Denying this basic right to a large number of Australians is abhorrent. In a democracy, the elected officials are supposed to represent the views of the people who elect them. The majority of Australians are in favor of giving same-sex couples the right to marry, but both major parties have shown their contempt for the opinions of the majority.
Voters’ stunning rejection of both major parties has left neither likely to form a government in its own right. Whichever party governs, it will have to rely on the support of at least three and probably four independents, with Andrew Wilkie's chance of taking Denison from Labor firming.