On September 13, construction worker Ark Tribe will face Adelaide Magistrates Court yet again. He is facing six months’ jail for failing to attend an interrogation by the construction industry police — the Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC), created by former Howard government as part of Work Choices, but left in place by the ALP.
A 2006 episode of the ABC’s Lateline program led directly to the greatest human rights abuse in the past half century, said founder and former editor of the National Indigenous Times Chris Graham, at a public forum of 150 people in Sydney on September 3.
With the symptoms of social and environmental crisis all around us — runaway climate change, Third World poverty, seemingly endless wars — it is sometimes easy to feel discouraged about our ability to change “the way things are”. We can forget that millions of ordinary people have many times over said “enough is enough” and come together to take action to change history.
In recent weeks, media commentary on the use of illicit drugs by professional sports players has exploded again. The first cause was the recently retired Australian rules football star and recovering drug addict Ben Cousin’s documentary Such is Life: The Troubled Times of Ben Cousins. It aired on Channel 7 on August 25 and 26. The second was the overdose on GHB of Travis Tuck, a player for Australian Football League (AFL) club Hawthorn, on August 27.
Local residents in Marrickville are opposing the proposed expansion of Marrickville Metro Shopping Centre. The Metro Watch group has developed a website, held information stalls, collected signatures on petitions, door-knocked the local area, and held protests. The effectiveness of this local campaign was demonstrated by the fact that a full-page ad promoting the expansion appeared on the second page of the September 2 Inner West Courier.
Undoubtedly the best thing about the election result was that people — everywhere — were talking about politics. Some of the discussion was about the hung parliament where neither major party won majority support. Because the result wasn’t clear, it gave everybody an opening to form and express an opinion about what should happen next. Other parts of the discussion surrounded the sudden emergence of political issues that had been completely ignored in the “boring” election campaign. The war in Afghanistan is the best example.
Review by Mat Ward
Fit to Print: Misrepresenting the Middle East By Joris Luyendijk Scribe Publications, 250 pages, $29.95 If you've ever felt like shaking your fist in anger at some of the reporting that comes out of the Middle East, this very honest book by a disillusioned Middle East correspondent will make you shake your head in wonder. Joris Luyendijk says he had no journalistic experience when he was hired by a newspaper in his native Netherlands to report on the Middle East. He was taken on solely because he could speak Arabic.
Socialist Alternative’s Corey Oakley thinks many on the Australian left have got the federal election wrong. There is nothing positive about the balance of power being held by four independent MPs and one Green, he wrote in an August 27 article on the Socialist Alternative website. He said the left should be fearful of the independents, but some activists were wrongly celebrating the new role of these reactionary politicians.
It is a film that advocates peace, yet the head of the ABC decided it was too controversial to be viewed by the Australian public. In May, the ABC pulled the plug on an independent film documenting daily life of Palestinians living under Israel’s military occupation in the West Bank. Now, thanks to the power of public pressure, the ABC is reconsidering whether to broadcast Inka Stafrace’s documentary Hope in a Slingshot. Letters are flying thick and fast to the ABC, asking the broadcaster to air Stafrace’s film.
Adam Bandt, the MP elect for the seat of Melbourne (long considered a “safe Labor seat”), and the Greens' first House of Representatives member to be elected in a general election has been very busy since August 21. He says he left the triumphant Greens' election night party at 11pm thinking that he would have to do some media the next day so should get a good night's sleep. He woke up the next morning and after a couple of hours having coffee and reading the paper, the situation sunk in.