“The coal seam gas industry is facing a rural revolt with farmers yesterday threatening to risk arrest and lock their gates to drilling companies”, the November 2 Brisbane Courier Mail said. “A massive expansion of the industry was ignited on the weekend when BG Group-owned Queensland Gas gave the go-ahead for a $15 billion liquefied natural gas plant at Gladstone that will be fuelled by coal seam gas from the Surat Basin. Santos, Origin and Shell are all trying to firm up their own massive LNG projects.”
The Irish Republic’s government said on November 4 that it wants to slash 6 billion euros from its 2011 deficit, MorningStarOnline.co.uk said the following day. The cuts were announced despite the government admitting it would lead to lower economic growth. Ireland’s deficit is set to reach an astronomical 32%, MorningStarOnline.co.uk said, mainly because the government’s bailout of the banks with public funds cost 31 billion euros. The country has already endured two years of recession driven by the bail-out costs and a doubling of unemployment to 13.6%.
Murray Darling Basin Authority chief executive Rob Freeman recently proposed extending the consultation process on the draft Murray Darling Basin plan until 2012. This follows mobilisations by both farmers and environmentalists pushing competing claims. Renowned anthropologist Diane Bell, chair of the River, Lakes and Coorong Action Group, spoke to Green Left Weekly’s Gemma Weedall about the Murray Darling debate. * * *
Sixty people gathered at City Farm, East Perth, for an update on the opening up of WA to uranium mining and the growing campaign to stop it. The night was hosted by the newly-formed WA Nuclear Free Alliance (WANFA), which groups together about 60 Aboriginal people from communities around the state.
About 25,000 students took to the streets of Dublin on November 3 in protest at plans to increase college registration fees, MorningStarOnline.co.uk said. Many protesters wore T-shirts calling for “Education, not emigration”, referring to a recent surge of young people leaving Ireland with its double-digit unemployment for opportunities abroad, from Canada to Australia.
When a newly established group, Australians for Tamil Rights, began advertising a protest titled “Sri Lanka: Massacre of Tamils is just not cricket”, anti-Tamil Sinhalese went wild on Facebook with a campaign of vitriolic abuse. Most of the abusers denied that there had ever been a massacre of Tamils in Sri Lanka. Despite the internet campaign against the November 3 protest, it went ahead outside the Melbourne Cricket Ground where Sri Lanka and Australia played a 20-20 cricket match. One of the Sri Lankan cricketers, Ajantha Mendis, is a former artillery gunner in the Sri Lankan army.
McKillop’s real miracle For those of us in solidarity with East Timor, now Timor Leste, the real miracle is the work of Mary McKillop East Timor, with its people, notably Sr Josephine Mitchell and Sr Susan Conelly. They and others in MMET have done miracles in literacy in Timor, honouring the indigenous Tetum language.
Touring Colombian unionist Parmenio Poveda Salazar, an official with the National Unitarian Federation of Agrarian Unions (Fensuagro), has called for increased international solidarity with unionists and human rights activists in Colombia. Parmenio said: "Many leaders of Colombian unions have been assassinated, and others have been forced into exile" by the policies of former president Alvaro Uribe. These same policies are continuing under new president Manuel Santos with at least 22 unionists and social justice activists being killed in the first 75 days of Santos’ presidency.
Melbourne Catholic Archbishop Denis Hart is at it again. In 2004, he told a woman who had been sexually abused by a priest to “go to hell, bitch”. In 2009, he unsuccessfully attempted to pressure Father Bob Maguire, a progressive Melbourne icon, to retire from his local parish.
Construction workers marched through the Sydney CBD on November 3 to call on the state government to protect pay entitlements and safety standards on the $6 billion Barangaroo development on Sydney’s former wharves. Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union (CFMEU) state secretary Mal Tulloch told the rally that the development could play a critical role in turning around the NSW building industry’s race to the bottom in safety standards and decent working conditions.