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Landlord and tow truck operator Frank Cassar owns rental properties and rooming houses around Fitzroy, Clifton Hill and Elsternwick. He has ignored dozens of fines and orders imposed by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal and the Magistrate’s Court since 1999 for his flagrant violation of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997. Consumer Affairs Victoria, the government body with the power to prosecute, has vowed to take him on. But so far, there has been no action.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s legal team have announced they will appeal after British magistrate Howard Riddle ruled on February 24 that Assange can be extradited to Sweden to face questioning on allegations of sexual assault. Assange denies the allegations. Assange’s British Attorney Mark Stephens told Democracy Now later that day that the defence team remains “very optimistic about our opportunities on appeal”.
More than 300 people attended an “Experience Palestine” event organised by the Federation of Australian Muslim Students and Youth (FAMSY), at Coburg Town Hall on February 19. They were greeted by mock Israeli “border guards” and questioned about their identity and right to enter the premises. Once they had passed through the wood and wire “checkpoints”, visitors listened to guest speakers on Palestine and life under occupation before having a break to wander about the different exhibits.
In Australia, a society created on the basis of racial division and superiority, the ugly face of prejudice and discrimination is, unsurprisingly, still very evident today. Regardless of the often mentioned idea of a “multicultural” Australia, there seems to be a strong campaign to stigmatise, reject and isolate Muslims from mainstream values and norms. Through recent comments and initiatives taken by several Liberal and Labor party politicians, the overt nature of anti-Islamic discrimination in Australia is as obvious as it is disgraceful.
WikiLeaks has announced it will pursue legal action against disgruntled former employee Daniel Domscheit-Berg, whose recently released book, Inside WikiLeaks, slams Julian Assange's leadership and character in a series of allegations. Some of the allegations appear serious. Others are hopelessly trivial.
Labor, Liberal and National MPs lined up to pass the Labor government's National Radioactive Waste Management Bill through the House of Representatives on February 23. Greens MP Adams Bandt and independents Andrew Wilke, Rob Oakeshott and Bob Katter did not support the bill. If passed in the senate, the bill will pave the way for the construction of a national nuclear waste dump at Muckaty, north of Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory. The legislation overrides NT legislation designed to ban nuclear waste dumps in the territory.
Invasions don’t bring democracy It’s a pity the “coalition of the willing” invaded Iraq and Afghanistan. Maybe if they hadn't, the Iraqi and Afghan people would have been getting rid of Saddam Hussein and the Taliban themselves — right now. And building their own real organic democracies, step by step.
Forty-five pro-democracy activists, students and trade unionists were arrested in Harare on February 19 at a meeting to discuss the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia. On February 23, the activists were charged with treason, which risks the death penalty. It is believed that security forces loyal to President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF infiltrated the meeting at the Labour Law Centre in Harare, which was themed “Revolt in Egypt and Tunisia: What lessons can be learnt by Zimbabwe and Africa?”
Below is the text of a speech by Pip Hinman, Socialist Alliance candidate for Marrickville in the NSW state elections, to the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre candidates meeting on February 23. *** I’d like to first acknowledge that we’re meeting on the land of the Gadigal and Wangal people of the Eora nation, and I pay my respects to their elders past and present. The two most important issues in this state election is to call a halt to the privatisations of our public assets and to immediately start a shift away from using polluting coal or gas for our energy needs.
In the previous issue of Green Left Weekly, I wrote about how the federal Coalition had resurrected the ghost of Pauline Hanson with its cynical plan to exploit the racist fear of Australia’s Muslim minority communities. But since then, there has been a parade of political ghosts. The first to emerge was the former Victorian Liberal premier Jeff Kennett, who chose to give some public advice to aspiring NSW Liberal premier Barry O’Farrell.

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