As part of its attempts to turn back the clock in the Catholic Church, the Vatican drew 1.5 million of the devout to Rome on May 1 for the beatification ceremony of Karol Wojtyla, Pope John Paul II. He may become the fastest declared saint in history. The Vatican is also pushing the canonisation of Pius XII, who was pope during World War II. While attention has been drawn to John Paul II’s woeful record on the issue of sexual abuse within the church, little has been said about the reasons for the rush to beatification and sainthood.
The worst thing about the Labor government’s proposed carbon price scheme is that it’s a diversion from real action on climate change. Few of its supporters say it will deliver significant renewable energy or emissions cuts any more — only that it will “start the process” and complement other measures. See also: Green illusions and the carbon tax Critical Decade report understates climate threat
It took Arrow Energy more than 24 hours to cap a major gas well blow-out. The well sprayed water and methane up to 90 metres in the air on a farming property west of Dalby in Queensland. The leak took place on May 22 when the well was being prepared for production. The leak was not reported to authorities until two hours after it occurred, and it took the gas company a further four hours to inform property owner Tom O'Connor.
The Australian media, collectively, does a dismal job of telling the story of our silent apartheid, the space between black and white Australians. The new assimilation, well underway in the Northern Territory, has the same intent as government policies of past eras, still aiming to change Aboriginal people, restrict the importance of their law, language and cultural practice, and move many from their ancestral lands into new housing estates that, we are promised, will materialise magically in great little Aussie growth towns.
When the Tasmanian state government forced a bridge through the kutalyana site as part of the Brighton bypass, the Aboriginal community responded by placing a ban on conducting Aboriginal heritage assessments. These bans are being upheld by all Aboriginal Heritage Officers and the archeologists who work with them. They are intended to remain in place until the legislation that protects Aboriginal heritage is improved. The first major project to be affected by this is the proposed asylum seeker detention centre at Pontville, near Brighton.
The Western Australia Liberal government recently said its lucrative prisoner transport contract with private security firm G4S would end in July. Another private company, the British-based conglomerate Serco, will take over. The move came after a long campaign against G4S and the WA department of corrective services over the death of Aboriginal man Mr Ward, who died of heat stroke in a G4S van during a 360 kilometre trip in January 2008. The state coroner said G4S was directly responsible for Mr Ward’s awful death.
Melbourne’s only Indigenous specialist school, Ballerrt Mooroop College (BMC), is again under threat from the state government. The Baillieu Liberal government plans to shift the Glenroy Specialist School (GSS) onto the site, which would push the BMC onto one third of the land it has occupied since 1995. The government provided $18 million to GSS to relocate, but the BMC received just $750,000 to upgrade existing buildings. It is clear that the Baillieu government is pitting disadvantaged schools against each other.
The “Big Four” record companies, already responsible for more than 80% of album sales on the planet, may be on the verge of becoming the “Big Three”. On May 6, Warner Music Group was sold to Ukrainian-American tycoon Leonard Blavatnik. Warner is the world's third largest record company. Blavatnik ― the world's 80th richest man ― is also rumored to have his sights set on number four EMI. If that sale comes to pass, it will create the largest music label in history.
Riz Wakil, an Afghan refugee, arrived on Ashmore Reef in 1999 and was held in Curtin detention centre for nine months. Now a permanent Australian resident, he runs a printery. In June 2010, GetUp! won a charity auction prize — a surfing lesson with opposition leader Tony Abbott — and donated it to Wakil. Abbott and Wakil finally met for the surf lesson on May 8. Green Left Weekly’s Rachel Evans spoke to Wakil about the encounter and Australia’s refugee system. What did Abbott say during the lesson?