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.
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 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.
Save the Children recently released its annual “State of the World’s Mothers” report, which, using a wide range of statistics from 164 countries, ranks the best and worst places on earth to be a mother, a woman and a child.
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?
“To continue this revolution, Egypt must go to Palestine.” These were the words of Akram Ismalii, a student from Cairo University who marched along side his classmates in downtown Cairo for the Third Palestine Intifada rally on May 15. The day marks al-Nakba ("the catastrophe"), as Palestinians call the anniversary of the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes and land in 1948. It was rumored it would be a 1 million-person march, but the protests led by pro-Palestine demonstrators may have disappointed in size, but delivered in passion.
The axing of 82 full-time jobs from the Fairfax Media group has prompted protests by angry Fairfax employees in Sydney and Melbourne. Sub-editors, designers and artists will be outsourced from The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald to Pagemasters. Furious journalists and other workers from the Fairfax media organisations vented their anger at stopwork meetings in Sydney and Melbourne on May 12 and then again at public rallies on May 19.
The Leichhardt Friends of Hebron group in Sydney’s inner west has been awarded a small grant. The grant is designed to enable grassroots community participation in events during Refugee Week and encourage Australians to think about the reasons refugees flee their homelands. Such grants are made possible through the support of the NSW Community Relations Commission.
More than 100 people attended a meeting to commemorate Mulivaikal Remembrance Day on May 22 — the second anniversary of the day the Sri Lankan military crushed the Tamil Eelam struggle in northern Sri Lanka in 2009. The gathering, which included guest speakers, multi-religious prayers and children's cultural performances, was organised by the Australian Tamil Congress. Chairperson Maree Klemm noted two particular aspects of the Sri Lankan civil war — the attack by government forces on the civilian Tamil populaton, and the lack of international intervention to stop the violence.