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More than 3000 people turned out to Austinmer beach in the Illawarra on May 29 to form a “STOP COAL SEAM GAS!” human sign. Three helicopters, each from a big media outlet, circled above the cheering and waving crowd to film the historic event. Check out all the pictures and media coverage by visiting Stop CSG Illawarra's website: stop-csg-illawarra.org. A big team of more than 40 volunteers from Stop CSG Illawarra helped make the day such a success.
Three hundred teachers from across NSW rallied outside NSW Parliament House in Macquarie St on June 4. They were joined by members of the Public Service Association, the Fire Brigade Employees Union, the NSW Nurses Federation and other unionists. The teachers left a session of the New South Wales Teachers Federation (NSWTF) council to protest the Liberal government’s plan to strip away conditions and limit wage rises of public sector workers. At the rally, the NSWTF councillors declared their support for other public sector workers and the unions NSW campaign against the changes.
In the land of desperate excuses, coal seam gas is king. The new boom industry of the Queensland and New South Wales hinterlands contaminates ground and surface waters, while taking rich farmland out of food production. But at least, its promoters argue, coal seam gas (CSG) is a weak hitter among sources of greenhouse pollution. When burnt in modern power plants, the story goes, CSG can be as much as 70% “cleaner” than coal.
Corporate media outlets claim Peru’s mining boom is doing wonders for the country’s economy, creating opportunities and making everybody richer. Quite a few Peruvians, mostly situated in the bubble-world of Lima’s wealthy areas, have been drinking the neoliberal kool-aid. Someone must have forgotten to tell those troublesome recalcitrants out in the provinces that the despoliation of their lands is good for them.
Members of various activist groups joined a roadside anti-privatisation protest in Booragoon, Western Australia on June 3. The groups responded to the call by the “In Public Hands” campaign group to campaign for public ownership of the soon-to-be-built Fiona Stanley Hospital. Protesters held placards reading “Don’t privatise our hospitals” and “Honk if you support anti-privatisation”, which received plenty of responses from passers-by.
The Stop the War coalition Sydney released the statement below on June 2. * * * “We will be there seeing the mission through” — Australian troops will stay in Afghanistan until the “job” is done. This was the response of Prime Minister Julia Gillard to the May 23 death of Sergeant Brett Wood, aged 32. It is the standard response of Australian governments to casualties in the Afghanistan war. The same response was given following the deaths seven days later of Lieutenant Marcus Case, 27, and Lance Corporal Andrew Jones, 25.
A big ad campaign — “Australia says yes” — began this month to support the federal government’s proposed carbon tax. The campaign has been organised by a coalition of peak environment and social justice organisations including GetUp!, the Australian Conservation Foundation and the Australian Council of Trade Unions. One of the people featured in the advertisements is actor Cate Blanchett. Her presence attracted the ire of conservative politicians and commentators as soon as the commercials aired.
Green Left Weekly’s Timothy Lawson spoke to Jim Richardson, a member of Sydney Solidarity for Bradley Manning, about the group’s campaign work. * * * Can you tell me about the Sydney Solidarity for Bradley Manning group?
Aboriginal community leader Sam Watson called a rally outside state parliament on June 1 to demand a new Royal Commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody. The rally also condemned the Queensland Police Union (QPU), who have demanded the Queensland government pay the legal costs incurred by Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley during his defence case about the 2004 death in custody of Palm Island man Mulrunji Domadgee. Watson told the rally: “We as taxpayers should not be paying for the legal costs of Hurley and the QPU.
More than 40 people attended a meeting on May 22 in the Wollongong suburb of Corrimal titled, “The future of local government in Wollongong; can it be community driven and democratic”? Wollongong City Council has been under adminstration since March 2008 after the ALP-dominated council was sacked for systemic corruption. An election is scheduled for September 3 for all councillor positions, including Lord Mayor. Trade unionists, socialists, Greens and community activists attended the meeting, which was organised by Broad Left.
About 200 people gathered on the steps of Victorian parliament house on June 3 for a “Swear In” to protest against new laws that give police the power to fine people for swearing. Colleen Hartland, Greens member of the legislative council, spoke of the civil liberties implications while protesters chanted potty-mouth slogans in a show of defiance to police. The protest was organised through Facebook and was called on May 31. By June 3, the event invitation had been circulated to more than 10,000 people. This demonstrates just how unpopular the laws are.
A Darwin-based asylum seeker support group today called on the Minister for Immigration, Chris Bowen, to honour his promise to remove children from detention by the end of June. In excess of 100 children remain in immigration detention in Darwin. Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN) spokesperson Kevin Kadirgamar described the situation as "very concerning". "The fact that in excess of 100 children remain in detention in Darwin only weeks out from the Minister's deadline suggests that the government is not serious about its undertaking," he said on June 1.
We chose Professor Noam Chomsky for the 2011 Sydney Peace Prize for inspiring the convictions of millions about ways to achieve those universal human rights, which bolster peace with justice. For more than 50 years he has been a world champion of freedom of speech, of the value of transparency in government and the need to challenge secrecy and censorship. In his study of the political economy of human rights, he exposed state crimes, induced by US foreign policy, across South America, the Middle East and South East Asia.
On June 1, formal Israeli festivities were held around the country to commemorate “Jerusalem Day”. One of the main events of the “Jerusalem Day" celebrations is the “Dance of Flags”. Tens of thousands of people, waving Israeli flags, march through Palestinian parts of the city. This year, the marchers chanted slogans such as “butcher the Arabs”, “burn their villages”, and “death to the leftists”. The marchers also surrounded a mosque, frantically chanting “Muhammad is dead” and “They are only Arabs, they are only fleas”.
Two men were taken to hospital and a third treated at the scene after being injured during a confrontation with police at a refugee rights protest at the Maribyrnong detention centre on May 29. The conflict took place during a pre-arranged peaceful protest organised by an alliance of refugee support groups and left-wing political groups. The protesters converged outside the Maribrynong detention centre armed with placards with slogans such as “Free the Refugees” and “Seeking Asylum is not a Crime”.

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