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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.
Safe sex advertisements are being returned to the city's bus shelters after widespread protests forced a ban to be overturned. Adshel, one of Australia's largest outdoor advertising companies, had taken down the ads on May 31 after a concerted campaign of complaints by the Australian Christian Lobby. Adshel said it had been the target of “a co-ordinated Australian Christian Lobby campaign” to have the ads removed, the June 2 Courier-Mail reported.
Reality check on climate target The Australian Climate Commission’s report The Critical Decade adopted a budget approach to cessation of greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution, stating that a 75% chance of the world avoiding a 2°C temperature rise (European Union policy) means progressive cessation of GHG pollution in 2010-2050 with emission of no more than 1 trillion tonnes more of CO2 (carbon dioxide).
The not-guilty verdict in October for a young woman and her partner put on trial for using the drug RU486 to induce an abortion came as a big relief to many. The Cairns jury took less than an hour to deliver long-awaited justice. Now the campaign has turned to smashing the anti-abortion laws that put the Cairns couple on trial in the first place. The case showed the urgent need to decriminalise abortion and realise that the right of women to control their fertility is a fundamental human right.
Alice Springs is a town unlike any other and to an outsider its racial tensions are noticeable. Walking through the shopping centre one sees security guards tell Aboriginal people to move on when they are window shopping. Poverty and homelessness are visible — and visibly black. It has always been a town that has struggled with dealing with this visible poverty — and the less visible disadvantage of the communities in the town camps. It has been back in the spotlight with a rise in social problems caused by an influx of Aboriginal people from other places.
Toowoomba’s Catholic community expressed shock at the sacking of Bishop William Morris after a five-year Vatican investigation. But Father Peter Kennedy, of South Brisbane church St Mary’s in Exile, wasn’t surprised. Sacked from the church in 2009 for “unorthodox practices”, Father Kennedy continues to front his congregation at the Trades and Labour Council building courtesy of the Queensland Council of Unions. He, along with many others in the St Mary’s community, is responsible for Micah Projects, now one of Australia’s most respected homelessness projects.

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