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About 3000 people rallied outside Tasmania’s parliament house on June 16 to protest a harsh budget handed down by the ALP-Greens coalition government.

Up to 1700 public sector workers will lose their jobs and 20 schools will close under the government’s plans.

Gaddafi has record of slaughter

Tony Iltis [GLW #882] perceptively takes apart the double-dealing of the major Western powers as they have responded to the Arab revolts. But he is on shakier ground when he argues in relation to Libya that “there is no evidence that the (NATO) intervention saved thousands of lives”.

As reported by Reuters on March 17, Muammar Gaddafi in a radio broadcast threatened the people of the rebel city of Benghazi in these terms: “We will come … house by house, room by room … We will have no mercy and no pity.”

Multinational gas company Dart Energy met with residents from St Peters on June 6 to discuss the company’s plans to carry out exploratory coal seam gas (CSG) drilling in Sydney’s inner-west before the end of the year.

Dart have plans to drill at a now vacant industrial site in St Peters close to residential properties and Sydney Park.

The exploration licence held by Dart covers not only St Peters but an area of 2392 square kilometeres, encompassing most of metropolitan and suburban Sydney.

The president of the Pacific island nation of Nauru told Australian opposition leader Tony Abbott that it would move to sign the United Nations Convention on the Status of Refugees though it has not taken formal steps to do so.

Abbott said on June 13 this meant Prime Minister Julia Gillard had “run out of excuses” not to reopen the centre and send refugees to the small, poor nation about 4000 kilometres from Australia.

In the first week of June, the Baillieu state government introduced new laws that give Victorian police the power to issue on-the-spot fines of up to $240 for using offensive language.

Victorian police already had the power to charge people with indecent language offences, but they had to do this through the court system. This meant that people had the opportunity to defend their behaviour through the judicial system and were more likely to get a fair hearing.

Young Indonesians aged 15 and 16, alleged to be crewmembers on boats giving passage for refugees to Australia, are being held in Australian adult prisons. They are charged under harsh people smuggling laws that carry minimum mandatory sentences of five years.

At least four young men under 18 are known to be held in maximum security prisons in Western Australia and Queensland. This was revealed after human rights lawyers told media of three young men kidnapped from their village on Roti Island to work for a “people smuggling” racket.

In April and May, while in South America as part of solidarity brigades to Venezuela and Bolivia, I met some people who have risked everything to make their communities and their countries better places to live. I became so used to people passionately fighting for things they believed in that when I returned to Australia I received a sharp shock.

Suddenly I was back among people who, in general, did not care much or want to know about issues of inequality or other problems in our society. It is for these people that this is written.

On Friday June 3, NSW Greens mining spokesperson Jeremy Buckingham launched a bill in state parliament that would place a 12-month moratorium on the coal seam gas (CSG) industry in NSW and prohibit CSG mining in the Sydney metropolitan area.

Speaking at the bill launch, Buckingham pointed out the risks associated with CSG extraction, including wastewater, fugitive emissions, land impact and depletion of aquifers.

The Greens’ attempt to challenge Australia’s Afghan war policy in parliament last year has, by and large, sunk without trace.

In spite of recent polls showing overwhelming public opposition, Australia’s Afghan commitment rolls on, with the recent deaths of more Australian soldiers. And the war continues to claim the lives of Afghan civilians.

The Pilliga State Forest in northern NSW will be turned into a gas field if the government approves Eastern Star Gas's (ESG) mining proposal for the region.

The proposal set out by ESG seeks to develop the Pilliga into the state's largest coal seam gas (CSG) project.

The development would include the drilling of more than 1000 gas wells and the clearing of vast stretches of native bushland to make way for gas pipelines and other associated infrastructure, such as a water treatment facility and access roads.

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