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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 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.

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.

About 150 representatives engaged in the campaign against coal and coal seam gas mining attended the inaugural annual general meeting of the Lock the Gate Alliance, held in Murwillumbah, NSW, over June 11 and 12.

Lock the Gate (LTG) is a national body that represents more than 90 community groups and hundreds of individuals concerned about the impacts of coal and coal seam gas mining.

The meeting elected four office bearers and five committee members, including Sarah Moles as secretary and Sean Gough as treasurer.

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About 50 people rallied on June 16 under the slogan, “Don’t derail Altona. Save our trains.”

The rally was called to protest the Victorian government’s cuts to rail services on the Werribee line’s Altona Loop.

The service cuts mean the Altona Loop will lose direct access to the city loop and all of its express trains. Services will be cut from 20 to 22-minute intervals during peak periods.

Outside peak periods the service will be cut to a train shuttle from Laverton to Newport so most passengers will have to change trains.

If you are a cow destined for someone’s dinner plate, the federal Labor government won’t send you to Indonesia without a guarantee you will be treated humanely.

But if you are an asylum seeker risking your life to reach Australia by boat in a desperate attempt to escape war, poverty and persecution, the government will send you to Malaysia with little regard for your welfare.

Sungai Siput, Malaysia - "It is definitely not on for Australia to outsource their refugee problem to Malaysia - and for Malaysia to agree to it", the Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM) member of parliament Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj told Green Left Weekly at the PSM's 13th Congress held in this town, which is the population centre of his electorate.

"Australia is sending refugees to a country that hasn't ratified the refugee convention.

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