The debate over genetically modified (GM) food has flared up again recently, after Greenpeace destroyed an experimental CSIRO wheat crop in Canberra on July 14.   The Australian Federal Police is now investigating Greenpeace over the incident, which CSIRO scientists claim has set their research back by up to a year.   Greenpeace argued the crop posed a threat to the environment and human health. Plans are underway for human trials of the GM wheat before tests are conducted on animals.  
Green Left Weekly recently spoke to Gleny Rae, who took part in the SBS documentary Go Back To Where You Came From, which retraced the journeys of some asylum seekers to their country of origin. Rae said she had realistic expectations of what she would see, but still found the experience a “reality check” that was moving and confronting.
Of the 19 protesters arrested at a Palestine solidarity protest outside Israeli-owned store Max Brenner in Melbourne on July 1, 13 were issued with bail conditions preventing them from entering the QV shopping centre or Melbourne Central shopping centres in Melbourne. The Melbourne Central shopping centre has a major city train station on its bottom floor. The protest was part of the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against the apartheid state of Israel. It is modelled on the campaign to boycott South Africa in the 1970s and ’80s.
The shift to the right of the Labor Party has increasingly created a sense that there is little difference between the two major parties. Both are willing to implement the neoliberal policies pushed by corporate interests and differ only on the details. On many issues, the shift to the right does not reflect public opinion. This is the context for the growth of support for the Australian Greens in recent years. The Greens, with nine senators, now hold the balance of power in the Senate as well as one lower house seat.
Banking graphic.

The euro will survive for now — but only because working people in Greece and other European countries face greater suffering. That’s the not-so-hidden agenda behind the new US$227 billion bailout of Greece organised by the most powerful countries of the European Union, mainly France and Germany.

A protest for refugee rights outside the offices of security company Serco, in Coronation Drive, on July 29 called for the end of mandatory detention of asylum seekers and criticised Serco’s management of Australia’s detention centres. More than 40 people attended the protest, which was organised by the Brisbane Refugee Action Collective (RAC).
An enthusiastic group of community campaigners was chosen to run for the September 3 council elections in Wollongong. About 100 people attended the preselection meeting for Community Voice at Thirroul Community Centre on July 24. CV was formed about a month ago. The process was simple, democratic and transparent — values at the core of CV’s platform. Part of the reason for the formation of CV was to bring a community focus to council, standing against the entrenched corruption of local politics that culminated in the sacking of Wollongong council in 2008.
In recent weeks, something unprecedented has erupted in Israel. Protesting the high cost of living, especially of housing, predominantly young people have established protest camps. The campaign was sparked by a young single mother who, in desperation over her housing situation, pitched her tent outside the Knesset (Israeli parliament). Now the tent protests have spread like wildfire all over Israel.
Ballots on motions authorising industrial action have taken place among members of the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) in three government departments. In the Department of Immigration and Citizenship and the Customs Service, more than 80% of voters supported industrial action. However, the number of people that voted in each case fell slightly short of the 50% required for “protected industrial action” under federal industrial laws.
NSW groups opposed to the rollout of coal seam gas mining in the state have said new rules for the industry fall far short of what is needed to protect water reserves, farmland and communities from toxic contamination. The changes, announced on July 21, put a moratorium on fracking until the end of the year and ban the use of evaporation ponds to dispose of toxic wastewater from the coal seam gas mining process.
Members of forest conservation group Code Green held a direct action protest at a woodchip mill at Bell Bay in northern Tasmania on July 29. The protest temporarily shut down the mill, which is owned by logging company Artec. One protester chained herself to a truck loaded with native, old growth logs. Code Green said the action was meant to highlight “the continued destruction of Tasmania’s natural environment, and the government’s unwillingness to create real peace in the forest”.
To mark the 28th anniversary of the 1983 Black July massacre of ethnic Tamils in Sri Lanka, Australian Tamils held a solidarity rally in Melbourne on July 23. More than 200 Australians assembled at Federation Square to condemn the human rights violations taking place in Sri Lanka and to raise a voice for an international investigation into war crimes by the Sri Lankan government.