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Federal riot police have the go-ahead to use Tasers, tear gas, batons, capsicum spray and handcuffs to force refugees onto a flight to Malaysia from Christmas Island. Immigration officials say they will film the ordeal to put online as a “potent message” to other refugees. The first asylum seekers to undergo this ordeal arrived in Australian waters less than a week after the “Malaysia solution” came into effect. A boat carrying 55 Afghan, Iranian and Iraqi refugees was intercepted near Scott Reef on July 31. More than one third of the asylum seekers on the boat are children.
Friends of Palestine (WA) member Alex Bainbridge wrote the letter of complaint that appears below to the producers of The Bolt Report and Network Ten after a segment on the show tried to link the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israeli apartheid with the racist measures taken against Jewish businesses by the Hitler regime in the 1930s. Bainbridge said the claim was a dishonest attempt by opponents of Palestinian human rights to discredit the BDS movement as public interest and support for BDS continues to increase. * * *
The article below is an abridged August 2 editorial from Socialist Worker (US). * * * If your eyes are glazing over at the large numbers and the complicated mechanics of the deal to cut US$2.1 trillion from the United States federal budget over the next decade, here’s a short summary of the agreement: Screw the sick, poor and the elderly while imposing a permanently lower standard of living for working people, all while helping bankers and the rich grab a greater share of society’s wealth.
Mark Goudkamp from the Sydney Refugee Action Coalition, Gleny Rae, a participant in the SBS series Go Back Where You Came From, and Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young addressed the biggest meeting supporting asylum seekers seen in Newcastle since the Howard era on August 4. Goudkamp said 54 asylum seekers, 19 of them children, had recently arrived by boat on Christmas Island. They had not yet been told they would be sent to Malaysia. “The media reports extra riot police have been sent there,” Goudkamp said. “But the government is saying they have counsellors on hand.”
The NSW government was evasive for several days on whether it would allow uranium exploration and mining, banned since 1986. This followed the call by federal resources minister Martin Ferguson in May for NSW and Victoria to rethink their uranium mining bans. Premier Barry O’Farrell and resources minister Chris Hartcher finally said on August 5 they would not overturn the uranium mining ban. In mid-June, Hartcher met the chief executive of the Australian Uranium Association Michael Angwin, who is lobbying to overturn the ban, the Sydney Morning Herald said.
The grassroots campaign for a community driven council in Wollongong is well underway, as the election approaches on September 3. Community Voice is standing a full ticket across all three local wards including Michael Organ, former Greens MP for Cunningham, for mayor. Organ is a local historian and environmental activist. He has been actively involved in campaigns to save Sandon Point and Wollongong's Regent Theatre. He is also part of the recent campaign to secure land at Hill 60 for preservation and public ownership.
A coalition of groups in New South Wales came together in June to campaign against the federal government’s plan to introduce income management for welfare recipients in the Sydney suburb of Bankstown. The new coalition, called “Say no to government’s income management: not in Bankstown, not anywhere”, released the open letter below on July 27. * * * To ministers Tanya Plibersek and Jenny Macklin and to the local federal members for Banks, Blaxland and Watson.
The ALP is the party for ordinary Australians, right? Resistance members will often talk about the importance of political movements being independent of political parties, but what does this mean for the ALP? Isn’t the ALP Australia’s party of progress? And surely they are better then the Tories? Isn’t it our party? Well, it is a party that’s designed for progressives, unionists and activists, but that doesn’t mean that it's ours. If you look at its history, the ALP has attracted progressive people but rarely helped create change.
John Bellamy Foster, the keynote speaker at the upcoming World At A Crossroads: Climate Change Social Change conference — to be held in Melbourne from September 30 to October 3 — is the co-author (with Fred Magdoff) of a newly published book: What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know About Capitalism.
About 50 staff and students gathered outside the University of Melbourne ERC Library on August 2 to protest ongoing cuts in the library workforce. Corey Rabaut, an industrial officer with the National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU), said 13 University of Melbourne library staff members face losing their jobs due to upgrades underway in the Baillieu and ERC libraries.
About 40% of new Disability Support Pension (DSP) recipients may be ruled ineligible as the federal Labor government updates the tables for the assessment of work-related impairment for DSP. Community services minister Jenny Macklin said on July 30 that the revised impairment tables will be implemented from January 1 next year and will apply to new recipients only. This is the first review of the DSP impairment tables since 1993.
Australian detention harms asylum seekers Australia is confronted by the tragic phenomena of detention centre deaths, with five suicides in the last 10 months, over 1000 suicide attempts and thousands of self-inflicted injuries among asylum seekers. There have recently been two more suicide attempts at Darwin immigration centre. There will most likely be more to come. One Hazara man suffered a heart attack following efforts to rescue him from his suicide attempt.