The double meaning in the popular slogan “White Australia has a black history”, sadly, still applies to federal, state and territory government policies. Governments may have apologised for past mistreatment but they are still destroying Aboriginal communities and stealing Aboriginal land. Official racism is as alive as ever. The Gillard Labor government’s Ministry of Truth must be working overtime to churn out titles for programs that say the opposite of what they actually deliver.
Nineteen-year-old Michael Delaney died after being run over by a truck in east London on a Saturday night in January 1987. An inquest jury found that he had been a victim of unlawful killing. But nobody has ever been prosecuted. Delaney had been among trade unionists picketing the Rupert Murdoch-owned News International plant at Wapping against the sacking of more than 5000 workers and the de-recognition of unions.
Green Left Weekly coeditor Stuart Munckton spoke on a panel with independent journalists Wendy Bacon and Antony Loewenstein at an August 2 forum in Sydney. Below is an abridged version of Munckton’s talk, which discussed building alternatives to the corporate media. * * * In some ways the scandal around Rupert Murdoch’s media empire shows the potential crisis of the corporate media in a negative sense.
Supporters of justice for former Guantanamo Bay prisoner David Hicks rallied outside the NSW Supreme Court on August 3 to condemn moves by the Department of Public Prosecutions to seize the proceeds of Hicks’ 2010 book Guantanamo: My Journey under “proceeds of crime” laws. Speakers at the rally included Stop the War Coalition Sydney’s Pip Hinman, NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge, and peace activist Donna Mulhearn.
The annual Hiroshima Day rally and march, commemorating the US atomic bombing of the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945, was held in Brisbane on August 6. The rally, under the theme, "For a nuclear-free and independent Australia," attracted about 100 people to Brisbane Square, to hear speakers, and singers, including the Trade Union Choir.
Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) members in the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry held one-hour stopwork meetings at 40 sites around Australia on August 4. They are campaigning for a pay rise greater than the 3% a year offered by management. They voted to escalate their action in coming weeks, including work bans from August 11, if the employer does not make an improved pay offer. On August 2, delegates from all Australian Public Service departments rallied outside the Canberra office of the Australian Public Service Commission.
For more news on the global boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel, see Electronic Intifada's BDS Beat South African students renew call to boycott Israel Representatives of South Africa’s oldest and largest student bodies in Johannesburg denounced an upcoming visit by a delegation of Israeli officials and propagandists to South African college campuses in an August 3 press conference, ElectronicIntifada.net said on August 5.
Ten countries and nine jurisdictions in the world have recognised marriage equality since 2001. Many other parts of the world recognise civil unions, registration schemes or same-sex marriages performed outside of the respective country. Australians are ready to follow suit. Seventy-five percent of Australians expect same-sex marriage to be legalised, said a 2011 Galaxy Poll.
United States: Land of the 1% “The upper 1 percent of Americans are now taking in nearly a quarter of the nation’s income every year. In terms of wealth rather than income, the top 1 percent control 40 percent. Their lot in life has improved considerably. Twenty-five years ago, the corresponding figures were 12 percent and 33 percent … “One response might be to celebrate the ingenuity and drive that brought good fortune to these people, and to contend that a rising tide lifts all boats. That response would be misguided.
Victorian planning minister Matthew Guy has taken control of planning issues at Fitzroy and Richmond housing estates, enraging Yarra Council and tenants. In the July 26 Melbourne Times Weekly, Alana Schetzer: “The Department of Human Services last week informed the council of the decision, which took effect immediately. Mayor Alison Clarke said the council was shocked, adding the decision removed community consultation on future planning applications. The Federal government is due to fund a $113 million redevelopment of the estates.”
Around 200 people attended a "Unite Against Racism" rally in the King George Square on August 6. It was staged in opposition to a rally organised by the far-right Australian Defence League (ADL) attacking Islam and calling for a ban on the burqa. The tiny ADL rally was aimed at inciting hatred and violence toward Muslim people and refugees. After several speakers condemned attacks on Islam and refugees, the anti-racist rallygoers confronted a small group of around 20 racists as they tried to address passersby through a loudspeaker system.
Australian musician Olivia Newton-John released this open letter on July 31. * * * My fellow Australians: I love this country, its people, its rugged beauty, its rainforests, its vastness and unique wildlife. And, as a longtime advocate of the environment, I am greatly concerned for the continued health and wellness of Australia. My dream is that our children and grandchildren can enjoy the Australia that we all know and love. That is why I am horrified to learn of the extensive plans for coal seam gas and shale gas exploration in Australia.