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.
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.
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 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.
Special Treatment Starring Isabelle Huppert, Bouli Lanners, Richard Debuisne, Sabila Moussadek, Valerie Dreville Directed by Jeanne Labrune In cinemas now A comedy film about prostitutes and psychoanalysis? Surely only the French could do it, and so it is with this witty, not exactly hilarious, thought-provoking exploration of the overlap between the two professions.
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.
As the United States prepares itself for the approaching 2012 presidential election, voters in primaries to select the Republican candidate find themselves inundated by a selection of arch-conservative contenders vying for the opportunity to seize the nomination. Guided by “God”, free-market economics and corporate tax cuts, Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, darling of the right-wing Tea Party, appears at the forefront of such arch-conservative efforts to enter the White House and set in motion an uncompromising far-right agenda.
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.
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.
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.”
Rising Tide Newcastle released the statement below on August 5. * * * This morning climate activists scaled a 15 metre high coal conveyor belt in Newcastle’s coal port and suspended a banner saying, “We’re sorry Somalia. Coal = climate change and starvation”. Their action comes as scientists this week have made the link between human-made climate change and the deadly drought affecting over ten million people across the Horn of Africa. Rising Tide spokesperson Naomi Hogan is at the scene.
War criminal and former British PM Tony Blair had only just completed a lucrative commercial speaking tour of Australia when Australia’s federal Director of Public Prosecutions began court proceeding to prosecute former Guantanamo detainee David Hicks under “proceeds of crime” laws. Government prosecutors want to seize the profits from his book Guantanamo: My Journey, of which about 30,000 copies have been sold.
The Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN) released the statement below on August 3. * * * DASSAN today expressed concern about the increase of the number of children being detained in immigration detention centres in Darwin. As at August 3, figures provided by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship indicated that there are currently 180 children being detained in Darwin.
The Australian Forests and Climate Alliance (AFCA) released this statement on August 1. * * * Forest conservation and climate action groups across Australia, joined by prominent conservationist Peter Cundall, today warned the Julia Gillard and Lara Giddings governments that their Tasmanian forest deal is a sham that will waste $250 million dollars of taxpayers’ money. “This sham deal can not deliver ‘peace’ in the forests,” said AFCA spokespersons [representing] more than 30 groups around the country.
Conservation group South East Forest Rescue released the statement below on August 1 to coincide with its protest outside the headquarters of Forests NSW. * * *