More than 100 community supporters, environmentalists and trade unionists assembled on the steps of Trades Hall in Melbourne to launch the “100,000 Australians” campaign. A project of the Earthworker co-operative, the campaign seeks to build a cooperatively-owned factory making solar hot water systems in Morwell, Victoria. The project is hoping for 100,000 Australians to join the Earthworker Cooperative at $20 a member to raise the $2 million needed for the “Eureka’s Future” factory machinery, fit-out and finish.
Distinguished US activist, writer and former political prisoner Angela Davis addressed a public forum in Sydney on August 11 organised by the prisoner rights group Sisters Inside. Davis was a keynote speaker at Sisters Inside's sixth International Conference on the criminalisation of women and imprisonment, held in Sydney over August 10 to 12. Her speech at the August 11 public forum is below. * * *
Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) staff took industrial action for two hours from 3pm on August 11 over stalled enterprise agreement negotiations. Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) members in DAFF walked off the job at about 40 sites across Australia for two hours in protest at the lack of progress with their pay claim. The stoppage affected quarantine inspections at airports, meat inspections at abattoirs and other DAFF services. The action followed a series of one-hour national stoppages the previous week.
The organising collective for December’s “1Love: equality, marriage, freedom” conference in Sydney released the statement below on August 11. * * * The first national conference to discuss the future and direction of the marriage equality campaign has been announced. The grassroots campaign for marriage rights has been a great success to date — we have won civil unions in the ACT, three registration schemes and recognition of international same-sex marriages in Tasmania.
Friends of the Earth (FoE) has claimed a victory after company Mecrus Resources Pty Ltd removed coal and coal seam gas from its application for a resource exploration licence in Victoria. FoE raised the alarm on August 5 about the company's application with the Department of Primary Industries to explore for a range of resources in south-western Victoria, including mineral sands, brown and black coal, coal bed methane (aka coal seam gas), gold, silver, platinum and other minerals. By August 8, the company had removed coal and coal seam gas from the application.
Residents from the Putty Valley, 150 kilometres northwest of Sydney, are outraged at the news that coal seam gas drilling will begin in their rural community on August 15. An August 10 statement on the Putty Gasbag website said residents heard about the drilling start date only after a local resident called mining company Dart Energy about a different matter.
On Hiroshima Day, on August 6, two events were held in Wollongong to remember the terrible events of 1945. About 30 peace activists gathered around the Peace Plaque in the city mall to remember the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This year, 30 people shared a one-minute silence at 8:15am, the time the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.
Boycott Israel 19, August 11 - Israeli activists from the pro boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign in Israel issued the statement below on August 11 in support of Australian pro-Palestine activists in Melbourne who have faced arrests and intimidation from the Victorian government. * * * Following anti-Democratic Arrests and Intimidation Attempts: Israeli Citizens in Solidarity with Australian BDS Activists!
Australian group Students for Palestine released the statement below on August 9. * * * The Victorian Police and courts went to outrageous lengths to criminalise solidarity activism with Palestine on August 9. For the crime of attending a peaceful demonstration against Max Brenner chocolate store and its support for apartheid, four activists were snatched from their homes in the early hours of the day, locked in a holding cell, and made to pay a combined total of $16,000 in surety to be allowed to leave.
Kevin Bracken, the Victorian secretary of the Maritime Union of Australia, made this statement below in a personal capacity in response to the arrest of four Palestine solidarity activists on August 9. * * * The heavy handed approach taken at the direction of the Victorian government to protesters condemning the Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people should be of concern to the community. The rolling out of arcane legislation to stifle any criticism of the state of Israel is an attack on our right to free speech.
The Socialist Alliance released the statement below on August 10. * * * Our right to demonstrate in support Palestinian human rights must be protected. Millions of people across the Middle East have been protesting for freedom of speech and freedom to protest, while in Victoria, the Ted Baillieu Coalition government is proceeding to criminalise political protest, particularly protest in support of Palestinian human rights. See also:
The Geelong and Region Trades and Labour Council released the statement below on August 10. * * * “Supporters of free speech and our right to protest must condemn today’s early morning arrests of Palestine solidarity activists,” said Tim Gooden, secretary of Geelong Trades Hall. See also: Green Left rejects attempt to silence Palestine supporters Baillieu tries to silence protest in Victoria
The Ward 1 campaign website of Community Voice, a ticket of community activists that will stand in the September 3 Wollongong City Council elections, released the statement below on August 9. * * * Founding members of Stop Coal Seam Gas Illawarra, Jess Moore and Chris Williams, are standing with Community Voice as Ward 1 candidates in the forthcoming Wollongong City Council elections.
The statement published below was released on August 9 by Samah Sabawi on behalf of the Australians for Palestine steering committee. * * * It has come to our attention that the Victorian Consumer Affairs Minister Michael O'Brien has singled out our organisation as well as a few others for investigation by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) for an alleged suspicion that we may have been involved in ‘secondary boycotts’ against Israeli-owned businesses in Australia.
Why is it that the same areas always erupt first, whatever the cause? Pure accident? Might it have something to do with race and class and institutionalised poverty and the sheer grimness of everyday life? The coalition politicians (including new New Labour, who might well sign up to a national government if the recession continues apace) with their petrified ideologies can’t say that because all three parties are equally responsible for the crisis. They made the mess. See also: