Dart Energy company executives, accompanied by their minders, were roasted at a 200-strong Town Hall community meeting on August 16 in the inner city suburb of St Peters. Dart is the coal seam gas company with a licence to explore for coal seam gas under the whole of the Sydney basin. Dart CEO Robbert de Weijer unsuccessfully tried to allay community fears about a number of issues. He argued it was “unlikely” drilling would even happen in St Peters and that the company doesn’t use the controversial fracking (hydraulic fracturing) process or BTEX chemicals (Benzine and similar toxins).
Federal Labor MP Anna Burke captured the Gillard government’s increasingly right-wing refugee policy when she said plans to reopen the Manus Island detention centre in Papua New Guinea would be “going back to something we said we wouldn’t do, which is the Pacific solution”. Burke told ABC news on August 15 she had raised concerns in caucus about an overseas detention centre as well as the “Malaysia solution”, which faces a legal challenge in the High Court and could also be subject to a parliamentary inquiry.
The following message was received by Indymedia from within Curtin Detention Centre with a request that it posted on the site. Please circulate this cry for help and solidarity amongst your networks. * * *
A Rohingyan Burmese asylum seeker faced Darwin Magistrates court on August 15, charged with assaulting a Serco employee at the Nothern Immigration Detention Centre (NIDC) early on August 12. Serco is the private prison corporation that runs Australia’s immigration jails. The refugee was involved, with two others, in a two-hour peaceful protest earlier that night. He has been in detention for 21 months. The immigration department has granted him refugee status, but for more than a year he has been waiting for an ASIO security clearance.
Australian Marriage Equality released the statement below on August 16. * * * Christian leaders join campaign for equality. A national opinion poll has found a majority of Australian Christians believe same-sex couples should be allowed to marry and several mainstream Christian ministers have spoken out in favour of the reform.
A group of about 50 protesters chanted “No coal seam gas! No fracking way!” outside the Queensland Gas Conference at the Brisbane Convention Centre on August 17. The rally, which coincided with “People's Day” at the Ekka (the Brisbane Exhibition Show Day), was organised by the Stop CSG Brisbane Committee. It indicated the strong public opposition to the threat the expanding coal seam gas industry poses to land, water and the environment.
In an exciting development in the South Australian climate action scene, a range of groups have united to campaign for Australia’s first concentrated solar thermal power plants in Port Augusta, about four hours north of Adelaide. The Adelaide Moving Planet Organising Collective includes representatives from the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, the Conservation Council of South Australia, the Climate Emergency Network of South Australia, the Young Greens, the Socialist Alliance and Resistance.
Putty valley residents organising against coal seam gas mining in their community, about 150 kilometres northwest of Sydney, released the statement below on August 15. It first appeared on the Putty Gasbag blog. * * * About 50 people were at a protest against coal seam gas on a private property on Putty Road on Sunday August 14. The ABC chopper landed in the paddock to the cheers of the placard-waving crowd.
Video footage and photos of the unfurling of the giant "Enough Is Enough: Stop Coal & Gas Expansion" banner by two activists who abseiled down the front of the hotel where mining company executives were meeting to plan the wholesale exploitation of NSW even at the cost of communities and the environment. This was the highlight of a protest organised by Lock The Gate, an alliance of urban and rural groups opposing coal seam gas mining.
A new picket line was set up on August 10 to defend Melbourne’s only Indigenous school, Ballerrt Mooroop College (BMC) in Glenroy. The day before, electricity was cut to the school gym and the locks were changed as the education department announced that the school gym/community hall (which is a traditional gathering place), the spirit tree and the ceremonial grounds would be demolished to make way for the Glenroy Specialist School (GSS) to come on the site, leaving the BMC with only a few classrooms.