The Australian government is moving to deport a 27 year-old Afghan asylum seeker, Ismail Mirza Jan, from Villawood Immigration Detention Centre in western Sydney to Kabul, Afghanistan. Mirza Jan is an ethnic Hazara who fled Afghanistan after his father was killed by the Taliban for his imputed association with the political group Hezbe-e-Wahdat. At his mother’s urging, he was assisted by people smugglers to escape Afghanistan and has spent the last 11 years trying to seek safety from any country that will provide him protection and a chance at life.
Socialist Worker -- New York City police destroyed the Occupy Wall Street encampment at Zuccotti Park in an early-morning surprise attack on November 15. Hundreds of people who were sleeping at the park found themselves surrounded by police with no warning, and then subject to arrest or the violence of the NYPD.
On November 16, police attacked and dismantled the Occupy Melbourne site in Treasury Gardens. Three activists were arrested. At a general assembly in City Square this evening, activists will plan their response. “Any major decisions will be made in a democratic process tonight. Anyone is welcome, including the police commissioner [Ken Lay] and Robert Doyle,” Occupy Melbourne activist Carl Scrase told the Age.
The Monash Refugee Action Collective released the statement below on November 14. * * * Three student activists at Monash University are facing a disciplinary hearing for speaking out against mandatory detention.
Australian Marriage Equality released the statement below on November 15. * * * Marriage equality advocates are disappointed Prime Minister Julia Gillard has today affirmed her opposition to same-sex marriage and has tried to pre-empt the outcome of Labor’s National Conference by calling for a conscience vote. The Prime Minister’s comments are below and appear in an opinion piece published in the November 15 Age.
NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge gave the speech below in NSW Parliament on November 11. It is republished from his blog. * * * The Occupy movement began with a single protest in New York on September 17, 2011, called “Occupy Wall Street”. This protest targets corporate greed and growing inequality across the globe. The protesters’ slogan “We are the 99%” refers to the vast disparity in wealth, particularly in the United States, between the wealthiest 1% and the rest of the country.
The Northern Inland Council for the Environment and The Wilderness Society Newcastle released the statement below on November 14. * * * Environment groups have responded to news that the NSW government plans to stop a single coal seam gas pilot production well on the Liverpool Plains with calls for a far more extensive moratorium.
There was a sea of red when public sector nurses filled Melbourne’s Festival Hall on November 11 to decide on further industrial action. About 50 buses brought nurses from across the state. A swing version of “Danny Boy” played in the background to set a sombre but defiant tone. Messages of support came from Australian Council of Trade Unions president Ged Kearney and the California Nurses Association.
The government has undermined the right to a fair trial of up to 350 mostly Indonesian people now facing charges of “people smuggling” in Australian courts. It has done so by introducing hastily drafted, retrospective amendments to the Migration Act. The People Smuggling Deterrence Bill 2011 was passed in the lower house November 1, supported by Labor and the Coalition. If carried by the Senate, it will amend the migration act to make it an offence to bring a person to Australia with “no valid visa”. Greens MP Adam Bandt and independent MP Rob Oakeshott spoke against the bill.
On the eve of US President Barack Obama’s visit to mark 60 years of the ANZUS military alliance, PM Julia Gillard is not convincing people that Australia must “stay the course” in Afghanistan. A November 4 Roy Morgan poll, taken six days after an Afghan army trainee killed three Australian soldiers and wounded seven, said 72% of people want troops out, the biggest opposition since the war began 10 years ago. Supporters of the pro-war parties polled closely: 69% of ALP voters and 67% of Liberal-National Party voters want troops out. Among Greens supporters, the figure is 80%.
I originally heard about a proposed occupation in Brisbane when I was following the other global Occupy movements. I was immediately excited and very interested in being involved, as I have never really experienced anything like it before. From my (young) perspective, this was a significant and unique event, unparalleled since the anti-globalisation protests of the ’90s and early 2000s.
The Occupy movement has sprung up in Cairns, where street activities kicked off on October 15 in City Place. About 200 people took part. Since then, up to 40 people have met each Sunday. This will continue with alternating weeks of discussions about plans for Occupy, along with music, presentations and an open mike. Discussion among those involved in Occupy Cairns is increasingly turning to how to address not just local issues but national and international questions of corporate power. Fourteen working groups have discussed various issues and how the new group will work.
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