For years the Ageing, Disability and Home Care department (ADHC) has run a “Don’t DIS My Ability” campaign to celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities. In partnership with Accessible Arts, an arts program has been designed to supposedly boost and foster arts and disability practice in New South Wales. These initiatives coincide with talk at the national level about social inclusion policies targeting those classed as disadvantaged in the workforce. The federal government appears to be setting ambitious goals for greater participation and integration into the workforce.
The Australian Forests and Climate Alliance released the statement below on December 2. * * * “During the Durban Climate Conference all countries, including Australia, must take real action to protect the world's forests and deliver real reductions in carbon pollution,” said Australian Forests and Climate Alliance (AFCA) spokesperson Peter Campbell.
Protesters picketed a December 1 event in Red Hill addressed by Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Australia Thisara Samarasinghe. The protest was organised by the Refugee Action Collective to condemn Samarasinghe, a former navy admiral accused of war crimes against the Tamil people in northern Sri Lanka, and the appalling human rights record of the Sri Lankan government.
A bill recognising same-sex civil unions passed through the Queensland parliament on November 30 by a vote of 47 to 40. Labor MPs were given a "conscience vote" on the issue, but only four voted against. The Liberal-National Party opposition voted as a bloc against the bill. Most independent MPs also voted against the bill.
Protesters gathered outside the annual general meeting of Australian mining company Lynas Corporation in Sydney on November 30. Lynas is building a rare earths refinery in Kuantan, Malaysia, which will dump toxic and radioactive waste near a highly populated area. Local residents have been campaigning against the refinery. Greens senator Lee Rhiannon addressed the protest. Three activists attended the AGM and criticised Lynas's rare earths refinery before shareholders, CEO Nicholas Curtis and directors.
Tory attempts to belittle public-sector industrial action rang pathetically hollow on November 30 as millions of workers joined the fight against government-imposed pension cuts for public servants. Services across England, Scotland and Wales ground to a halt in the strongest show of union strength in a generation. Schools, courts, museums and job centres were paralysed in the 24-hour strike which also brought extensive disruption to transport, hospitals and government departments.
WikiLeaks won the 2011 Walkley award for the “most outstanding contribution to journalism” on November 27. The Walkleys are annual awards for excellence in Australian journalism. In giving the award, the Walkley Foundation said WikiLeaks had “shown a courageous and controversial commitment to the finest traditions of journalism: justice through transparency. See also: Julian Assange accepts WikiLeaks’ Walkley award
Friends of the Earth, the Inland Rivers Network, the Nature Conservation Council of NSW, the Central West Environment Council, Fair Water Use Australia, the National Parks Association of NSW and The Wilderness Society Sydney released the joint statement below on November 28. * * * Seven environment groups have described the draft Murray-Darling Basin Plan released today as a monumental failure for the rivers and the communities that depend on them.
Elders from the remote Northern Territory Aboriginal community of Ramingining, East Arnhem, released the statement below on November 28. * * * Today, Elders of the remote NT Aboriginal community of Ramingining are shocked and angered by last week’s announcement that the fundamentally destructive measures of the intervention will be extended for another 10 years.