More than 500 people attended a dinner of the Australian Tamil Congress (ATC) on February 4. The ATC, formed in 2009, campaigns for the rights of Tamil people in Sri Lanka, who have been subject to discrimination, oppression and massacres at the hands of successive racist Sri Lankan governments since the independence of Sri Lanka in 1948.
The Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network released the statement below on January 27. *** The Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN) yesterday referred the names of 27 Vietnamese unaccompanied minors who are being detained at the Darwin Airport Lodge (DAL) to the Northern Territory Child Protection Services. Northern Territory law obliges people to alert the child protection services if they believe that a child has or is likely to suffer harm or exploitation. Harm is defined in the relevant legislation to include psychological or emotional harm.

A coup led by rebel soldiers and police officers overthrew Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed on February 7. Nasheed, a democracy activist and former political prisoner, was the Indian Ocean island nation's first democratically elected president. Maldives, made up of 26 atolls, is facing destruction due to climate change. Nasheed is an outspoken campaigner for climate justice on the international stage. The rebellion was fuelled after Nasheed ordered the arrest of a judge for blocking criminal charges against allies of former Maldives dictator Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

“Overall, it is important for the Left to support the ongoing struggles in the revolutions [in the Arab world] as the contradictions of the new regimes continue to sharpen,” Adam Hanieh told Farooq Sulehria. Hanieh is a lecturer in Development Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He is the author of Capitalism and Class in the Gulf Arab States and a member of the editorial board of the journal Historical Materialism.
“What the government does, the streets can undo” may seem like just a slogan, but weeks of anti-austerity protests have forced the resignation of Romania's prime minister Emil Boc. The protests began when a solidarity demonstration with deputy health minister Raed Arafat took a violent turn. Arafat had announced his resignation in opposition to a draft healthcare reform bill that partially privatised the healthcare system. Riot police used tear gas against protesters, who responded by throwing bricks and Molotov cocktails.
The Socialist Alliance released the statement below on February 9. * * * Socialist Alliance supports, and expresses its full solidarity with, the Syrian people’s democratic uprising against the tyrant Bashar al-Assad. We also condemn the interference by Western imperialist powers and the threats of military intervention. Further, we call on the Australian government to extract itself from the US alliance and its involvement in aggressive multinational military operations.
About 40 people crowded into the Brisbane Activist Centre on February 7 for a Green Left Weekly public forum titled “The truth about the Aboriginal Tent Embassy”, presented by prominent Murri leader and Socialist Alliance Aboriginal affairs spokesperson Sam Watson. Watson was an activist at the Tent Embassy in Canberra in 1972, and attended the Embassy 40th anniversary commemoration over January 26-28.
Inequalities are not only unjust: they literally make us sick. This was the conclusion reached by the sizeable turnout at Left Unity’s January 31 forum: “Inequality, Health, And Wellbeing: Why Inequality Is Bad For Us.” Much of Adelaide’s progressive community came together — Resistance and the Socialist Alliance, the Communist Party of Australia, the Adelaide Anti-Capitalist Forum, Occupy Adelaide, anarchists, and current and former members of the Greens — to hear why inequality has increased dramatically throughout the world over the past few decades.
When I recently spoke to Christine Assange, I realised how passionate she is about truth, justice and a fair go for all. Her son is the Robin Hood of our times, taking information from the rich and giving it to the poor (from the 1% to the 99%). Award-winning journalist and WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange has long been a member of the Australian journalist union, the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA).
News Limited’s flagship newspaper, The Australian, said in a September 2010 editorial that it wanted the Greens to be “destroyed”. The paper’s latest attacks on Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, which include allegations she held secret meetings with a high-level KGB spy 40 years ago, confirm that its editorial bias hasn’t budged an inch.
“We can’t eat money, we need to save our future food,” seventh generation farmer Tim Duddy told a packed forum on February 6. Organised by the Sydney Food Fairness Alliance, the forum examined the impacts of coal and coal seam gas (CSG) activity on farming regions that make up Australia’s food bowl.
The government has admitted that it is using both the Australian Federal Police and a private intelligence consultancy to monitor coal seam gas (CSG) protesters, say the Greens.
The WA state government finally rejected Vasse Coal’s proposal for a coal mine in Margaret River on February 7. The mine would have been built 15 kilometres from the town centre, directly beneath the river. Margaret River residents came out in force to oppose the proposal, as it posed a direct threat to water supply, biodiversity and air quality. Margaret River’s two main industries, agriculture and tourism, depend on the environmental health of the region.
Melbourne-based activist collective Quit Coal released the statement below on its website on February 6. * * * One Quit Coal activist has been released pending summons for “interfering with a motor vehicle” today after stopping drilling in Bacchus Marsh. Paul Connor locked himself to the top of Mantle Mining’s 8.5 metre-tall drill rig while hanging a banner that read “No New Coal Bacchus Marsh”.
Renewing Sydney’s train fleet is far too important a matter to be left to the “free” market. On February 6 the NSW government announced it was going to pay $175 million in 2018 to bail out the failed Reliance Rail syndicate that has been contracted to build and maintain the new Waratah commuter trains for Sydney’s CityRail network. It's another failed Public Private Partnership (PPP), meaning more public money is poured into the coffers of financiers and speculators.


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