It was a week which started with federal treasurer Wayne Swan having a go at the mining billionaires for distorting our democracy, but which soon entered a new phase whereby the Labor party illustrated the rather narrow range within which our two party system has room to move.
The Ballerrt Mooroop College Support Group met on March 4 to discuss action in response to the imminent closure of the college, which is the last surviving Aboriginal school in Melbourne. Aboriginal people in the area have worked hard to keep the school open. But over the past 12 months, the education department has taken much of the land away and bulldozed the valuable student and community asset, the gymnasium/gathering place.
In 1963, a senior Australian government official, A R Taysom, deliberated on the wisdom of deploying women as trade representatives. “Such an appointee would not stay young and attractive for ever [because a] spinster lady can, and very often does, turn into something of a battleaxe with the passing years [whereas] a man usually mellows.” On International Women’s Day 2012, such primitive views are worth recalling; but what has happened to modern feminism? Why is it so bereft of its political, indeed socialist roots, that any woman who “achieves” within an immoral system is to be admired?
The Maritime Union of Australia and other unions organised an action outside Rio Tinto’s headquarters on March 5 in solidarity with Quebec workers who have been locked out by Rio Tinto since December 30. Members of the United Steel Workers (USW) Local 9495 District 5 branch came to Australia to gain support for their campaign. The dispute began over Rio Tinto’s decision to use more sub-contractors at the aluminium smelter in Alma, Quebec. Click here to see campaign actions.
The Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN) released the statement below on March 8. * * * DASSAN has been informed by asylum seekers inside the Northern Immigration Detention Centre (NIDC) that a hunger strike commenced today in the centre. A number of asylum seekers commenced the hunger strike this afternoon in the North 1 compound. They are protesting at the amount of time spent in detention and the levels of self harm they are witnessing inside NIDC.
The Refugee Action Coalition Sydney released the statement below on March 8. * * * Tamil refugees from the boat stranded in 2009 in Merak, Indonesia, after being stopped at the request of then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, have been told that 24 of their number have been accepted to be resettled in Australia. The announcement came only a couple of hours after a demonstration of about 80 of the 134 recognised refugees at the Medan United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) offices in protest at the long delays in their resettlement.
The Socialist Alliance released the statement below on March 8. * * * This International Women’s Day, on March 8, falls at a time when the environmental and economic crises of global capitalism are making life even harder for most women and the communities they live and work in.
In the biggest staff and student rally at the University of Sydney for years, 700 students and staff packed the university’s Main Quad on March 7 to protest management plans to axe 340 staff. One hundred staff have already received redundancy notices unless they can “show cause” they should keep their jobs. A further 64 staff have been told they must ditch research projects and take up teaching-intensive roles or also face losing their jobs. Despite the university having 1000 more students than last year, management also plans to cut 190 general staff positions.
The corporate media has fawned over the new foreign minister, but a look at Bob Carr in his own words shows his right wing positions on uranium, Palestine, Julian Assange, the US, Aboriginal rights, human rights, workers and privatisation.
The Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia released the statement below on March 6. * * * The Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia (ALSWA) has slammed the WA state government’s offer of up to $2000 to Aboriginal workers whose past wages were stolen by the state. “This is a slap in the face and a cruel and heartless offer which offends the very notion of recompense,” said ALSWA CEO Adjunct Professor Dennis Eggington.
About 50 people attended a forum addressed by Michael Anderson at the Curtin University Aboriginal Studies Centre on March 5. Anderson is a Gamilaroi man from New South Wales and is one of the four original founders of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy in Canberra in 1972. The forum was organised by the Nyoongar Tent Embassy. Two days before, Anderson had addressed the WA Tent Embassy.
The Nature Conservation Council of NSW released the statement below on March 6. * * * The draft Strategic Regional Land Use Plans released today will not deliver adequate protection for local communities, wildlife, natural areas and groundwater resources from the impacts of coal and coal seam gas exploration and mining, according to the Nature Conservation Council (NCC) of NSW.
Stop CSG Illawarra released the statement below on March 6. Read more of Green Left's extensive coverage of coal seam gas mining and the campaign against it. * * *
Photos by Paul Benedek
I remember Grong Grong; my aunt and uncle had a store there in the 1960s. Floods are not common in this stretch of the NSW Riverina, but they happen in odd years when the Murrumbidgee River further south rises and breaks its banks. For runoff from the often-parched paddocks around Grong Grong to cause flooding is almost unheard of.
Townsville: Just a few weeks out from the Queensland state election, campaigns of various political parties are in full swing as the candidates attempt to persuade constituents to vote for them. The Queensland Council of Trade Unions (QCU) has joined the fray as it seeks to hold politicians to account by calling for candidates to commit to observing a charter that supports policies that benefit workers.