The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) is being set up under the Clean Energy Future legislation (the carbon price package). It will provide $10 billion to support renewable and low-emissions energy. That’s the message that most climate-concerned people have been hearing from the Labor government and the Greens. Unfortunately, it now seems overly optimistic. The recently completed CEFC expert review shows it may give most of its support to gas projects.
Exploration licences for coal seam gas mining (CSG) cover 75% of the land in New South Wales where people live. Residents are worried about the effect CSG mining could have on their land and water, and angry about the lack of consultation by the gas companies.
The Australian Council of Trade Unions unanimously passed a motion supporting self-determination for the people of Western Sahara at its national congress over May 15-17. The motion also called for the Australian government to push local companies to “end the importation of phosphate”, which is plundered from Western Sahara by Morocco. Saharawi human rights activist Malak Amidane spoke at a public forum in Sydney on May 17 as part of a national speaking tour, organised by the Australia Western Sahara Association and the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies.
Socialist Alliance Brisbane released the statement below on May 18 * * * The Socialist Alliance expresses its full support and solidarity with the Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy in Musgrave Park, South Brisbane, and strongly condemns the actions of police and Brisbane City Council in forcibly evicting the Aboriginal community members at the embassy on May 16. The use of more than 200 police to stage a dawn raid on the peaceful embassy is a return to the police state tactics of the Joh Bjelke-Petersen regime in Queensland 30 years ago.
More than 200 police staged a dawn raid on the peaceful Aboriginal Sovereignty Embassy in Musgrave Park, South Brisbane on May 16. They evicted the 80 people defending the site and arrested about 30. More than 100 protesters outside the wire fence surrounding the park rallied in support, despite a police blockade of all streets around the area from 6am.
Mardi Reardon-Smith gathered at Brisbane’s Musgrave Park with other supporters early on May 16 to support the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy, which was later evicted from the park by more than 200 police officers. Her account of the day is below. * * *
Thirty people attended a May 15 rally on the steps of South Australia’s Parliament House to protest the Births, Deaths and Marriages Registration (Registration of Still-Births) Amendment Bill, also known as Jayden’s Law, introduced by Family First MP Robert Brokenshire, which was to be voted upon the next day. However, in the face of community concerns regarding the intentions and wording of the amendment and a campaign organised by the South Australian Feminist Collective (SAFC), Brokenshire has delayed the vote for several weeks.
More refugees confronted with a lifetime in immigration detention because of an “adverse” security check by ASIO are being driven to suicide attempts and self-harm.
Truck safety is down, down at Coles Truck drivers and their families rallied outside Coles stores on May 10 to protest against the supermarket giant’s treatment of drivers, which they say is causing road deaths. The market power that Coles and other big retailers have — including control over a third of the truck driving market — allows them to dictate price and delivery schedules to drivers.
In the week Barack Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, he ordered bombing attacks on Yemen, killing a reported 63 people, 28 of them children. When Obama recently announced he supported same-sex marriage, American planes had not long blown 14 Afghan civilians to bits. In both cases, the mass murder was barely news. What mattered were the cynical vacuities of a political celebrity, the product of a zeitgeist driven by the forces of consumerism and the media with the aim of diverting the struggle for social and economic justice.
About 70 people gathered for a vigil in Melbourne on May 15, in support of the community campaign against a gas hub in the Kimberley region, WA. Earlier, more than 100 police arrived at the site of a peaceful blockade near James Price Point to crush the ongoing protest. The organisers said: "We need as many people as possible to show our support for those blockading, and send a message to police and Joint Venture Partners that brutality and intimidation will not discourage us; it will only make us stronger."
More than 200 Queensland police evicted the Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy from Brisbane’s Musgrave Park early on May 16 on the orders of Brisbane City Council. Police arrested about 30 activists. A crowd of more than 200 people, including Aboriginal protesters from the embassy together with community and union supporters, later marched to state parliament to protest the eviction. The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) Congress passed the motion below on May 16 in support of the Brisbane Sovereign Embassy. * * *
Protesters erected a giant “radioactive barrel” outside Queensland parliament on May 15, the first session under the new Liberal National Party (LNP) state government. The protest, sponsored by Friends of the Earth Brisbane’s Peace Anti-Nuclear and Clean Energy Collective (PACE), was held to oppose a push for uranium mining in Queensland, banned under the previous Labor government.
Beyond Nuclear Initiative released the statement below on May 17. * * * Muckaty traditional owners have welcomed news that Australia’s peak trade union body, the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), has today committed to actively support the campaign against a proposed radioactive waste dump at Muckaty, 120 kilometres north of Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory.
The Socialist Alliance Western Sydney released the statement below on May 16. * * * Parramatta RSL management took the extraordinary step on May 15 of banning John Coleman, a Socialist Alliance candidate for the upcoming Parramatta local council elections, from attending the Climate Commission public forum held on its premises. Coleman, a Granville resident and campaigner for action on climate change, denounced the move as an “outrageous attack on democratic rights and freedom of speech”.
Photos by Kiraz Janicke and Pip Hinman.