Twenty-seven -year-old Kwementyaye Briscoe died on January 5 while in police custody in Alice Springs, Northern Territory. Last week, the coronial inquest into his death began. A man who was taken into custody with Briscoe told the inquest he watched police drag him through the watch-house, ABC Online said on June 13. Other prisoners saw that Briscoe was bleeding from the head, and one man told the inquest he could hear him “groaning and gasping for air”.
Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said on June 12 that the government would abolish state-sanctioned civil ceremonies for same-sex couples, but still allow them to formally register their partnership. Same-sex civil unions were introduced in February by the former Labor government. The move follows a big rally last month to protest against plans to abolish same-sex union laws entirely in Queensland. Newman said he wanted to remove “provisions which 'emulated' marriage”, which we're opposed by Christian churches, the June 13 Courier-Mail said.
Green Left Weekly’s Ben Peterson spoke to Wellington-based student activist Joel Cosgrove about socialist organising in New Zealand. Cosgrove is a member of the Workers Party and the Mana Party. He will speak about radical politics in New Zealand at Resistance’s Time Of Revolution conference in Adelaide, July 20-22. * * * What is ‘We are the University’?
Tony Abbott is right: we can't allow a “Green veto” to hold back a huge expansion in the Queensland coal export industry.
Once again we have seen the spectacle of the Jewish leadership banning dissenting Jews from their annual festival of ideas, Limmud Oz. Organisers of this year’s conference held last weekend in Melbourne told the co-ordinators of a workshop on a new book, Beyond Tribal Loyalties, that their session would not be included. They gave no reasons. At the event, the contributors held their own workshop independently of the Limmud organisers. It was very successful, attracting an appreciative audience of 60 people.
The Support Assange and WikiLeaks Coalition released the statement below on June 15. * * * WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has lost his final British appeal against extradition and will be sent by force to Sweden within a matter of days. Australians are taking to the streets to demand the Australian government act immediately to prevent the injustice and harm facing Assange. In Sweden, Assange will be held in pre-trial detention indefinitely, incommunicado and in solitary confinement for up to 23 hours a day.
In late May, Kangan TAFE Institute announced that due to budget cuts the Diploma of Auslan was no longer viable and would close in December 2012. The Diploma of Auslan (Australian Sign Language ) is a two-year, full time course and the only one available in Victoria. On completion of this course, most students will undertake the Auslan Interpreter course at RMIT or Macquarie University to become sign language interpreters to the deaf community.
Several hundred workers from the Queensland Department of Communities rallied in Queens Park on June 13 to oppose job cuts in the sector. The unionists condemned the state Liberal-National government's plan to sack about 1300 temporary contract workers employed in the communities area. The state government's special audit team, headed by former Liberal Party federal treasurer Peter Costello, issued its interim report on June 15, claiming the previous Bligh Labor government had financed almost all its infrastructure spending from state debt.
The Gurindji people of Daguragu and Kalkarinji in the Northern Territory released the statement below on June 11. * * * The Gurindji people at Daguragu and Kalkaringi are today calling on the government to get rid of the “Stronger Futures” laws.
Aboriginal resistance leaders Tunnerminnerwait and Maulboyheener where executed in Melbourne in 1842. They where sentenced to death for their resistance against the colonial settlers’ drive to take over their land. However, today they are not remembered as heroes. Rather, they are hardly remembered at all. Aboriginal rights supporters have organised commemorations for the two men for the past seven years, but a campaign for a permanent public memorial had gone an unanswered, until now.
About 7000 union and community activists braved heavy rain in Sydney to protest against the NSW government's plans to undermine workers' compensation and entitlements on June 13. They chanted “shame, Barry, shame” and “injured workers in his sights, taking away our compo rights”. In Newcastle, Hunter nurses took strike action to join up to 1500 workers and supporters. Hundreds also rallied in Wollongong.
Hundreds of people rallied outside the Western Australia parliament on June 13 to protest the planned redevelopment of Perth’s foreshore. The protest was organised by the City Gatekeepers. A speech given at the rally by campaigner Ken Eastwood appears below. * * * The Colin Barnett government’s decision to divert thousands of vehicles into our already overstressed road systems defies belief.
O’Farrell plans to axe 10,000 jobs The June 12 Coalition NSW government budget outlined plans to cut 10,000 public sector jobs, on top of 5000 sackings already announced, and slash more than $1 billion from government programs. But the government refused to say where to job losses will be. The Labor opposition called the cuts a “betrayal of firefighters, hospital cleaners and teachers”. The budget also projected the leasing of Port Kembla’s shipping terminal to private interests, adding to existing plans to lease Port Botany.
Journalists and editorial staff at Fairfax media walked off the job for 36 hours on May 30 in response to an outsourcing scheme announced by management. Workers from the Sydney Morning Herald, the Melbourne Age, Newcastle Herald, Illawarra Mercury, Sun Herald, Canberra Times and Australian Financial Review took part in the stoppage. Sixty-six subediting jobs at the Newcastle Herald, Mercury and seven associated community newspapers would be moved to a New Zealand office of Fairfax Media.
The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) released the statement below on June 15. * * * The National Tertiary Education Union (NTEU) has condemned today’s announcement by the ANU Vice-Chancellor Ian Young to savagely cut the School of Music.
Thousands of workers braved torrential rain to tell Barry O'Farrell and the NSW Government exactly what they think of the proposed attacks on workers compensation. "Dog", "liar", "rotten", "grub", "supporter of the rich", "shameful", "cowardly" were some of the messages to Barry and his government for their planned attacks including reduced pay while workers' recover; scrapping payments and medical costs completely if workers can't recover 'quickly enough', and stopping workers being covered to and from work.