Opposition to the risks associated with coal seam gas (CSG) exploration and mining is growing across NSW. In northern NSW, thousands of people have rallied in Byron Bay, Lismore and The Channon to demand a moratorium on CSG. Green Left Weekly’s Pip Hinman spoke to Lismore’s Labor Mayor, Jenny Dowell, about the campaign. * * *   Why did Lismore City Council decide to hold such a poll?  
WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange is right to seek political asylum in Ecuador. He was left with no other choice after the Australian government made clear it would do nothing to prevent his extradition to the United States on espionage charges. His real “crime” is groundbreaking journalism, which has exposed the lies and crimes of governments around the world, especially the US.
Confirmation that billionaire mining boss Gina Rinehart now owns about 20% of Fairfax Media’s shares came as the media corporation announced plans to downsize its major newspapers. The moves spell out the future for Australia’s mainstream media: more corporate-friendly reports and less journalism. Rinehart’s tilt for three positions on Fairfax’s board of directors sparked defensive outrage from executives and journalists alike, who said the company’s “editorial independence” should not be compromised.
Unconventional gas fracking is set to go ahead in WA, after the state's upper house voted down a motion calling for a moratorium on the controversial gas extraction process on June 20. The motion had been put to the state's upper house by Greens MLC Alison Xamon. The Liberal, National and Labor parties voted against it and it was lost. The motion called for a moratorium on the emerging industry until a comprehensive and transparent regulatory framework could be developed. “It is highly concerning that this motion has been dismissed by parliament,” Xamon said.
Green Left Weekly’s Jay Fletcher spoke to Wendy Bacon, a Walkley award-winning journalist and professor at UTS’s Australian Centre for Investigative Journalism, about the crisis in Australia’s mainstream media * * * The big structural changes announced at Fairfax — 1900 jobs cuts, moving the flagship papers to tabloid, merging the Sydney and Melbourne news rooms — seem to spell the continuing trend toward more corporatism and less journalism. What are the main consequences of Fairfax’s downsizing?
For 9 months, Baba Jan Hunzai and 4 fellow activists have languished in Pakistani jails, charged with terrorism offences, and suffered torture. Their crime? Organising the oppressed local community to struggle for compensation, after their villages were submerged by a climate-change induced landslide. Green Left TV's Peter Boyle interviewed Labour Party of Pakistan spokesperson Farooq Tariq.
The federal government announced on June 14 that it would create the “world's largest network of marine reserves” in Australia. It will form 33 new marine reserves, adding to the current 27.
Rewrite the Constitution What a brilliant 6-1 decision by the High Court on the federal funding of the chaplain program. The dysfunctionality of the federal constitution and the federal system couldn't have been made more obvious. The major parties now have to, again, find ways to circumvent the Constitution to make sensible government possible. Rudd passed up the opportunity in 2007 to replace the federal system with something far more effective with ALP governments in six states and in Canberra.
Locals from the WA town of Gingin, and visitors from Perth including members of the groups No Fracking WAy and Doctors for the Environment, left a June 22 community forum on unconventional gas fracking scratching their heads in bewilderment. The forum, facilitated by National Party MPs, included speakers from the Department of Mines and Petroleum, the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, Nationals member Philip Gardiner, a representative from Empire Oil & Gas and Peter Stone from the CSIRO.
Queensland public sector unions are preparing for an all-out battle with the Campbell Newman Liberal National Party (LNP) government over pay and conditions, as several enterprise bargaining agreements come up for re-negotiation. The state's public servants are outraged after being offered the lowest pay rise yet. Queensland's 60,000 public service workers have been offered a mere 2.2% pay rise per year and likely no additional funding for promotions over the next three years, the June 19 Courier-Mail said.
As world leaders gather in Brazil for the Rio+20 summit to discuss the pressing environmental issues facing the world, academics, politicians, unionists, climate activists and local resident groups are preparing to meet and work out real proposals for how western Sydney can begin to tackle climate change. The Australian government’s Climate Commission report The Critical Decade found that rising temperatures in western Sydney will impact on everything from our water supply to mental health and crime levels.
Churchgoers all over Sydney heard official statements from their denominations on June 17 with a firm and united message: “Marriage is only for heterosexual couples.” I needed to see this for myself, so I and four gay Christian friends summoned our courage and attended the evening service at St Andrew's Cathedral.
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