Green Left Weekly’s Patrick Harrison spoke to Shamikh Badra, the youth and students coordinator for the Palestinian People Party in Gaza Strip. Badra will speak at Resistance’s Time of Revolution conference in Adelaide, over July 20-22. * * * What is the daily experience of living in the Gaza Strip?
Opposition leader Tony Abbott announced his vision for a “tougher” refugee policy on June 9. Among the plans are to refuse refugee status for those who have arrived in Australia by boat without documentation. He also said that an Abbott Coalition government would appeal immigration department decisions to grant refugee status to boat arrivals. Abbott said: “What is happening now is that 90% of people who arrive illegally via boat are given successful outcomes.”
Aboriginal speakers lashed out against the Labor government’s five-year Northern Territory intervention at a forum organised by Arena Magazine on June 21. Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, a former mayor of Barkly shire in the Northern Territory, said: “A lot of us are going through severe trauma. We live in terror of our language, ceremonies and land being taken away.” She drew parallels between her people’s current nightmare and that faced by the Jews during the Holocaust of World War II.
The editor-in-chief of Wikileaks and Australian citizen Julian Assange has not been charged with any crime in any country yet he now sits alone, abandoned by his government, in the Ecuador Embassy waiting to see if he will be granted asylum. WikiLeaks Australian Citizens Alliance (WACA) will hold a mass rally on the steps of the State Library in Melbourne on July 1st at noon in support of Julian Assange.
The NSW Teachers Federation (NSWTF) launched the Putting Students First Charter on June 19. The charter is a response to the state Coalition government’s plans to radically restructure the education system and cutback teaching an allied support positions. Teachers called on the government to guarantee it would preserve quality education. The NSWTF warned that if the government refused to give such guarantees, it would ask members to stop work on June 27 to attend protest meetings and rallies.
Socialist Alliance member on the Fremantle City Council, Sam Wainwright discusses the "boom", 457 visas, training and migration to Australia.
NSW firefighters went out on strike for the first time in 56 years to protest against attacks on workers' compensation rights by the O'Farrell Liberal-National state government. They converged with their firetrucks on Macquarie St, Sydney, and turned the hose on Parliament House to "wash away the stench" of this anti-worker government.
Newman to axe 20,000 public servants Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said on June 20 that the state had 20,000 public sector staff it could not afford, based on a report by former federal treasurer Peter Costello. In this year’s election campaign, Newman promised there would be no public sector forced redundancies if he was elected.
About 80 people gathered at Victorian Trades Hall on June 20 for a public forum about the United States’ increased military presence in Australia. The forum was organised by the Medical Association for the Prevention of War, with the support of Victorian Trades Hall council, the Philippines Australia Solidarity Association and Spirit of Eureka, among others.
Stop Coal Seam Gas Sydney activist Pip Hinman gave the speech below at the Marrickville local council meeting on June 19. * * * I am a long-term resident in Newtown, a mother and an activist with Stop Coal Seam Gas Sydney. I want to speak in favor of council supporting this poll. We did have a win recently with DART announcing that it was not going to drill in St Peters after council decided to add a no CSG condition to Dial-a-Dump’s development application. While that was a victory – it was only a victory of sorts.
Labor and independent councillors in Marrickville decided on June 19 against holding a poll on coal seam gas at the same time as the local council elections. This is despite the fact that the council has had two unanimous votes against coal seam gas exploration. Non-binding polls are available to all councils and have been used to gauge community opinion on a variety of topics. Greens councillor Cathy Peters put the urgency motion, inspired by Lismore City Council’s decision to poll its local residents about coal seam gas production and exploration.
The search and rescue of some 90 asylum seekers still missing at sea continues after a boat capsized 200 kilometres from Christmas Island on June 21. Sydney's Refugee Action Coalition released the statement below on June 22. * * *   From the timeline of contacts between Australian authorities and the capsized asylum boat indicated by Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare, it seems that more timely action by the Australian rescue authorities could have averted the latest asylum boat tragedy.  
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