The University of Sydney Student Representative Council (SRC) has condemned university management’s plans to “dismantle” the Koori Centre, which has supported Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students at the university since 1989. The Koori Centre also coordinates the teaching of Indigenous Studies. The university says the Koori Centre’s functions will be incorporated into a broader “Centre for Cultural Competencies”. Management has assured staff no jobs will be lost in the process, but many students and staff feel that have been inadequately consulted about the changes.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) could have been a flagship policy that restored dignity to people with disabilities. Instead, ALP timidity and Coalition intransigence have left Australia with a woefully inadequate policy.
Security forces killed 12 anti-government protesters — mostly teenagers — and injured more than 80 on July 31 in Nyala, the capital of South Darfur. The protests, which began the previous day, were launched by hundreds of primary and secondary school students in opposition to price rises for basic goods. Numbers swelled as more and more people took to the streets to join the students, calling for the downfall of the regime.
On July evenings, most people in Toronto are just trying to find ways to escape the heat and humidity. On July 30, more 150 people filled the room for a meeting on Contested Futures: Tar Sands and Environmental Justice. Many had to sit on tables or stand to hear from two indigenous leaders of environmental justice actions in Ontario and two delegates to the People’s Summit Rio +20. The meeting was initiated by the Greater Toronto Workers Assembly (International Solidarity Committee) and Toronto Bolivia Solidarity; a further 20 groups endorsed and helped build the event.
Students, teachers and union activists protested against the Victorian governments' cuts to TAFE at Melbourne's RMIT campus on August 2. The rally was jointly organised by the National Tertiary Education Union Victorian Division and the Australian Education Union (AEU). Film by Squirrel Main, sqmain.blogspot.com.au
Quit Coal released the statement below on July 27. * * * It can be easy to despair when you are campaigning so hard on an issue for so long. Sometimes you can feel like the government just isn’t listening to you and that all your efforts are a bit pointless … but not today. We have been campaigning for over a year against the proposal by company HRL to build a dirty brown coal power station in Victoria.
Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Montreal on August 1. The protests came the day after the call for an election in the Quebec province by the Liberal Party government of Quebec Premier Jean Charest. Quebec has been rocked this year by a large student strike against a proposed tuition fee hike and huge street demonstrations. In response, the Liberal government introduced the draconian Law 78, which severely restricts the right to protest.
More than 100 students, teachers and union activists heard speakers slam private-sector training at a August 2 protest against TAFE cuts at RMIT’s city campus. Steve Roach from the Construction Forestry Mining Energy Union’s Health and Safety Unit said he was concerned that the decline of TAFE — and the subsequent privatisation of building industry training — would lead to unsafe working conditions. He said: “We find dodgy tickets of competency floating around our industry ... where all [the students] did was give somebody $140 and they come back in with a card the next day.”
Police shot and killed a 25-year-old Latino man, Manuel Diaz, in Anaheim, California, in his front yard on July 21 Diaz was not armed. Within hours of the murder, hundreds of angry residents took to the streets in protest. The cops attacked the demonstrators with clubs, pepper spray and bean bag bullets. One protester was grabbed by a cop (who had his hand on his gun) for carrying a protest sign as he was walking toward the demonstration. He was charged with “jaywalking.”
More than 500 people attended a public meeting at the Bulli Masonic Hall in the northern suburbs of Wollongong on July 29 to save the Bulli Hospital Emergency Department (ED). A PA had to be set up outside the packed hall so hundreds of people gathered outside could listen in. Residents are opposed to the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District's (ISLHD) proposal to downgrade the ED to an “urgent care centre”.
On July 25, Tamil refugee Dayan Anthony (formerly known as "Mr X" in Australia in an attempt to protect his identity from Sri Lankan authorities), was deported from Melbourne. Australian authorities handed him over to the Sri Lankan intelligence forces - who had held Mr Anthony in custody for years, and had tortured him.
Olympic organisers and their corporate sponsor Visa were still keeping mum on August 1 after yet another ironic twist to their “cashless Olympics”. Hungry spectators at Wembley to see Team GB women's victory over Brazil took to social networks on the night of July 31 to complain of a second breakdown in three days of payment systems at food counters “proud to only accept Visa” under the company's exclusive sponsorship deal.
This month, the Australian Friends of Palestine Association (AFOPA) will mark 100 weeks of protest against the sale of cosmetics containing minerals extracted from the Dead Sea — in Palestinian territory under Israeli military occupation — by Seacret. Seacret says on its website: “We believe everything we do must embody honesty and reflect purity.” Its products are made with “the ancient, and some say mystical, salts and minerals found only in one place on earth, the Dead Sea”.
The Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network released the statement below on July 31. * * * The Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network (DASSAN) has called for an overhaul of the Department of Immigration’s character test procedures for refugees following the appearance today of a refugee at the Darwin Magistrates Court on minor property damage charges.
Ray Jackson, President of the Indigenous Social Justice Association, speaks about on deaths in custody, shackling and tasers. Filmed by Peter Boyle for Green Left TV at a protest in Sydney on July 27 to mark the death in custody of Peter Clarke in the Northern Territory.
When you are in a hole, you stop digging. Even if this were not a cliche by now, it would still be common sense. Does this mean, then, that Russian President Vladimir Putin and the hierarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church lack basic reasoning skills? The decision to extend the stay in prison of three members of feminist punk band Pussy Riot certainly seems to prove so.