Tasmanian logging company Gunns now doubts its $3 billion pulp mill, planned for the Tamar Valley, will ever be built. The company told the Australian Securities Exchange on August 6 that its debts were somewhere between $50 million and $150 million. It said the steep decline in the price of woodchips and the high Australian dollar were to blame for its financial woes. Gunns said this meant the “board has been unable to reach a view” that the pulp mill project could go ahead.
The Sea Shepherd boat the Steve Irwin docked in Broome on August 6 to join community protests against the $30 billion gas hub proposed for James Price Point, in Western Australia’s Kimberley region. Sea Shepherd, a marine conservation organisation, said it undertook the trip “to highlight the significance of the James Price Point marine environment as a habitat and feeding ground for humpback whales, dolphins and turtles”.
The ferries that ply the river west of Sydney Harbour bear the names of Australia's world champion sportswomen. They include the Olympic swimming gold-medalists Dawn Fraser and Shane Gould, and runners Betty Cuthbert and Marjorie Jackson.
Cuba solidarity activists, members of Australia’s Latin American community and leftists from around the country will take part in a two-day conference in Sydney to pay homage to Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro. Video messages of support for Fidel from renowned leftist personalities will be screened alongside a full agenda of talks focused on Castro’s ideas, thoughts and legacy for the 21st century.
The following open letter has been sent to every Greens MP in the country on August 10. Click here to sign the petition in support of the letter. *** The Greens have since their foundation been a party that supports justice and the rule of law. It is a party committed, at its very core, to universal human rights and international law. The official policy for Israel/Palestine is to:
FWA rules Qantas can outsource jobs Fair Work Australia (FWA) rewarded Qantas CEO Alan Joyce for his October grounding of the airline's fleet and lockout of the workforce, announcing on August 8 that it would place no restrictions on it outsourcing jobs. Joyce responded by announcing on the same day that the airline will axe 2800 jobs — or more than 10% of its workforce — during its “transformation plan”.
The Beyond Nuclear Initiative released the statement below on August 7. *** Calling for tender to design a remote radioactive waste facility while the only proposed site is under federal court challenge is putting the radioactive cart before the horse, the Beyond Nuclear Initiative (BNI) has said today.
More than 30,000 Victorian teachers and 40,000 Queensland teachers are set to strike in September and October, in defence of teacher pay and conditions under threat from conservative state governments.
The Congolese Community of Australia held a rally on August 10 calling for an end to violence in the Congo. It focused on recent violence in eastern region led by the M23 Rebellion. Patrice Neyembo, president of the Congolese Community of Australia, said: “The M23 Rebellion is not really a rebellion, it is an invasion by the Rwandan government with the backing of Western allies. The aim is to take the land and legalise the exploitation of minerals in the so-called ‘neutral’ area.”
Opposition leader Tony Abbott says he wants to open a “new debate about freedom of speech”. But Abbott is most interested in defending “free speech” for Australia’s rich and powerful at the expense of oppressed and marginalised groups.
Beyond Zero Emissions released the statement below on August 8. * * * If Julia Gillard wants to support households against price-gouging by electricity companies, she should look closer at renewable energy and energy efficiency, says think-tank Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE). Electricity retailers accused of over-investing in grid infrastructure (like poles and wires) would lose their justification if peak energy use spikes were reduced.
Robert Magid, owner and publisher of the Australian Jewish News, published an opinion piece about refugees and asylum-seekers on August 3. He described “illegal immigration” as “a criminal enterprise” and said he “doubt[ed] there is a single boat person” that seeks asylum in Australia who flees “certain death”.
The Socialist Alliance NSW released the statement below on August 9. * * * The Socialist Alliance (SA) has announced its candidates for the Woodville ward of Parramatta City Council, citing public transport, better community services and opposition to racism as its three key campaign issues. Under the banners "Community need, not developer greed" and "For a Community Council" SA will stand local community activists John Coleman, Kerryn Williams and Ross Geary.
More than 50% of counties in the United States are now officially designated “disaster” zones. The reason given in 90% of cases is due to the continent-wide drought that has been devastating crop production. Forty eight percent of the US corn crop is rated as “poor to very poor”, along with 37% of soy. Seventy three percent of cattle acreage is suffering drought, along with 66% of land given to the production of hay.


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