In Australia, Treasurer Wayne Swan made headlines by saying he was a huge fan of Bruce Springsteen ― despite implementing neoliberal economic policies of the sort Springsteen rails against. Mining billionaire and wannabe Liberal politician Clive Palmer jumped up to respond that his favourite band was Redgum ― despite the famously left-wing folk band, active in the 1970s and '80s, representing politics that are the exact opposite politics to Palmer's.
The spectacle of the 2012 London Olympics should be subtitled “The Bashing of the Chinese Athlete”. On August 8, Andrew Jacobs of the New York Times published a much-discussed piece called “Heavy burden on athletes takes joy away from China's Olympic success”. All kinds of “concerns” were raised about the toll “the nation's draconian sports system” is taking on the country's athletes.
Two Israeli peace activists, Sahar Vardi and Micha Kurz, described their political awakening at a public forum at the Uniting Church, Balmain, on August 15. Vardi and Kurz explained their gradual realisation of the truth about Israel's oppression of the Palestinians and their determination to take action against it to an audience of about 60 people.
The Sydney Peace Foundation released the statement below on August 17. * * * The Sydney Peace Foundation thanks the government of Ecuador for giving asylum to Julian Assange.
Up to 200 Bagot community residents and supporters rallied outside Country-Liberal Party MLA Dave Tollner’s office on August 16, angry over his plans to “normalise” their home. Bagot was a reserve established in 1938 and included a residential facility for Stolen Generations children.
On August 16, around 4000 people rallied in Melbourne to Save TAFE in Victoria. Staff, students and supporters mobilised from around Melbourne as well as from regional centres such as Ballarat and Geelong. Since the Baillieu government cut $300 million from the TAFE sector, hundreds of teachers and support staff have been sacked, campuses are facing closure, courses have been shut down and fees have been massively increased for thousands of students.
The text below is translated from the official Spanish transcript of the press statement issued by Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino on August 16, explaining Ecuador’s decision to grant asylum to Julian Assange. Supporters of WikiLeaks are planning emergency rallies in Sydney and Brisbane
The Front Line Socialist Party of Sri Lanka held a protest to defend equality in education with an August 15 demonstration in front of the Fort Railway station in Colombo in support of a mass campaign student and teacher organisations, Premakumar Gunaratnam told Green Left Weekly. “Ever since 1977, various Sri Lankan governments have being trying to privatise the education system,” Gunaratnam explained. “The first attempts were blocked by a strong student movement led by the Inter University Students Federation (IUFS).”
Anglesea Air Action, a group of residents opposed to the Victorian government’s plan to extend the lease for Alcoa’s Anglesea coalmine for 50 years, released the statement below on August 15. * * * Anglesea Air Action criticise the state government’s renewal and extension of the Anglesea coalmine without releasing the Alcoa Health Risk Assessment which, it has been revealed, have been on their files for years.