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A new report by Greenpeace says plans to double Australia’s coal exports will damage worldwide attempts to reduce carbon emissions and limit climate change. Released on September 18, Greenpeace’s report, Cooking the climate: Wrecking the reef, focused on the Galilee Basin, a coal-rich region in central Queensland. Several companies are seeking approval to build nine huge coalmines there, “five of which would be larger than any existing coal mine in Australia”.
We are facing a climate emergency. The impacts of increasing extreme weather events are already being felt around the world and the unprecedented record Arctic sea ice melt highlights the urgent need to transition away from fossil fuels. Shamefully, it is in this context that new coal and gas projects continue to be approved, and the federal government plans to give $4.5 billion in free carbon permits to the country’s dirtiest coal-fired power stations. This money should be put into building large-scale renewable energy, like solar thermal power for Port Augusta.
The student left has won a big victory at Curtin University, taking several key positions in the student guild elections held over September 25 to 27. Positions won include president, education vice-president, women's officer and queer officer. The Left Action ticket ran a very political campaign, highlighting a range of student rights issues. These included opposition to the university's planned budget cuts and cuts to courses. The university is also planning to increase parking fees, which will hit students hard.
In Venezuela's October 7 presidential elections, the candidate leading the polls — President Hugo Chavez — is standing on a platform of pushing a socialist transformation. Leaked documents show his main opponent, Henri Capriles Radonski, has a neoliberal agenda. But publicly he presents himself as a social democrat who supports pro-poor policies such as the Chavez government's health and education social programs.
A document called “Sydney's Rail Future – Modernising Sydney's Trains” was released by the Barry O'Farrell NSW government in June. It plans to modernise the Sydney rail network by converting it to a "three tier" system: rapid transit, suburban and intercity. Unfortunately, the plan is vague about the long-term future of rail expansion around Sydney. Its unstated objectives would appear to be:
The news of Jill Meagher's death has rightly distressed many Australians. However, much mainstream media and internet commentary have taken this as an opportunity to blame the victim for what happened to her in an effort to warn other women. This approach is both despicable and wrong. Melbourne writer Clementine Ford addressed this in her Daily Life piece, "Can we please stop the victim blaming?"
Responding to a new book by former Labor finance minister Lindsay Tanner, which said the Labor Party had lost any sense of purpose, foreign minister Bob Carr said: “I think it is getting a little too easy to bag the Labor Party.” Carr said: “If I were in retirement … it would have been a pushover to have polished off another book, number 20, on what's wrong with the Labor Party.”
Once it became public that Brunswick woman Jill Meagher was missing, several women began posting on Facebook about scary experiences they’d had in Brunswick. One of these women was writer and social commentator Catherine Deveny, who mentioned an incident that took place in Brunswick several months ago when a man tried to pull her off her bike.
In the first episode of The Chaser’s new series The Hamster Wheel on ABC TV, the comedy group poked fun at Green Left Weekly for being the only media to challenge the distorted mainstream media’s reports of the supposed “violent Muslim protest” in Sydney on September 15. But The Chaser’s hilarious but blistering attack was focused on the utter hypocrisy of the mainstream media, politicians and the police on this issue.
The third Australia-wide gathering of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigners took place in Adelaide from September 21 to 23. The Australian Friends of Palestine Association (AFOPA) hosted the weekend of events. A highlight of the three days was the appearance by London-based Israeli academic Ilan Pappe, who spoke twice. He spoke to 600 people at the annual Edward Said Memorial lecture, which is named for the late Palestinian academic.
Their demonstrations have shaken Quebec in recent months, and on September 20, students and environmentalists won big victories. At her first news conference as premier, Pauline Marois announced that her Parti Quebecois (PQ) government had cancelled the university tuition fees rise imposed by the previous Jean Charest Liberal government. The PQ government, which won the September 4 elections, said it would also repeal the repressive provisions of Law 12 (formerly Bill 78). Charest had imposed the law in a bid to smash the province's huge student strike.
The statement below was released by the Awami Party Pakistan, the Labour Party Pakistan and the Workers Party Pakistan on talks to merge their groups. * * * Over the past few months, three left political parties have been holding meetings to discuss the possibility of a merger and creation of a new progressive force in Pakistani politics. Many of us have been striving for left unity for years, even decades.
Leaving a legacy marred by ecological annihilation, government bribery, coercion and corruption, and a penchant for poisoning the environment and communities alike, one of Australia’s most powerful companies — timber-logging firm Gunns — has announced voluntary administration. The September 25 announcement came after the company’s $904 million loss last financial year, ending an eight-year struggle by Tasmanians against a controversial $2 billion pulp mill project.
WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange gave the speech below to permanent representatives of the United Nations General Assembly on September 27. Assange gave the speech via video link up from the Ecuadorian embassy in London, which accepted his request for political asylum. Republished from WikiLeaks' official transcript. * * * I speak to you today as a free man, because despite having been detained for 659 days without charge, I am free in the most basic and important sense. I am free to speak my mind.
The very peaceful welcome to Aboriginal land passport ceremony was held on September 15 at the Settlement, Darlington. A great time was had by the 300 people who attended. We were contacted by the Redfern police, as is their practice when an Indigenous Social Justice Association event occurs, to ask if they could be of any assistance during the event. They were politely told that we expected no trouble from any quarter and if trouble did arise, we knew where they were. We had no problems from any outsiders against our event whatsoever.
Tasmanian community groups Friends of the Tamar Valley and Pulp the Mill released the joint statement below on September 26. * * * In expressing their sincere regret about the job losses that must inevitably result from the closure of Tasmanian logging company Gunns Limited, community groups Friends of the Tamar Valley and Pulp the Mill said Tasmanians can breathe more easily now the spectre of the world’s fourth largest pulp mill has receded further into the background.

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